- Use of ARMY
officer records helped Australian descendants of a British army officer.
Research showed that the man had indeed existed but had drowned in Aden(Yemen)
in 1854. Further research indicated that the subject had not purchased
his commission but had been granted one as a result of memorials written
by his father who was secretary to the then Lt. Governor of Jersey.
The 40 pages of memorials also happened to indicate that there was a
brother who was an officer and that the father, born in 1770, had earlier
been a common soldier who had risen through the ranks to become an officer,
too. The subject's burial certificate was obtained from the Oriental
& India Office Library. This was an exceptional find but the theme
is not an uncommon one.
- Descendants of
a deceased ROYAL NAVY seaman found a navy administration which
the deceased's mother had applied for. This named several ships he had
served on. By researching the ships' musters the subject's age and birthplace
were found and his detailed career was also reconstructed. He had been
a midshipman for a time but ended his days as a clerk. He died in Havana,
Cuba in 1819 as confirmed in the ship's log and musters.
- A Rochdale rioter
of 1829 was charged and found guilty of a crime and transported as a
CONVICT to Australia. His descendants sought details of his Assize
case but these had not survived. However, 24 pages of his own petitions
and those of others were eventually found which named his wife, father,
mother and brother. Many convicts are mentioned SHIPS' SURGEONS REPORTS
which also often describe such voyages in great detail.
- The grandmother
of a Canadian family had little recollection of her early life until
she saw the film 'Trader' which triggered memories of travelling as
a child in Africa and meeting tribesmen. All she knew was she and her
brother had been born in Gibraltar. Using army registers the births
were located in 1838 and 1840. The details provided the father's regiment.
Surviving ARMY discharge documents confirmed the father's birthplace
and age and provided a platform to further research the origins of the
family. The memories were of several years spent in the Cape.
- The same family
in Canada were also descended from an EXCISE officer who entered
service in 1828. Entry papers provided excellent family details giving
age, status and birthplace and even named the subject's father as another
- An Australian family's
grandfather was a British onetime former failed sausage factory owner
turned night club manager in Chefoo, China, who married a Russian dancer
there in the 1920s. Research showed that the subject was previously
a ROYAL NAVY seaman who was allowed to leave the service
at Shanghai at the end of his term of engagement in 1922. The certificate
of service gave his age, birth date and birthplace which enabled a civil
birth certificate to be ordered whilst non statutory returns of British
Consuls in China yielded his marriage certificate and the names of the
couple's respective parents.
- A Swedish housewife-amateur
historian discovered that two men from her village had been mariners.
She decided to write about their sea-faring lives for a book. Searches
of PRISONER OF WAR records showed that they had been taken by
a British warship in 1807. Investigation of the HIGH COURT OF ADMIRALTY
records showed that their ship was taken as a prize and sold in London.
Both men were later released.
- Family stories
that a London family were descended from a policeman in the early 1900s
were proved correct when a search of attestations of the METROPOLITAN
POLICE yielded all the facts.
- A US family knew
that their great great grandfather was a seaman who saw service in the
Crimea where he was believed to have died. Searches of MERCHANT SEAMENS'
records located not only the man but also several vessels he had
served on with details of the voyages including one to the Crimea. The
subject did, indeed, die on the voyage but by drowning off Cardiff,
not in action in the Crimea.