Information and guidance

We are finding an old friend. Here is an overview of one of our cases. This particular account story relates to a client request that we managed to fulfil, despite it being somewhat challenging, shall we say.

We have attempted, in this description scenario, to mirror some of the things which we often encounter along the way. Things which with respect you probably never considered.

Understandable and also, unfortunately, many of our inquirers often tend to be wearing rose-tinted spectacles. Thinking, ah….. we just simply click on a few buttons here and there on the PC screen. Then, refer to Facebook or similar and “voilà” that person is found in the blink of an eye.

So here is a virtual transcript of events in this particular case. 

Note: To protect people’s privacy, actual names are redacted

Hi Dave. Regarding your request to find a brother and/or sister in adulthood. These are the entire UK birth listings for people named Derek, XXXX 1942-46 and Janet XXXX from 1945 to the end of 1948. The reason I have listed them all is to be able to link up with the same mother to ensure we have the exact ones we are targeting,

It’s vital to have the pre-marriage names of both parents.

Mum’s maiden name, ensures we are looking at the right person/s in adulthood. Many people think they are being helpful by quoting a place where one of them worked back in the 1970s, but unfortunately to us, that info is quite useless. Why? (1) Even if we found where they worked 50 years ago, the chances of them still working there are virtually zero. After all, they would be today age 70 plus. (2)  Under data protection rules, they could not divulge any information, even if they had any. 

Crucially if it lists the mother’s maiden name then, of course, two mothers of the same surname are 99% equal we have the right one. Especially if the births occurred in the same parish register. When looking through the listings, we cannot find a mutual mother’s maiden name between Janet and Derek. This is quite a heavy setback. It affects our ability down the line to establish, we have the marriage to the right one. As again, Mothers’ maiden names are applied. The question as always-do we have the right one?

Having said that, there are other issues we have to consider.

Around the end of WW2, some births took place on military bases. This muddies the waters, as it usually bears no relation to where they may have been brought up or which schools they attended. The following locations set the strong possibility of a military environment.  Such as: Aldershot, and Colchester (Army). In the case of the Navy, usually, it is Portsmouth.  RAF. Waddington, and various other parts of Lincolnshire, where many RAF bomber command locations were sited,

Just to muddy the waters even further, in 1944-46

some births and registrations occurred abroad, many being German brides. All of these are potential situations we have to be aware of, to be able to find our special lost friend. Luckily, we can find these overseas
British forces birth listings but, it’s very time-consuming. Also, if you employ a people searcher who is not aware of this possible scenario, they might simply declare to you: sorry, we can’t find him/her.

From what I have seen thus far, it’s tough to make a decision on which one is your Janet. I could easily focus on our Janet in two seconds if I had the Christian names of Mum and Dad. As it is, I only have A.J. xxx which does not help at all. Where we have a situation like this, we typically find a sibling listing, from which we can then match Mum’s maiden name to both Derek and Janet. This would be a 2-minute job. Are you sure it was
Derek and not Dennis, for example? This simple error can destroy the case.

It depends entirely on the gumption and initiative of the person who is conducting your search. Also, dare I say how much you are paying them? If fees are: ‘shall we say modest’, then they cannot spend hours on end on the case. 

However, we do often find ourselves having to work without any birth information and pick things up further down the line. Here we did have a bit of a breakthrough!! A marriage listing for a Janet xxxx Hereford, 1968. Of course, it’s far from conclusive as your Janet, but I have a good feeling about it. Especially as Hereford was once a major army barracks and today hosts the SAS.

What might be the best way to find the missing information

Is to peruse the electoral registers in those two districts and hopefully, we can establish parents, Derek, and Janet’s full names. We would then be in a strong position to conclude the search. But….if we go down that route, there would be some additional costs involved. These days some local libraries retain archive electoral rolls and instead of me having to make a personal visit they will find what I need, make a photocopy and send it on to me for a fee. However, I should say that some local libraries no longer retain archived electoral rolls. This being the case, I would be directed to the county hall, where they are sometimes kept. But here we may be dealing with two local libraries.

So, what I usually do if the local library cannot send photocopies (some libraries do not even answer the phone, is to visit the British Library off Euston Road. They hold all electoral registers going back 200 years. You make an appointment and they have all
registers ready and waiting. If we have to go down that route, the cost would be
an extra £125.00. Train fares, or congestion charges, and a day out of the
office.
Anyway, that’s the end of round one, Michael. I will have another go at it soon.

By the way!! This is not the usual pre-viability service. Our competitors give you 2–3 lines such as: Yes think it’s viable, or now isn’t.

Cheers

John