View Full Version : Where to start??
29-08-2007, 11:29 PM
I am new to researching family trees, and I need to find my grandad who was a Baptist minister in 1930-34. Where is the best place to look for info on line. I have done google searches but nothing has shown up. There seems to be so many websites all promising to find ancestors but either they charge a fortune or you have to travel to view the documents and I have very little to go on, ie I know his name and where he was a minister but no idea when/where he as born/married and died.
Any help would be greatly appreciated!
29-08-2007, 11:33 PM
Hi - and welcome :)
Do you know where your grandad was a minister? A little more information, such as his name will help to identify him with a bit of luck.
29-08-2007, 11:52 PM
Yes, I do know the name of the church, and I have contacted the pastor there via email. Are they allowed to give the info I need? Or am I better off looking at relevant documents? And if so who would keep them? there must be church magazines? or newspaper articles? There was a bit of scandal involving him and my grandmother (in about 1934/35) which makes me think the church may be reluctant to divulge info.
30-08-2007, 12:30 AM
Hello Sindylin and welcome,
If you want some help to track your grandfather we really do need his name and, at least, the area.
We know it can be very hard sometimes to give out personal information to a load of strangers but you will find the people here have access to a great many online sites, CD's, knowledge and information that they are willing to share free.
You let us know what you have and I bet someone will be able to help you move on...
30-08-2007, 1:57 AM
Without knowing where you are on about, some churches have had their parish registers scanned by the local records office (County Council) so you could look on their site for their record holdings.
Only knowing Derbyshire, they have theirs in pdf format and lists all the parishes, the dates for baptisms, marriages and deaths, plus whether the record is on fiche, microfilm or as a document with its reference number. Very useful so you can book the appropriate reader in advance and go straight to the item without spending time in the records office looking up the information.
30-08-2007, 9:15 AM
I need to find my grandad who was a Baptist minister in 1930-34. Where is the best place to look for info on line.......I have very little to go on, ie I know his name and where he was a minister but no idea when/where he as born/married and died.
You will not necessarily find information on the web - this is not necessarily a free hobby. You may have to travel and/or spend money and charges vary between various online sources.
1) Don't be taken in by advertising suggesting that you can do everything from home and on one web-site.
2) Work methodically. Start from your parents. As others have mentioned it helps to know where in the world you are researching - but - assuming that you are in the UK, begin with his child who is/was your mum/dad. Their birth certificates should show both parents names and the mother's maiden name. This will help you to find a marriage certificate for your grandad.
His marriage certificate will give his age and at least his father's name and occupation. This should help to trace his birth certificate. Are you back to 1901 yet? Can you trace anyone on the census of that year?
30-08-2007, 2:54 PM
Welcome. Try the Baptist Historical Society on www.baptisthistory.org.uk (http://www.baptisthistory.org.uk) click on Family History and then the link to Obituaries. It may help.
30-08-2007, 4:23 PM
You may find the book "My Ancestors were Baptists" useful. It includes sources of information on Baptist ministers.
Also there was an annual publication called the Baptist Handbook which will probably be worth looking at if you can get to a place that has them
31-08-2007, 1:39 PM
Wow.....thanks so much for the replies.... lots to go on there.
Regarding the reply about the birth certificate for my dad!..I wish it were this simple. But he isn't listed as the father..its left blank. This is because my nan and this minister had a "fling" (he may well have been married too) the result being my dad. This brought shame on the family, so my great grandad had him drefrocked so to speak! Nan was sent away to have the baby and he was brought up as her younger brother!
He doens't appear in the Baptist obituries sadly, probably cos he was banished from the church....??
The area is Croydon,Surrey..
31-08-2007, 3:05 PM
But he isn't listed as the father..its left blank
As you're new to this, you won't have realised that this has put a different slant on the problem.
However, filling in the blanks is what this game is all about.
One of the first things we have to learn to do in genealogy is to critically examine family stories and find real evidence to prove or disprove them.
People here can offer suggestions but you really need to tell us what evidence there is apart from what you've been told in the family.
For example, do you know the putative father's name (or does family legend name him)? Is there any documentary evidence that you know of? Any documents admitting paternity? Evidence of maintenance payments? A court order for maintenance?
01-09-2007, 12:19 AM
I am 100% sure that what I have been told is correct.
My nan told me his name years ago, she didn't make a song or dance about it, she merely wrote his name on a piece of paper and said thats his name, in fact this was the first time she actualy spoke to me about it. I think she realised then that it needed to be added to the tree at some point. I know also from my dad that his illegitamcy caused him a lot of grief both when he found out intially and for years after. So I don't doubt its all true. I also knew my great grandad and he was a real pig and I can quite beleive that he got this minister de frocked and made matters worse by sweeping the aftermath under the carpet.
Its hard to explain as all families are different but my nan has always been very religious (they went over to the methodists after this happened) and she wouldn't lie.
I'm pretty sure there were no maintenance payments as my great grandad forbid him to have anything to do with my nan and he was never mentioned again. My great grandparents brought my dad up as their own until he was 9 and was told his sister was, infact, his mother!
My dad has never had the desire to find out about his real father and its only that as part of the family tree that I need to know that he has found out his name!!! I knew it before he did.. weird I know.
Sorry I can't prove or disprove it with any written proof!
01-09-2007, 12:49 AM
I know of some grandparents that brought up a grandson as their own son because they thought the mother (their daughter) should not. They did actually officially adopt him because they felt so strongly at the time. This was 1940 (He only found out by chance when he was 50 yrs old)
I do not know anything about adoption then but could your g.grandad have done the same and your father never knew? I think that grandparents pretending a grandchild was their own happened a lot more than we realise.
Maybe someone here could let you know if it is possible to track that on line.
01-09-2007, 1:10 PM
I have heard that also, I suppose in those days it was easier to pretend as illegitimacy was such a taboo subject, whereas today no-one even flinches!! I don't think my grandad would have gone to all that trouble, for a start it would have meant involving the authorities and he was ashamed of my nan, he certainly didn't want outsider/busybodies actually KNOWING not when he could just pretend and everyone was sworn to secrecy (he was that kind of man, he ruled the roost and pity anyone who crossed or disobeyed him) As a child he scared the living daylights out of me and my brother, children were to be seen and NOT heard, they were to eat everything on their plate, my brother aged about 6 was made to sit at the table long after everyone else had gone to finish his dinner....and no-one not even my parents stood up to him, also, I feel sure that my nan would have told my Dad the truth when it was decided it was time to tell him. I know my Dad has been through a lot of personal papers (inc his birth certificate) in the last 10 years when my Nan signed everything over to him and did her will through a solicitor etc.... I am pretty sure there would have been adoption papers there if they existed.
03-09-2007, 11:29 PM
I have now heard back from the Church where he was working when my dad was concieved. They couldn't really tell me a lot, despite mentioning him on their website! His name was Samuel Close and he was married with two children, he worked there from June 1931 until October 1935 when he resigned! (this would have been shortly after my great grandad made a song and dance over what had happened) Prior to that he was a minister in Diss, Norfolk for 7 years! I am assuming he was about my nans age so he would have been born in about 1910/11 but could be up to ten years older than that!
Any of that any help?
03-09-2007, 11:39 PM
Well done Sinylin, that must have taken a lot of courage to make the step to post his name. It was obvious that you were hesitant.
I really hope that someone out there will pull out all the stops to help you.
Sindylin needs our |help|
07-09-2007, 12:17 AM
I have found a Samuel Close in Weymouth in 1891. I do not know if he could be your man. I cannot read his father's occupation, maybe someone could help:
Class: RG12; Piece: 904; Folio 137; Page 20
Samuel William was born in Weymouth in 1880 with
Albert Ernest Close (http://search.ancestry.co.uk/cgi-bin/sse.dll?db=uki1891&indiv=try&h=12291732) 6
Henry Sidney Close (http://search.ancestry.co.uk/cgi-bin/sse.dll?db=uki1891&indiv=try&h=12292228) 10/12
Herbert Edward Close (http://search.ancestry.co.uk/cgi-bin/sse.dll?db=uki1891&indiv=try&h=12291937) 3
Jessica Kate Close (http://search.ancestry.co.uk/cgi-bin/sse.dll?db=uki1891&indiv=try&h=12291731) 9
Ralph Farid Close (http://search.ancestry.co.uk/cgi-bin/sse.dll?db=uki1891&indiv=try&h=12292325) 5
Ralph Tweed Close (http://search.ancestry.co.uk/cgi-bin/sse.dll?db=uki1891&indiv=try&h=24941351) 39
Samuel William Close (http://search.ancestry.co.uk/cgi-bin/sse.dll?db=uki1891&indiv=try&h=12291887) 11
Virtue Rachel Close (http://search.ancestry.co.uk/cgi-bin/sse.dll?db=uki1891&indiv=try&h=12292094) 40
We also need to find what happened to this family in 1901
07-09-2007, 10:41 AM
I have found a Samuel Close in Weymouth in 1891. I do not know if he could be your man. I cannot read his father's occupation, maybe someone could help
Inspector of Railway
07-09-2007, 10:44 AM
I have now heard back from the Church where he was working when my dad was concieved. They couldn't really tell me a lot, despite mentioning him on their website! His name was Samuel Close and he was married with two children, he worked there from June 1931 until October 1935 when he resigned!
Have you tried to trace when he died and if he left a will acknowledging his son?
07-09-2007, 12:02 PM
Geoffers is right, it ties in with the 1901 census when the family live in Bournemouth. Ralph's birth and death are available online.
Samuel William was born William Samuel and in 1901 was a Boarder at Willesden in Middlesex. But there is nothing that ties him to your Samuel. It was just the name of the mother, Virtue, that caught my eye as maybe a religious name.
I cannot find anyone in Norfolk or Surrey who sounds like him at all.
08-09-2007, 6:26 PM
Many thanks for that.... I am hoping it is him, but the problem I have in tracing anything concrete is
I don't know if he had a middle to narrow the search down a bit
I don't know how old he was when he "knew" my nan so I can't easily guess his dob
ALSO:- since my last post, my dad has found a book that the croydon church published to celebrate 100 years and in it is a write up about him ( & more than they told me via email, thats for sure!) There is a photo of him with his wife and two children. Samuel looks about 45 in this pic and I am guessing it was taken while he was at the croydon church (1931-1935) so I think it would make "your" Samuel too old??? His wife looks about 35-ish and his daughter 5-6, the wife is holding a fairly newborn baby (sex unknown) in what looks like a christening gown! The book doesn't hide anything and actually says, he got a young lady in the congregation pregnant, a special meeting was held where all members under the age of 21 were asked to leave due to the delicate nature of the situation. A letter from Samuel was read out to this effect and saying he was resigning. The write up then goes on to say that the church made financial provision for his wife and children, so from that one presumes she told him to pack his bags and go. He had a reputation as an architect so I am presuming (again) that he went back to that trade once he was defrocked!
Do you think "your" Samuel could be him???
I did find details of a death certificate but that Samuel would be too young!!!! ie he died in 1989 aged 78 so was born in 1910/11 and it wouldn't tie up with the photo I have of him! He's defiantely in his 40's in this pic. I haven't received the certificate yet, this guy died in Warrington, Cheshire.
So what do you make of that!!!?
09-09-2007, 1:44 PM
If he was divorced - try reading TNA's research guide:
and using their online catalogue:
enter a surname in the 'word or phrase' field and in the 'department or series' field enter J77
Did the church keep minutes of the meeting? Does the church retain details of past ministers?
Was it reported in a local newspaper?
10-09-2007, 1:37 PM
Hi Geoffers and everyone else helping and advising!
Thanks all of you, very much appreciated.
Firstly, I have contacted the croydon newspaper to see about visiting them for a search through papers at that time.
The church must have kept minutes but they are saying they haven't got any, I have since found out that Baptitst churches didn't keep such good records as, say anglican or Roman Catholic (just my luck eh?)
What the church did discover and this was a major development although I didn't realise it at the time, they found his application for membership of the church, however all that was listed was his name, "mrs close" and a "master William Close" their application was 1931 and William had to be at least 18 to be a member. So with a little bit of mathematical genius on my part! ( a rare thing) I did a search on Genesreunited (are we allowed to mention them??????lol) and found two William Closes listed who would have been born around that time. I contacted the tree owners of both asking if their William had a father called Samuel and luck was on my side I received a reply from one chap confirming he did have both names and allowed me access to his tree and there it was!!!! Whats more, under the wife's details was a note saying that Sam Close had been defrocked due to some "Family trouble" so its the same chap!!! Sam Close married into the family of the tree owner so its all Sam's Wife's side sadly, but what a major breakthrough!!!!!! I now have names and dates BUT......not Samuel Closes actual DoB, just the year 1891. Theres no marriage date either and no date of death just the year and place (1957, Otford, Kent) I did a quick search again on GR but there are no Samuel Close's born in 1891, I have a feeling that he was born in Scotland as his wife's family are all from there and the records held on GR are all England Wales! Also I learned from the notes on the tree that Sam was initially a teacher as was his wife, and she paid for him to go to Uni to study for the ministry (at Spurgeons College in South Norwood) I am thinking they left Scotland for his study then he went to Diss Baptist Church for 7 years as a lay minister, then once ordaned, off to the Baptist church in Croydon and it was shortly after he was ordaned that the "indescretion" occurred! They split up for several years but apparently got back together again. They had three children altogether.
Is it hard to get access to scottish B/M/Ds?
13-09-2007, 1:51 PM
Just to let you know, that I have found him! Peter Nicholl (earlier poster on this thread) found his details via Scolands people! Also Mary Young who went through the census entries for 1881 1891 and 1901. He was born in Scotland and his father was born (or certainly came from) Ireland. So my search takes me to Ireland next....
A great start, from two weeks ago and knowing nothing, I now know his dob and death, plus his immediate decsendants and siblings, plus his parents!
Many thanks to everyone who offered help and suggestions!
30-09-2007, 10:56 PM
Thanks to the people who helped me on this forum I have now found my grandad's family, its quite large....lol
The best bit of all is I have found my half cousin, the legitimate grandchild of Samuel. We have been in contact and I have some photos of her her and her husband and Samuels sister. She knew of the affair our grandad had and often wondered what had happened to the baby that was born as a result!
So many thanks again! :)
30-09-2007, 11:03 PM
I am really glad you got there in the end. Considering how unsure you were about posting the details it proves that the people out there now, do not judge us for the mistakes our ancestors made.
30-09-2007, 11:51 PM
A great result! Well done to all concerned working this complicated tree out!
That really was some superb work!
01-10-2007, 12:34 AM
Hi Bo Peep
http://th159.photobucket.com/albums/t138/nicoleko1989/th_okayending.png (http://photobucket.com/mediadetail/?media=http%3A%2F%2Fi159.photobucket.com%2Falbums% 2Ft138%2Fnicoleko1989%2Fokayending.png&searchTerm=happy ending&pageOffset=14)
Aah Bless !!!!
01-10-2007, 12:38 AM
This is better. Burgers are on Bo Peep!!!
Sorry I cannot reduce the size....
01-10-2007, 1:12 PM
:) Great pic!
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