Follow-Up To Live Exercise: Researching With limited Information
Since writing Meet Your Ancestors, Diane Marelli has gone on to expand on her own research and has traced a branch of her family history as far back as 1565, one of her husband's to 1610 and various other branches on both sides deep into the 1700s.
Where we left off
As you will remember (see page 129), I placed an order for the following:
- Denzil Garbett’s birth certificate
- Certificate of Edgar Garbett’s marriage to Ellen Cousins
- Edgar Garbett’s birth certificate
- Ellen Cousins’s birth certificate
The date is now 10th September and I’ve just phoned the GRO because only the birth certificates arrived as expected on the 26th September. I was pleasantly surprised by the response I received from the GRO. The person I spoke to was understanding, able to trace my order easily and went out of his way to solve the problem there and then. Unfortunately, he couldn’t solve the problem but has put in an urgent request that my order be looked into as it was for a birthday gift. It is worth noting that in all the years I have used the services of the GRO I have never had a problem.
Below is the tree where I had left off without evidence that my research was correct:
Arrival of certificates
Here are the birth certificates for Edgar Garbett, Denzil Edgar Garbett and Ellen Eliza Georgina Cousins.
Garbett family tree
Our tree with the extra information taken from the above birth certificates now looks like this:
Denzil’s birth certificate confirmed that Edgar Garbett and Ellen Cousins were his parents. Edgar’s birth certificate gave me the names of Denzil’s grandparents and Lisa’s great grandparents William Gabriel Garbett and Dinah Clarke; late Burnett told me that this was Dinah’s second marriage. Ellen’s birth certificate gave me the names of her parents, William Cousins and Alice Bonfield, confirming my early unconfirmed research.
While waiting for the marriage certificate for Ellen Cousins and Edgar Garbett, I decided to order the marriage certificate for William Gabriel Garbett to Dinah Burnett, née Clarke, to even out the above branches. I found it in the December quarter of 1899.
With this additional information I went straight back to verify my Census data. My findings are correct, even without the marriage certificate that is yet to arrive.
The missing marriage certificate
The certificate arrived two days after my call, as promised. The certificate confirms the early information taken from the birth certificates – so I definitely have the right marriage for Edgar and Ellen. Looking at the witnesses I see there is an Edith Ellen Cousins, which I presume could be a sibling because of her second name Ellen.
The final result
A further search of the Census provided me with the name of Ellen’s mother, Harriet. I also carried out a search for Dinah Clarke’s mother, Mary. Within a short period of time I had achieved the following results, completing much of the detail in the family tree.
I followed the same process for Lisa’s maternal ancestry and feel duty-bound to report that I did find an error in my unqualified research taking one branch of her history into completely the wrong direction. However, the certificates put me back on track and with the help of the Census she is now the proud owner of her own family history including sources to verify her ancestry.
The moral of this story is:
- If patient, wait for evidence before moving on another generation
- If impatient, go for it but be prepared for error
Personally, I always go for the latter.