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    Default Death in Absentia

    I am trying to trace a Death registration/certificate for a person who was declared dead in the absence of a body in about 1890.
    The chap in question got into trouble with the Police and emigrated (scarpered) to Australia in 1886. He actually lived until 1952 but during the intervening years he spent most of his life in prison under various aliases. His wife obviously thought he was dead and according to one of his wife's descendants she had him declared dead.
    Would the death be registered in the normal GRO indexes?
    How long would she have to wait before applying?
    Would there there have been an inquest and if so where would I find any info?

  2. #2
    Jan1954
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    Hi Geoff,

    There is an interesting article on Wikipedia about death in absentia:
    http://en.
    wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_in_absentia

    but also, have a look at this 1604 Act from Guy Etchells' website:
    http://
    freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~framland/acts/1604.htm

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    according to one of his wife's descendants
    I was OK until I got to that phrase

    The usual reason for wanting to treat someone as dead is for probate or remarriage. As he had legged it, I'm guessing there was no money that his wife could get her hands on so perhaps it was remarriage. Am I right? If that was the reason, all she had to do was wait for seven years and she was immune from being charged with bigamy, even if the husband subsequently appeared. If you search this site you should find other discussions on this topic.

    Also see http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/...100/section/57

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    Thanks for both replies.

    I've read the Wiki article. From what I can gather the normal period is seven years unless there are extenuating circumstances. Which in this case I fear there might have been bearing in mind to all intents and purposes it was a normal emigration to a British colony where I assume they could have checked for his death. That's why I thought there would have to have been some sort of inquest to differentiate between a probable death or just a voluntary disappearance. Surely you can't just declare someone dead just because they've done a runner. As I said in my post this chap was imprisoned under a number of aliases so perhaps they did check and couldn't find him by his real name and assumed he was dead, but whose responsibility is it to do this investigation, his next of kin, the courts......? and what records would be kept?

    Peter, I don't know why I said his wife's descendant, she is actually his great grand daughter. Thomas (that's his name) left a son who was subsequently brought up by his maternal grandparents. Gertrude (Thomas's wife) mysteriously disappears from all records after the birth of her son. Up until now I had thought she was dead (even murdered) or perhaps had left the country, possibly in search of Thomas, however having just found his great grand daughter she informs me that Gertrude had him declared dead at some point and went on to remarry and live to the ripe old age of 80. Unfortunately the detail is a bit sketchy without the relevant names/dates to take me further. I thought perhaps if I could find a death cert or a record of the inquest proceedings it might give me at least some scrap of information that would enable me to find out what happened to Gertrude.

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    Sorry.. I am only here to comment and not help.....
    What an intriguing mystery! Please do keep us informed when you find more information on them. Its also great to know in case any of us ever run across this situation in our own searching.
    Good luck.
    Sue
    YOU MAY CHOOSE YOUR FRIENDS, BUT YOU CAN'T CHOOSE YOUR RELATIVES

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    Quote Originally Posted by susan-y View Post
    Sorry.. I am only here to comment and not help.....
    What an intriguing mystery! Please do keep us informed when you find more information on them. Its also great to know in case any of us ever run across this situation in our own searching.
    Good luck.
    Sue
    Hi Sue,

    I've been researching my tree for years and I can tell you I've never found anyone as intriguing as this chap. I've created a tree especially for him on ancestry.com. Assuming you have a subscription have a look, you'll be amazed.

    Just type in Thomas Henry Augustine Penny in the "search" box.

    Oops sorry didn't realise links to Ancestry weren't allowed.

    Geoff
    Last edited by Jan1954; 02-05-2012 at 4:32 PM. Reason: Links to Ancestry are not allowed. Please read the Terms of Service.

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    Gertrude had him declared dead at some point and went on to remarry and live to the ripe old age of 80
    Did you read the link that I provided? In order to remarry, there was no need to do anything except wait for seven years. She did not have to have him declared dead. You will not find any record of any declaration of death because there was none.

    When was the remarriage? Was it seven years after he disappeared?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Goodey View Post
    Did you read the link that I provided? In order to remarry, there was no need to do anything except wait for seven years. She did not have to have him declared dead. You will not find any record of any declaration of death because there was none.

    When was the remarriage? Was it seven years after he disappeared?
    Hi Peter,

    Sorry (seem to be saying sorry a lot today) I didn't read your link. Unfortunately I don't know when she remarried or to whom for that matter. Thomas left the country in 1886 but despite hours of searching I can't find any record of her in the 1891 census. If as you rightly say she could only remarry legally seven years after his departure I am mystified why there is isn't a record in either her married name Penny or even her maiden name Hemstead.
    It seems another avenue has been closed and I'm well and truly stuck again.

    Geoff

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