Friday, 13 May 2016

Chasing Alice

I love researching my family and have spent hours, if not days trying to sort out my husbands family tree. His grandmother was Alice LEWIS and she married a Harry Samuel GEAR and although I could trace the GEAR side back I had no luck with Alice.
I thought maybe the record office in Reading, a two hour journey away, would be the answer. Having never visited this record office the machines, fiches, films, transcripts etc. were difficult to get my head around but eventually having tried everything I know the conclusion was I needed to buy the marriage certificate, £10 if I sent for it or £19 to get one on the day.
I decided it would be worth the £19 and went to the Registry office to buy the certificate. The Registrar was extremely nice and asked if I was looking for Alice's father? if I was, I was in for a disappointment it was not mentioned on the certificate so I could save my money.
Had I tried the 1939 census? no I didn't realise it was able to be seen, we have a 100 year rule in England regarding census and the latest is the 1911.

Dubbed ‘The Wartime Domesday Book’, The 1939 Register is the most comprehensive survey of the population of England and Wales ever taken. In September 1939, the Second World War had just broken out. 65,000 enumerators were employed to visit every house in England and Wales to take stock of the civil population. The information that they recorded was used to issue Identity Cards, plan mass evacuations, establish rationing and coordinate other war-time provisions. In the longer term, the 1939 Register would go on to play a central role in the establishment of post-war services like the NHS.
The 1939 Register is particularly significant as the only surviving record of the population between 1921 and 1951. It bridges a 30-year gap in history as the 1931 census was destroyed during the war and the 1941 census was never taken. Each record includes the names of inhabitants at each address, their date of birth, marital status and occupation.
 Back at the record office there on the 1939 census was Alice with her date of birth  which proved to be the key to me finding out about her.
1881 - 1911 census
Age 3yrs she was a visitor to a Hannah Lewis
Age 13yrs  she was named as niece of Hannah Lewis
Age 33yrs she was listed as adopted daughter of Hannah Lewis

My husbands gt gt grandfather was adopted, now we have his grandmother adopted and our son is adopted... its a strange old world !


After all this excitement we went for lunch at a Beefeater which was very nice, and called to see his parents grave as we passed close by.

Hard to believe it is 16 years since my Mother in law died.



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