Research Projects

I’ve neglected my blog for over 12 months and it’s now time to devote some attention with hopefully new inspiration.

My own family tree research has slowed down considerably to the point where I seem to be just chipping away at brick walls all the time. So over the last year I have been busy doing genealogy research for other people. I must admit I find that very interesting and satisfying. It can also be challenging at times especially when things do not go as expected.

I had two particularly interesting research projects.

The first involved tales of Scandinavian heritage – so my ultimate goal was to prove or disprove the family tales.

I was able to trace the origin of the British ancestral roots back to people in the 1861 census. This included the then head of the family with an occupation of Master Mariner and birth place of Gothenburg, Sweden. There were six children, three with a birth place listed as Russia and three born in Liverpool.

It was fairly easy to track the family right up to the 1911 census – although not without some difficulties. The problems were mainly around incorrect name transcriptions in the two main online indexes.

The family name was BRUNSTRUM. However the 1861 census had been indexed as BRUMSTRUM and the family name in the GRO marriage records for the father was BRAMSTOM.

The 1871 census was to be found under BRUNSTROM. There were two more children now – one birth was recorded as BRUNSTROM and one as BRUNSTMOM.

In the 1881 census the manuscript entry looks BRUNSTON but has been indexed as BRIMSTON.

In 1891 the census entry has been indexed as BRANSTROM.

There is a marriage in 1900 and the name now becomes BRUNSTON in the GRO record. Although the census entry the following year is under BRIMSTON.

Finally in 1911 the name is still BRUNSTON and it has been indexed as that.

The research had a bit of a sad end with a newspaper article reporting the death of the great grandfather of the person I was doing the research for and one of his sons in a tragic accident.

John Percy Brunston

John Percy Brunston

The second interesting project was very recently.

I did some research for someone in Australia who has an interest my wife’s family name of Espley. In particular she wanted to trace a death for her great grandmother. Should be straightforward right!!

I started by checking the BMD records and sure enough there was no death registered. I checked various spellings of the name all without success.

OK not a problem – maybe she had remarried. No, there was no marriage recorded.

Perhaps she had emigrated? I checked the available passenger lists online – no trace.

Winifred Frances EspleyI decided to check the newspaper archives on Find My Past. Breakthrough at last.

There were various newspaper articles in the Gloucestershire Echo about the person I was looking for – she was sent to prison in 1939 for two bigamous marriages.

This revelation came as a complete shock to the person I was doing the research for.

Both of these research projects provide valuable lessons.

First of all never completely trust the transcribed indexes – always double check with the original document images wherever possible.

Secondly the discovery of information while perhaps interesting as part of the research can sometimes be tragic and also shocking for the person getting the results.

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5 comments

  1. Hi Mike
    I know it has been a long time since your last blog. We moved to the USA over a year ago, and I haven’t seen one since then. I missed them, especially with the Hurtley connection. I still have one brick wall in our Hurtley tree, that may interest you!
    Richard

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    1. Hi Richard – good to hear from you. Hope you are enjoying life in the USA – where are you living now? We’ve been several times in the last few years to New York and to Asbury Park in New Jersey – really love NYC!!! Anyway if you email details of the brick wall I will have a look. Cheers.

      Mike

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      1. Have some good news for you Mike, I have just been trawling through Skipton area births and found Ellen and Mary Saley, from december quarter 1858. It is obviously a transcription error.

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  2. Hi Mike. Thanks for checking out our Brunston heritage and confirming the Scandanavian tales had some basis in fact (even if we’d always been led to believe we were Norwegian!) Brilliant professional job.. you should hire yourself out! x

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