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Tenny
12-11-2007, 2:21 PM
Hello all,

This is my first posting and I am very new to geneology so I hope you'l be patient !!

I am trying to find out anything about my paternal grandparents. The background is that my father was brought up by foster parents, not knowing his true name until he joined the army at 14. He was born in December 1914 & his bc states his father was Alexander Middleton, profession: private in the RAMC. His mother's name was Isabella, née Walker. Birth registered in Lambeth by I.Middleton.

Family legend was that his father was killed in WW1, and his mother died when he was a baby, hence the foster parents. My father never expressed any interest in finding out about his background, saying that there were family members alive when he needed them as a baby, but they weren't interested in helping him.

I've scoured the BMD indices looking for matching marriage entries for the grandparents, as far back as 1895. I've looked at the CWGC and War Pensions sites. Other people have checked on data bases of soldiers killed in WW1. I've looked for deaths of Isabella Middletons of an appropriate age up until 1920. I've looked at the 1901 census records. All without any really promising leads.

I don't know where else to look. Is there any chance of tracking down my grandparents given the information we have, or is this a futile exercise ? My main aim was to locate my grandfather's grave.

jeeb
12-11-2007, 3:04 PM
Hi Tenny,
You say your father's birth is registered in Lambeth and his mother was Isabella Walker. I am not finding this birth registration. The only Middleton registered in the correct period is Jack Middleton with a mother's maiden name of Young. This reg. is in Lambeth Jan/Mar 1915.
You have not said what your father was called. What was the name he was known by until he was 14?

Jeremy

Wirral
12-11-2007, 3:11 PM
Hi Tenny,
You say your father's birth is registered in Lambeth and his mother was Isabella Walker. I am not finding this birth registration. The only Middleton registered in the correct period is Jack Middleton with a mother's maiden name of Young. This reg. is in Lambeth Jan/Mar 1915.

There is the birth of Richard MIDDLETON born December quarter 1914 Lambeth vol 1d page 571, mother's name WALKER.

jeeb
12-11-2007, 3:34 PM
Hi Wirral,
Interesting that because I felt certain that with the information given it must be correct and yet I tried under several methods and not once did it come up on my screen. I know other people have found information I have not which seems very odd. I will have another go now I know the christian name.


Jeremy

jeeb
12-11-2007, 3:40 PM
Hi again Wirral,
I have just tried again with all the information you have given and it still says not found!

Jeremy

Pam Downes
12-11-2007, 3:53 PM
Hi Jeremy,
If you're looking at the full GRO Index via 'A' certain site, the reason you can't find the registration is because a Henry E was 'pencilled in' to the Index after all the Williams, and instead of taking William as the last name, they've taken Henry. Do a search just for Middleton, Dec Q 1914, click on the image,and you'll see what I mean.
(Not helped of course by no Middletons for that quarter having yet been transcribed for FreeBMD.)
Pam

jeeb
12-11-2007, 3:57 PM
Hi Pam,
You've solved the problem, I was searching FreeBMD.

Many thanks, thought I was going barmy!

Jeremy

Pam Downes
12-11-2007, 4:03 PM
Hi Pam,
You've solved the problem, I was searching FreeBMD.

Many thanks, thought I was going barmy!

Jeremy
Dolly! :D
Go and write out 100 times 'I must remember that FreeBMD is a work in progress'.:D:D
When you really have to be careful with FreeBMD is when they've transcribed say Albert to Frederick in a quarter, but not Fritz to Zepheniah.
Pam

jeeb
12-11-2007, 4:20 PM
Pam,
I never did like writing lines, too much practice at school perhaps! Anyway I've smacked the back of my hand. Not that I wish to pour scorn on the indexing of BMD but it would surely make more sense to complete a year at a time. I thought at least all 1914 was included by now seeing some 1926 are on there.

Jeremy

Karen Newman
12-11-2007, 4:43 PM
Have you considered the possibility that some or all of the information that has been handed down is 'incorrect' (and I mean that in the nicest way). I say this because a relative (now deceased) 'invented' a father to hide his illegitimacy. The tale was relayed to me by his daughter who naturally believed her father, and never found out the truth before she in turn died. I don't think she would have minded at all, but would have been hurt that he lied to her. His birth cert revealed the truth.

Perhaps Alexander died and Isabella remarried but was unable to keep her child/children (there are two Middletons registered in Camberwell with mother's maiden name Walker around the same time - a long shot perhaps).

Perhaps he didn't die in the war.

I would not give up though. Sometimes it is best to shelve it for a short while and then go back to it.

Peter Goodey
12-11-2007, 5:50 PM
Bear in mind that Alexander Middleton may or may not have existed and if he did he may or may not have actually been married to Isabella.

Where exactly was the child born? Consider checking hospital/institution records.

I'd recommend re-checking the GRO indexes for a subsequent marriage or death of Isabella under the names of both Middleton and Walker.

Consider checking any relevant Poor Law records that may have survived.

I don't you specifically mentioned having checked the WW1 medal cards.

There are also court records for affiliation (maintenance) orders but I don't know enough about these particular circumstances to assess whether a search might be worthwhile.

Wirral
12-11-2007, 11:32 PM
I've scoured the BMD indices looking for matching marriage entries for the grandparents, as far back as 1895.
Have you looked at the army & overseeas marriages as well as the full General Register Office (GRO) indexes? Alexander could have been a career soldier, rather than a conscript soldier, so his marriage might not be on the usual index.
Do you know anything about your father's early life? Was he brought up by just one foster family or were there a number of them? Did he spend any time in a children's home? What was the religion of the foster family? That might indicate the religion of the grandparent. Sorry, I seem to be bombarding you with questions. :o

Wirral
12-11-2007, 11:56 PM
I've just had a thought. MIDDLETON, Alexander & Isabella are all Scottish names, rather than English names. The GRO only covers England & Wales. Have you looked in the Scottish marriages & death indexes? Try www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk (http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk)

Tenny
13-11-2007, 10:48 AM
Hello again,

What a great response, thanks everyone.

OK, more by luck than judgement, I had found the registration of the birth on the bmd index, and my mother has my father's bc, which states that Isabella's maiden name was Walker and both their addresses were stated as being in Southwark Bridge Road. My father apparently obtained this copy in 1945.

How easy would it have been in 1914 to give false information to the registrar? It has crossed our minds that Alexander & Isabella were't married and that he wasn't killed in the war.

My father,(who died in 2003) never wanted to speak much about his childhood. We know that he was brought up in Battersea, a stone's throw from Lambeth where his birth was registered. I think it was just one family, although he never mentioned foster siblings and I don't know his foster name.

If my mother ever knew, she's forgotten now (she's nearly 90 herself) and she says she doesn't have anything from his pre-army apprentice days.

I've searched again though the BMD indices up to 1920, for deaths of Isabella Middleton and Walker, registered in Lambeth particularly, as I thought if she lived there, she possibly died there. I then widened the search to include anywhere but no-one of childbearing age stands out as a possibility.

I haven't looked at overseas and military marriages nor Scottish ones. I'll do so next. I did look at the medals index and so did some helpful folk on a WW1 forum. Nothing.

How would I find out where exactly my father was born, especially if that institution has now closed, a distinct possibility? How would that help trace his parents?

How would I know if any Isabella Middleton/Walker's remarrying/marrying after 1914 were connected to my father? I wish I'd asked him more questions when I had the opportunity.....