View Full Version : starting with little info - not sure where to start
15-12-2005, 4:59 PM
Hi I am new to the forum. I am researching the surname Morris - I don't know very much except the following:Harry Morris and wife Lena were the parents of my great grandfather Sydney Morris b. 12 Jan 1888 - insure of siblings - Sydney married Margery Elizabeth Irons in April 1912 - and they had 3 children - only one born in England - My info mentions a few places - which are Essex , London, London Bendy Park(sp?) - possible they were Presbyterian
the only other info I have is when they traveled and to where - does anybody have any idea where I might start my research?
Thanks a bunch
15-12-2005, 6:19 PM
"does anybody have any idea where I might start my research? "
Yes. By going to a library and reading a few books covering family history research in Britain. To get in the mood, you could do some intitial reading here -
Read and absorb and note the bibliography and follow the links.
Then you'll know the principles.
Some initial comments - the way I read your message, you may not be starting at the right place. Don't rely on family stories - confirm everything. Assuming that you've confirmed from American sources that the immigrant family were indeed the ones you mentioned, you can make a start on the British side of things. You should be able to locate the birth certificate of the child born in Britain and from there work back to the marriage certificate of the parents. Now you have the names of their fathers and you can press on with identifying them in the 1901 census. Then you'll find yourself forging ahead. With a bit of luck you should be able to get back to the early 19th century using this sort of approach.
Morris, by the way, is a very common surname indeed with a bit of a geographical bias towards Wales and the north west. Don't read anything into that though!
15-12-2005, 6:26 PM
thanks you for your quick reply. I will take your advice and see what I can find
15-12-2005, 6:28 PM
I'm assuming this is the Sydney that died on 3 Nov 1970 in Cayucos, San Luis Obispo, California. His SSDI record states that he was in Wisconsin when he got his social security number.
You might look for his record of entry into the US to see if he came with his parents as well as his wife and child. If you know the dates of birth of the first two children, you will have the window in which to look for the entry.
Do you know when his parents died, and if they died in England? I don't see anything readily on the IGI, but you could look through the indexes at 1837.com for a small fee to try to find them - the certificate might have been verified by another sibling giving you another access point.
Census records are usually another source of info. I don't see a Lena married to a Harry for 1891 or 1901, though, in England. It's possible Lena had died and Sydney was living only with his father and siblings...
You might contact the SSA in Wisconsin to see when his SSN was issued, to give some clue as to when he lived there...
15-12-2005, 7:09 PM
I have Sydneys SSN - He and his wife and two eldest children came to the States on the George Washington in 1924 I know where they came from but I have no other info. thank you for the link i will check it out.
15-12-2005, 7:18 PM
This might be running before you can walk, but after you have taken Peter's good advice, this might be your family in the 1901 census. I'll put the info down in the order I found it, so you can see there is method in my madness, & also what i tried & didn't work.
1. checked "Bendy Park" on Google, tried variations such as Bentley Park. No luck.
2. Looked at 1901 census, but too many Sydneys, although some possible ones. No luck with 1891 either
3. Looked on www.freebmd.org.uk for birth of Sydney Morris in 1888. Found one that fitted: Sydney Morris born March quarter 1888 Greenwich volume 1d page 1046.
4. Clicked on the name Greenwich to see what areas that registration district covered (Greenwich, Deptford, Woolwich).
5. Went back to 1901 census on Ancestry for Sydney Morris born 1888 +/- 2 years. & there he is:
15-12-2005, 7:25 PM
1901 census RG13/552 page 1 folio 5, 7 Arngask Road, Lewisham, London
Harry Morris head M 39 wholesale ironmonger's clerk, London Bermondsey
Emma E. Morris wife M 39 London Bermondsey
Eleanor L. Morris dau S 17 school teacher London Rotherhithe
Arthur W. S. Morris son S 15 printers clerk London Deptford
Sydney Morris son S 13 at school London Deptford
Richard Morris son S 6 Surrey Camberwell
Stanley morris son S 4 Surrey Camberwell
Also from freebmd
Arthur William s. Morris born Mar Q 1886 Greenwich 1d 1092
Eleanor Louisa Morris born Sep Q 1883 St Olave 1d 305
Harry Morris married Emma Eleanor Radford Mar Q 1883 St Olave 1d 345
Lena is a name in its own right, but is more often a short form of Helena or Eleanor.
15-12-2005, 7:25 PM
Once again thank you so much for the help. I have been stuck on this part of my family for two years and now all these leads.
I thank you all for your help and will use the info you have given me to renew my search.
Should you need anything from me please let me know
15-12-2005, 8:55 PM
"I have been stuck on this part of my family for two years and now all these leads. "
Well, after all this time, you won't want to be chasing any wrong families will you? So please don't forget the certificates. Check and confirm everything! Then you'll have done a bit of work you can be proud of and isn't based (like some people's I afraid) on guesswork!
15-12-2005, 10:58 PM
Thank you for all your help and advice - I will be very careful when looking at future info
15-12-2005, 11:29 PM
Sydney's marriage & birth certificate are the 1st ones you need to get. If you know the General Register Office (GRO) references, then you can apply for them online at http://www.gro.gov.uk/gro/content/certificate/ The references that I gave from freeBMD are GRO references. FreeBMD is not complete yet, but you can look online at the whole GRO index at 1837 online or family relatives. These are pay-per-view.
The important info that they will give are:
Birth certificate - Place & date of birth (if it also gives the time of birth, it may be a multiple birth); forename/s, surname of child; father's name & occupation (both blank if child illegitimate); mother's current name, former surname (maiden surname), & late name (if she had been married before); name & place of residence of informant of the birth (could be another relative).
Marriage Certificate - where & when the marriage took place; whether it was Church of England, Catholic etc; Full name of groom & bride; their ages (may only say "Full" ie 21+ or "minor"); whether they were unmarried/ widowed or divorced; rank or profession of groom (very occasionally of bride); residence at time of marriage; bride & groom's fathers' names & rank or profession (& if deceased); who carried out the ceremony; the 2 witnesses names.
What you see on a marriage certificate is a transcription by a clerk of the details from the marriage register held by the church. To see the original (& hence the actual signatures), then you need to see a copy of the church register itself. Those are often held by libraries. You can only get a copy of a birth certificate by applying for one to a register office (either national or local)- they are not held by libraries.
15-12-2005, 11:42 PM
thank you - i am so glad i found this site everyone is so nice and so helpful
15-12-2005, 11:49 PM
Forgot to say, when applying for a certificate you can put conditions on it - eg the father's name must be "Harry", or the date of birth must be "x March xxxx", etc. As Lena may be spelt a number of ways, it may be better not to specify a match on her name. If the certificate does not match with your specifications, then it is not issued & you get a partial refund (I think it is £3 or £4 of the £7 cost per certificate).
15-12-2005, 11:53 PM
that is good to know i could have spent a lot of money for very little info
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