Some days, you are completely surprised by what you find. In the Case of Hannah Bell, I conjectured that she was widowed sometime between February 1852, when her son Peter was born, and December 1855, when she married Charles Mayholland. I saw that Hannah Maholland died in 1856 and figured she died within the year. So, to confirm my speculation, I ordered a copy of the death registry record.
The death record indicates my speculation was wrong. Hannah Maholland, who died in 1856, died at 14 days old. My first thought was that Maholland and Mayholland must have been different people. I don’t think so. Little Hannah died at High Church Street, the same location that Hannah had lived for many years. The death registry record for Hannah MaHolland reads:
When: 25 May 1856 – High Church Street, Workington
Who: Hannah Maholland
Age: 14 days
Prof.: Daughter of Charles Maholland, a lawyer journeyman
CoD: Premature Birth Certified
Inf.: Ann Solkirt
When: 27 May 1856
Reg. John Askew, Registrar
Even though there is a minor name difference (Maholland vs. Mayholland), I’m pretty sure that this Charles Maholland is the husband of Hannah (Bell) McAllister. My new theory is that Hannah had a daughter that died at 14 days old and that Hannah (the mother) did not die in the spring of 1856 as I initially supposed.
This research reminded me that relying on indexes can get you into trouble. Always get the original record to confirm the information you have.
It is always great when you can get a copy of an original record rather than relying upon an index. Thanks to the General Register Office, I was able to receive PDF copies of the actual registries for the Birth and the Death of my wife’s 2nd great-grandfather, Peter McAllister. He was a double emigrant – the only one I’ve found in any of my genealogical research. That is to say, he left his native country of England for the United States. He lived in the States for thirty-five years and became a citizen of the United States. Then he emigrated from the US to England, where he lived the last 20 years of his life.
Anyway, thanks to the General Register Office’s birth records, I learned Peter was born at home, on High Church Street in Workington. The record confirmed the names of his parents and confirmed the occupation of his father, a Mariner.
The death register entry provided an exact date for Peter’s death. I had long known he died during the 1st quarter of 1941, however, the Registry nailed the date of his death to 16 January 1941 and provided a cause of death. He died at 4 Lismore Place, Workington, which I suspect is where he lived at the time. Today that address is a small 2-story flat on a narrow street, just two doors down for what is now a Fish & Chips Take-Away.
If you have ancestors that were born, married, or died in England since 1837 you may find a record there at the General Register Office. https://www.gro.gov.uk/
It is always a good day when you receive an envelope with new information. A few weeks ago, I ordered a copy of a marriage register entry for my wife’s third-great-grandparents on her Darling-McAllister line. I had found them in the GRO (General Register Office) index, which indicated her third-greats were married in October, November, or December in 1845. I was pretty sure that the registry entry would provide an exact date and might provide other bits of information. And sure enough, it did. Although many other records are available electronically, the marriage records from the 1840s are still “they’ll send you a copy via mail.”
After a number of weeks, the registry entry arrived, and I learned that Joseph McAllister and Hannah Bell were married on the “Eighth of November 1845.” There were married in the Register’s Office with William Scott and Arin Bell as witnesses. I’ll bet Arin Bell was probably related to Hannah. The registry entry shows Joseph was a “Mariner” (I knew he was a sailor before). But most interesting I learned that Joseph’s father was Peter McAlister, a miller, and Hannah’s father was Jonathan Bell, also a mariner.
The registry document provided the exact date for the marriage of her 3rd-great-grandparents and the names for two of my wife’s 4th-great grandparents, Peter McAllister and Johnathan Bell. Definitely a good day (And clues for further research.)