20 August 2010

Great Resource: National Probate Calendar for England & Wales

There have been lots of announcements lately about the debut of the England & Wales, National Probate Calendar database at ancestry.com.  I finally got a chance to play around in it and found some of my CARRs and CAUSIERs.

Grice Ethell Carr 
He is one of my great-grandfather John Carr's brothers.  I don't have problems in that generation or the previous one, so I haven't done too much work on Grice Ethell.  Given his unusual name, he is easier to spot when looking for CARRs in general, and I have written about him before.  

This find [1] gives me a specific address and a death date.  The surprise (or problem?) is his wife's name being 'Sarah,' when I was expecting Emily J.  Since I have no other record of him after 1901, Emily could have died and he could have remarried.  I should spend at least a little time and see if I can fill in the new gaps and see if I can resolve the wife issue.  I don't feel a real need to pursue the original records that go with this index entry, but at least I now know where and how to find them!

The address given, however, intrigued me.  I have a terrible time keeping track of the geography and levels of goverance in England.  This one, especially with no punctuation, completely threw me.  So, I posted a question in the Yorkshire section at RootsChat (also see previous post about this great resource).  Almost immediately, I received several responses, telling me that the street address is 12 Brandon Terrace.  'Slade Hill' is an area within the Moortown district of Leeds.  I also was told that it's a very nice area of town and that 'Slade Hill' has an alternate spelling of 'Slaid Hill.'  I love RootsChat!

William Cornelius Causier
Yes, this record [2] only says 'William Causier,' but with the info given, he is the one in my files as William Cornelius Causier, the son of my great-great-great-grandfather William Causier and his first wife, Letitia Willis.  My line is through William's second wife, Ann Tolley, so this is a very collateral record for me.

His occupation at that time is new to me.  I sent off another question to the Worcestershire section of RootsChat asking about 'Hill End' and the relationship to Droitwich and Dodderhill.  I've seen it many, many times in parish records for the Causiers.  Again, I received replies clarifying the lay of the land and including a new website to checkout:  the Dodderhill Parish Survey Project.  There's enough info there to keep me busy for ages!  Their growing site includes history, maps, and records.  Thanks, yet again, to the great folks at RootsChat!

The WRONG William Carr!
My William Carr is my great-great-grandfather and I only have death information from another family researcher.  Granted he's an absolutely expert researcher, but it would be nice to find more info anyway.  As you should assume, the search at the database turned out oodles and oodles of William Carr's who died in 1916.  But I was excited when one of those high in the list was a William Herbert Carr who died in 1916 from Scarborough, Yorkshire, which is very close to where I would expect to find William, and 'Herbert' is a family name.  But, look at what I got when I went to the image [3]:

Regretably, I have no known relationship to this brave soldier.  I am, however, certain that my 76-year-old great-great-grandfather was NOT off in France in WWI.  This non-find reminds me that no matter how an index entry may appear to match, don't get too excited! 
Yet again, I found myself playing around, finding absolutely interesting stuff on collateral lines and strangers.  Do I need to draw a harder line on how I spend my research time?!

The entry on William Carr was a good reminder that I must never assume that an index entry is the person I'm researching, not even when the dates seem to match.  And, it's real folly with common surnames.

Genealogy people, and especially those at RootsChat, are the nicest and most helpful people!  I should spend more time in RootsChat searching the info already there and I should see if there are any queries where I can be a help and not just a problem.

[1]  England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1861-1941.  [Database at ancestry.com]  Image from 1928, p. 526.

[2]  England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1861-1941.  [Database at ancestry.com]  Image from 1870, p. 333.

[3] England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1861-1941.  [Database at ancestry.com]  Image from 1917, p. 454

I am a paid subscriber to ancestry.com but I receive no other special consideration from them in any way.  I am registered at RootsChat [that's free!] and receive nothing but good responses from them.

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