Thomas is missing

31 Mar


and not finding him is really driving me insane!

Okay .. let back track here … The Thomas in question is my Great Grand Father, my mother’s mother’s father.  This is the last branch of my extensive tree and the only things I can find out about him are post marriage.  I have the marriage certificate of March 1883 where Thomas states he is 22 and living in Derby, so that gives me a possible birth year of 1861/1860 [depending when his birthday fell].  On the 1891 census he is recorded as 30 years old and born in Ripley Derbyshire, that gives me a possible birth year of 1861/1860.  On the 1901 census he is recorded as 39 and born in Ripley Derbyshire, that gives a possible birth year of 1862/1861.  In the 1911 census he is recorded as 48 and again born Ripley in Derbyshire, which gives me a possible birth year of 1863/1862.  But I am missing any census information for 1881, 1871 and possibly 1861.

Some of you may not be aware of the fashion in which the General Records Office file birth, marriage and death certificates.  Alphabetical by surname per year, no you daft bats, nothing that straight forward, simple or logical!!  Each year is divided into quarters, the country is divided into registration districts [and not often named of a town or city, or following county boundaries], there are then volume numbers and the page number the entry is listed on.  The date used is the date the entry was inked into the register.  There is a central index for each quarter of each year which lists alphabetical by surname for the whole country.  When finding a certificate you often end up with information like, “Tom Gethin, Birth, Jan/Feb/Mar 1844, Montgomery, 27, 112′, which translates to Tom Gethin’s birth was registered in the first quarter of 1844 in the district of Montgomery, Volume 27, one of the entries on page 112.

So quite often the date of an event, such as birth or death is not necessarily the date it would appear in the register.  For example, a baby born today, 31st March, would not appear in the first quarter register of births because the birth would not be entered into the register until April.  This brings mighty complications especially with deaths, another example, my grand father died at his home in the wee small hours of the morning, my father was present and the Doctor handed him the paperwork to register the death.  My grand fathers house was in one registration district but because Dad came home and went to register the death the next day and turned [literally] left out the drive than right, the death was registered in a neighbouring district.  Things can be further complicated by events, a distant relation’s death was investigated by the County Coroner, a death certificate was not issued until seven months after the event and was recorded in the district of the Coroner’s office and not where he lived.  All this before we add in human error, illiteracy and innumeracy and plain old fashioned lies.  Confused … try it from my end, lol.

So, where were we, yes, Thomas Handford, Ripley Derbyshire.  The relevant registration district for Ripley is Belper, I have looked through the index for each quarter of each year from 1860 through to the end of 1864 …. and no Thomas Handford listed as having their birth registered in the Belper district.  Bugger.

Not sure which tac to try next, I could go through the birth index again, listing each Thomas Handford registered and try and figure which would be the viables, then order the certificates [I only know his Father was named William, from Thomas’s marriage certificate].  I could try looking at other people’s family trees on, listing the relevant first names of brothers and sisters and trying to do census searches ignoring where in the country the entries are.  I’ve considered spelling errors, such as HanSford or HandSford instead of Handford, Tmas, Thom, Tom, Tomas, instead of Thomas, but still nothing on the census records.

I hate complications like these, there is a Thomas William Handford registered 1859 in Ashby De La Zouch, there is also a Thomas William Handford registered 1864 in Derby …. but the question is which one is THE one, when I cannot match corresponding census records.

Cue Toyah Wilcox “Oh its a mystery, its a mystery, I’m still searching for a clue, it’s a mystery to me …. “


Posted by on March 31, 2012 in Uncategorized


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2 responses to “Thomas is missing

  1. Bushka

    March 31, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    🙄 Confusing….:yes: Hope you can make sense of it all…at some point! ;)x


  2. amgroves

    March 31, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    Me too … I have a poster called “Our Family” and it takes two people and you can fill in info for five generations further back, I really want to get it filled out, it i just this little corner that is stuck!



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