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Peter Goodey
23-06-2006, 12:13 PM
Not so much a success story - more of a blunder really. But you can have a good laugh at my expense. Bear with me...


Got a child’s birth certificate – parents were Sidney and Jennie.
Obtained the marriage certificate of Sidney and Jennie. Sidney’s father’s name was Samuel, a horsekeeper.
Located the family in census returns with a reasonable degree of confidence (but it was London and a common surname - Adams). The father was Samuel who was a horsekeeper; his wife was Sarah and the children were Mary, Sidney, Simeon, Arthur & Frederick.
Got Sidney’s birth certificate.
Got some data from the London Gazette confirming details of Sidney’s civil service career. Didn’t seriously pursue his earlier military life (too many called Sidney Adams for comfort!).
His parents were born in a rural area so from parish registers it was plain sailing back to the 1700s.
Some nagging doubts remained. Had I got the right birth certificate for Sidney and the right horsekeeping Samuel? It was also strange that some children were missing from some censuses (Sidney was missing from 1881 when he should have been one year old; Simeon was missing from 1891; neither Sidney nor Simeon were in the 1901 but family legend has it that at least one of them was in the Boer War).

To try to nail this on the head, I searched for Sidney’s death certificate. Family recollection is that he died in the mid 1950s in the Croydon area. Fair enough…ploughed through the GRO indexes…until…

A moment of horror! Staring out of the page at me is the death of a Simeon Adams!

Got the death certificate and the corresponding birth certificate for Simeon. The death was registered by one of Simeon’s sons, Sidney Arthur John, who the family have always known as being the son of Sidney and Jennie.

His parents were born in a rural area so from parish registers it was plain sailing back to the 1700s. Some nagging doubts remained. Had I got the right birth certificate for Sidney and the right horsekeeping Samuel? It was also strange that some children were missing from some censuses (Sidney was missing from 1881 when he should have been one year old; Simeon was missing from 1891; neither Sidney nor Simeon were in the 1901 but family legend has it that at least one of them was in the Boer War).

Now the really embarrassing bit - a search through some family papers revealed that Simeon’s birth date exactly matched family reminiscences of the birth date of the father they knew as Sidney.

“Sidney” was actually Simeon!

Why was his death registered under the name of Simeon? Presumably because his NHS records were under the name of Simeon. On the other hand, his civil service records showed Sidney and also I suspect, his military records (an assumption based on there being nothing in the WW1 medal rolls for Simeon Adams but plenty to choose from for Sidney Adams). As already mentioned, “Sidney” was the name given on his marriage certificate and his children’s birth certificates.

Why the change of name? I suspect that the real Sidney died in infancy (a possible death certificate is on order). Simeon’s father, Samuel, probably would not have tolerated a change of name (Simeon was Samuel’s father’s name). After Samuel’s death, I suspect the mother simply started calling her eldest surviving son Sidney in memory of the dead baby

There are some lessons here. Don’t jump to a conclusion even when a lot of the data seems to support it and don’t mislay family papers!

Peter Goodey
23-06-2006, 12:21 PM
How do you delete messages? Blasted editor! Here's another attempt at the second part of the message -

A moment of horror! Staring out of the page at me is the death of a Simeon Adams!

Got the death certificate and the corresponding birth certificate for Simeon. The death was registered by one of Simeon’s sons, Sidney Arthur John, who the family have always known as being the son of Sidney and Jennie.

Now the really embarrassing bit - a search through some family papers revealed that Simeon’s birth date exactly matched family reminiscences of the birth date of the father they knew as Sidney.

“Sidney” was actually Simeon!

Why was his death registered under the name of Simeon? Presumably because his NHS records were under the name of Simeon. On the other hand, his civil service records showed Sidney and also I suspect, his military records (an assumption based on there being nothing in the WW1 medal rolls for Simeon Adams but plenty to choose from for Sidney Adams). As already mentioned, “Sidney” was the name given on his marriage certificate and his children’s birth certificates.

Why the change of name? I suspect that the real Sidney died in infancy (a possible death certificate is on order). Simeon’s father, Samuel, probably would not have tolerated a change of name (Simeon was Samuel’s father’s name). After Samuel’s death, I suspect the mother simply started calling her eldest surviving son Sidney in memory of the dead baby.

There are some lessons here. Don’t jump to a conclusion even when a lot of the data seems to support it and don’t mislay family papers!

busyglen
23-06-2006, 12:31 PM
That's an interesting story Peter!

I previously have `jumped' in excitement when I `thought' I had found the person I was looking for, only to find a bit further on, that I had the wrong one.

Your Adams, are akin to my search for Jones, and yes, they go back to Wales!! I've found several possibles recently, but I am printing all info off and getting certs. etc. until I have more proof....but....if one of them has changed names along the way..!!!!!

Thanks for sharing this as it does help to realise that `nothing' is simple in this game, and it can happen to any one of us!!

Good luck. :)
Glenys

busyglen
23-06-2006, 12:32 PM
Peter, if you go to Edit, it should give you the option to delete at the top, where it says `reason for deletion'. Or...Edit and clear the offending bits.

Hope that helps.

Glenys

Diane Grant-Salmon
23-06-2006, 12:48 PM
Hi Peter,

What an interesting story, with lessons to be learned as you rightly say. I would have loved to have seen your face when you made the discovery, shock horror :eek: is probably an understatement!

I managed to piece the story together from your first message, but it was good to be able to see it clearly in your further posting.

I tried to delete a message of mine once and I couldn't ...... maybe because someone had replied to it?

busyglen
23-06-2006, 1:19 PM
Hi Peter,

I tried to delete a message of mine once and I couldn't ...... maybe because someone had replied to it?

Good point Diane, I was probably replying whilst Peter was having a second attempt, which is why he couldn't edit. Trust me!!

Glenys

Peter Goodey
23-06-2006, 3:04 PM
Thanks for ploughing through the story.

It was a bit of a rum do. I was annoyed with myself for not spotting it earlier. The trouble was that the Sidney solution seemed plausible and generally seemed to hang together.

It was my stupid fault for overlooking the family documents but at various odd times I found myself muttering "it's strange that you never see Sidney and Simeon in the same room together" (ie the same census). Now that I know that Sidney was really Simeon (thank goodness for a slightly unusual first name), I've confirmed that it's the right family and I haven't wasted the time I spent in the Devon parish registers tracing earlier ancestors.

Hey ho. I wonder what other mistaken assumptions are lying around in my records...

busyglen
23-06-2006, 7:05 PM
Don't be too hard on yourself Peter, I doubt that there isn't a person on this forum that hasn't done the same thing at some stage. Hey...look at the masses of certificates going begging! ;)

I know how you feel though...I always feel SO stupid when I've assumed something, and then found out that it's wrong! At least you know you are on the right track now.

Glenys

Pegasus
23-06-2006, 7:38 PM
Peter.

I know How You Feel!

A few Years ago I was sitting infront of a MicroFilm Viewer (in the Library) sorting through my papers, and a lady using the Viewer next to Me noticed that I was looking for a 'Summerfield Family' in Liverpool.

She asked Me: "Which Family are You looking for"

When I asked Her What she Meant, she told Me that She had traced Every Summerfield in Liverpool (for a Friend of Hers) & after reading some of my notes she said " O Your looking for the Other Family" (There where Only 2 Branches of Summerfields in Liverpool, & Her Friend was was Decended from one & I was looking for the Other).

She said that she had Traced My Branch back 4-5 Generations before showing Her findings to her Friend (Who told Her that it was the Wrong Family!).

P.S.

I passed the Info on to My Neice (who I was doing the research for), & a few years later I asked Her If she had got any further with it. She Had Lost All the Notes I gave Her & Neither of Us could remember the phone number the Lady in the Library had given Me!

Mythology
24-06-2006, 2:39 PM
"I wonder what other mistaken assumptions are lying around in my records..."

I would imagine that a good number of us are in the same boat, Peter - yours truly included. I have a little warning at the start of my stuff, that "there are a number of unverified entries and even a little guesswork, so it should not be regarded as definitive - research is ongoing and contents are liable to change" but, obviously, I do try and make sure it's correct!

One recent change is because I goofed completely with my Mary Ann Smith. I had a burial for her, right age, right small village, "obviously" my girl, and I stupidly hadn't followed everything up properly to check.
Later, moving on a generation, I followed up a nephew, Benjamin Allen, and found him with Mary Ann (now married), sixteen years after I'd killed her off. :o

(continues)

Mythology
24-06-2006, 2:41 PM
(continued)

My most recent assumption, which may turn out to be wrong, is that my Deborah Peacock and Kate Peacock are one and the same. Saving fingers by doing a copy and paste from an e-mail I sent ...
"I could be wrong, as I haven't checked registers so only have baptisms from BTs on the IGI, probably not all relevant years on there, but I'm fairly certain that Deborah Peacock 1833 is the same person as Kate, for who no baptism is listed, so have shown her/them as Deborah Kate Peacock. I have Deborah at school in BSE with Sarah Ann in 1841, then she disappears. I do not have Kate in 1841, either at home or at school, she first appears in 1851, and there isn't a single Deborah Peacock death anywhere in the entire country between 1841 and 1851. OK - given that the census ages are unreliable (Deborah says 7 in 1841 when she'd be 8), it's possible that there's a late 1833 or early 1834 baptism for Kate somewhere, that she was somewhere else in 1841, and Deborah is well hidden in 1851, but ....
Kate married William Goodson. She's still alive 1901. In 1908 there's a death ref for *Deborah* Goodson aged 75, spot on, and nobody remotely like this Deborah Goodson seems to exist, so I reckon it's Kate and somebody knew what her real name was."

Pegasus
24-06-2006, 10:06 PM
Mythology.

I had a the same sort of problem when (at the start of My researchs) I was trying to Build a complete picture of My Maternal Grandfather!

I Knew his name was 'William James Wright', but when I found his School Records he was Listed as 'William Wright' & on His Military Records He was named as 'James Wright'.

So evertime I tried to find any other Info I had to search for Him under:
1. William James Wright
2. James Wright
3. William Wright

P.S.
In the area he lived in there was 2-3 'James Wrights' living in every Road?