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Advice for new applicant do’s and dont’s

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We have prepared this narrative script that reflects some of the things we will encounter along the way. Unfortunately, many of our readers sometimes wear rose-coloured glasses. I think we just click a few buttons here and there on our computer screen, turn to Facebook or something similar, and voila, that person is found. That account relates to a customer request that we were able to fulfil.


Names redacted. Hi Dave. Regarding your request to find a brother and/or sister in adulthood. These are all lists of Derek’s births in the UK from 1942-46. Janet from 1945 to the end of 1948. The reason I have listed them all is to be able to link the same mother to ensure we have the ones we are targeting.

Having both parents’ names and mum’s maiden name ensures that we are looking for the right people in adulthood. Many people think they are doing good by quoting the place where one of them worked back in the 1970s, but unfortunately for us this information is actually quite useless.

It is important to note that it lists the mother’s girlfriend, and of course two mothers with the same surname are 99% equal, we have the correct one. Especially if the births occurred in the same parish book.

Looking through the lists, we can’t find a common maiden name for Janet and Derek’s mother. This is actually quite a serious setback. It affects our ability to further establish that we have the right marriage, as once again the mothers maiden names apply. The question as always is, do we have the right one?

However, there are other issues we need to consider. At the end of World War II, some births took place on military bases. This muddies the waters as it usually has nothing to do with where they grew up or what schools they attended. These places create a high probability of a military environment. Such as Aldershot and Colchester (army). In the case of the Navy it was usually Portsmouth. Waddington and various other parts of Lincolnshire where there were many Royal Air Force bomber command posts. Just to muddy the waters further, in 1944-46 some births and registrations took place overseas, many of which were German brides. These are all potential situations that we need to be aware of in order to find our special lost friend.

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From what I’ve seen so far, it’s hard to decide which one is your Janet. I could easily focus on our Janet in 2 seconds if I had Christian names for mum and dad. I only have AJ Lacey, which doesn’t help at all. In this situation, we usually find a list of siblings from which we can then match Mum’s maiden name to Derek and Janet. This would be a two-minute job. Are you sure it was, for example, Derek and not Dennis?

However, we often have to work without any birth information and look for information further down the line. This is where we really had a breakthrough!!! Marriage record for Janet xxxx Hereford, 1968. Of course, this is far from conclusive, as your Janet may have left Hereford by then. But I have a good feeling about it. Hereford, by the way, was once a large army barracks.

Perhaps the best way to find the missing information is to look at the voter rolls in these two counties, and hopefully we can establish the full names of the parents, Derek and Janet. Then we’ll have a strong possibility of completing the search. But. if we go down that road, it will require some additional expense. These days, some local libraries keep archived voter lists, and instead of me visiting in person, they will find what I need, photocopy it, and send it to me for a fee. Some libraries no longer keep voter list archives, and I was referred to the county clerk’s office where they sometimes keep them. But here we can deal with two local libraries.

So, what I usually do if my local library can’t send photocopies (in fact some libraries don’t even answer the phone… Covid and all that) is visit the British Library on Euston Road. They keep all the electoral rolls for 200 years. You make an appointment and all the registers are ready and waiting. If we have to go down this route it will cost an extra £125. Train fare or congestion charge and a day out of the office.

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