Does anyone know if & where births, marriages or deaths of UK personnel serving in colonial administrations would / should have been registered in the latter part of the 19th century.
The reason I ask is that I am attempting to "flesh-out" the career of John Greenwood Atkinson (JGA) who was my sister-in-law's great grandfather. Now I have looked on Findmypast site at the overseas registrations and have been unable to find any records that could relate to him.
JGA's career is a bit hazy. Transcripts of letters from his father state that around JGA was in the army. 1958 in the 96th regiment then on the outbreak of war with Russia he went with the 34th Regiment to the Crimea. In April 1859 he joined the (then) new Commissariat Staff Corps, was promoted to sergeant at Aldershot and in October volunteered to serve in China (Opium Wars) and left in charge of six corporals on 4th November 1859. Neil1821 in another thread under Military - General was kind enough to look up the Opium Wars Medal List that he has access to but, as ever, JGA is an elusive so-and-so!
The same letters also show that on 1st May 1861 JGA left China for Mauritius. Whether he was then still in the CSC or not we don't know for sure, but we do know that he did serve in the British administration in Mauritius for quite a number of years. He was apparently Station Master at one stage, and he described himself as a retired Deputy District Commissioner on the 1901 census (post his retirement and return to the UK).
Whilst in Mauritius he married (at least!) twice and had two children that we know of (and have Mauritius sourced birth certificates for). We know from experience that finding and getting documentation from Mauritius is extremely difficult.
We do have copies of a number of documents dating from his days in Mauritius, including a recently arrived copy of a shipping manifest which shows JGA returning on leave to the UK in 1884 with 3 younger Atkinson's :
No.3 could be one of his two known sons (V.M.J. Atkinson born 1st March 1975). His other known son, John W. Atkinson had been in the UK since at least 1881. It is certainly conceivable (no pun intended!) that JGA could have had more children than just the two we know of.
- Hannah Atkinson aged 20
- C. Atkinson (a girl it states) aged 15
- G. Atkinson (a boy it states) aged 9
I guess that JGA's fellow passengers could also have been returning UK relations who had been visiting him in Mauritius.
I would be most grateful for the input of others.
Results 1 to 7 of 7
01-02-2008, 10:23 AM #1
Mauritius Military and Civil Service
17-09-2008, 4:15 PM #2
- Join Date
- Aug 2008
Alan. sorry I can't help with your query, but I wonder if you can help with mine? I note on this post that you had picked up a relative/s travelling back to the UK. I am trying to track my gggrandfather who was in Mauritius from 1861 to 1863 and I also have had no luck tracing birth, death and marriage certs, but would love to track his travel if there is anyway.
I would appreciate any help you may be able to give.
17-09-2008, 5:00 PM #3
Since the time of posting that topic some months back, we have found a lot more information about the "colonial bureaucracy" :-)
John Atkinson for example had children that we had no idea about! He married a local lady and when she died he married a second local lady. We knew he had two sons (one by each wife) as they returned to live in the UK. It was only after we sought additional copies of documents (ships manifests etc) from the Mauritius Government Archives that we found the two hitherto undiscovered daughters!
It may be that there are some papers relating to your gggrandfather in the archives there.
The archives address we used was:
Development Bank of Mauritius Complex
Petite Riviere, Mauritius
Tel.. 233-4469/233-7341. Fax 233-4299
e-mail: arc At mail DOT gov DOT mu
Any BMD certificates (the locals call them Civil status records) for events registered in Mauritius for post 1810 period can be bought from:
Civil Status Division
Emmanuel Anquetil Building
e-mail: civstat AT intnet DOT mu
You do not say what your gggfather was doing in Mauritius. John Atkinson left the Army sometime after his arrival in Mauritius and spent several years in the Mauritian administration, so we were able to get quite a bit of stuff from their archives.
The archives and Civil Status will want payment of course, and you can do that (as we did) by sending the amount they request by Postal Order.
Hope that helps
Last edited by Procat; 18-09-2008 at 9:04 AM. Reason: Email address edited to avoid spam
27-09-2008, 12:32 PM #4
- Join Date
- Aug 2008
Alan, sorry for the delay in reply, thank you for your help. All I have gleaned was that my gggrandfather left England after the 1861 census when he was married to an Elizabeth Longstaff. He then turns up again in Jarrow in June 1863 with a 'new' wife Frances and a baby Mary Esther whose baptism record states that Mary Esther was born in March in Mauritius. His name was Edmund Calvert and the new wife was Frances Cottington.
All I can surmise is that they met in Mauritius as the family that Frances was a servant to in the 1861 census were involved in the building of the railway in Mauritius. Pretty thin ground I know. I will be led by yourself as I think my best bet would be to find them on a vessel returning to the UK in the spring of 1863. Please would you let me know what kind of lookup you asked for and some indication of what this may cost?
Again I really appreciate your help
27-09-2008, 3:20 PM #5
Did you look on the overseas indices of the UK BMD registry, e.g. I looked on Findmypast first. If you cannot find the marriage (of Edmund Calvert and Frances) or the birth entry (for Mary Esther) in the overseas part of the UK BMD indices then the only course I guess would be for you to email the Mauritius Archives and ask them to check their registers for the relevant period to see if they are listed there. They didn't charge me for that part.
If they come back and give you a date etc, then you will need to write to the Civil Status Division of the Mauritius Govt quoting the dates and names and ask for copies of certificates. I think we paid about £8 for 4 certificates 18 months ago, but I'm not sure now.
If you email civstat they will give you the exact cost I'm sure.
The subsequent research for other entries and postage of the reams of stuff they sent was more expensive, £40 I think - but that also included air mail postage
Hope that helps
28-09-2008, 10:43 AM #6
- Join Date
- Aug 2008
Alan, thank you very much this is very helpful. I will give your suggestion a try and let you know how I get on.
Thank you once again for your help
30-05-2017, 6:59 AM #7
- Join Date
- Jul 2009
- Southborne, Nr Emsworth, Hampshire
Did you find John Greenwood Atkinson marriage on 23/05/1874 to Alice Jeanne Faucheur in Port Louis, Mauritius?
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