Whilst I was putting together the spreadsheet, I realised I hadn’t followed up a problem I had with my great-great grandmother, Louisa Baker.
From her marriage certificate to Charles Bateman, I knew her father’s name was Joseph, but it was difficult to ascertain if their surname was Baker or Barker, so I’d previously searched the census for both options.
According to the later Census returns after her marriage (1881, 1891 & 1901), Louisa had been born in Staffordshire, and some time ago I had found a likely sounding family in Rowley Regis in the census of 1861 & 1871. The head of the household was Joseph Baker, wife Louisa Baker & with a daughter Louisa of the correct age. So I pencilled this in as an ‘almost definitely’ correct record.
I have my tree entered at the Genes Connected site and sometime later I received a message from someone who thought we may have a family connection. After comparing notes, I realised that the family in Rowley Regis weren’t my ancestors at all. I rechecked on Ancestry but couldn’t find another family in 1861 or 1871 that would fit with my information, so this side of the family got put on one side for a quite a while.
After having my memory jogged the other week, I thought I’d revisit this by finding her birth reference on Free BMD and ordering Louisa’s birth certificate, which arrived last week.
It confirmed that the family surname is definitely Baker. I think I’d got it into my head that Louisa’s mother’s name was also Louisa – probably due to the first likely family I found in the census – and that’s why I’d been unable to find the correct family.
I now know Louisa’s mother was Sarah Simlett & I’ve also found possible census returns for the family in 1861 & 1871. Now I just have to wait for some free Ancestry access so I can check & download the original document. I can also look for a marriage certificate for Joseph and Sarah, which will hopefully take this family back another generation.
So even if you think you’ve hit a brick wall, it’s worth going back to recheck on occasion, as a fresh look at a problem can sometimes help.
Making sure you have seen as much of the documentation for each family as you can also helps ensure you are researching the right people and not wasting time and money climbing the wrong tree.
© Caroline Cox and Caroline’s Chronicles. 2011 – current year