Motivation Monday – Filling in the Blanks

black and white blank challenge connect
Photo by Pixabay on

I keep a spreadsheet which helps me see at a glance which records I am missing for my direct ancestors. I’ve found it helpful in motivating me to make sure I have as much documentation of my ancestors as possible – this (hopefully!) ensures that I’m on the right track with the right family.

As I’m concentrating on my Freeman side from South Derbyshire at the moment I’ve decided to try and fill in some of their blank spaces in the spreadsheet, starting with my Great Grandparents, William Frederick Freeman (1878-1951) and Elizabeth Ann Wood (1881-1935). I have the civil registration certificates for them and all the census returns, but I’m missing their baptisms and burials.

Starting with William I searched Ancestry, Find My PastFamily Search and Deceased Online with no luck for either baptism or burial. I know the family were Methodist though, through my Grandparents, so I’m going to check the non-conformist records in Derbyshire Record Office when I visit later this week.

Unfortunately I had similar luck with Elizabeth Wood; no baptism or burial, so I’ll be looking for her burial in the Archives. She was born in Hampshire, so unless she was baptised much later as an adult, she’s unlikely to be found in the Derbyshire records.

I decided to take a step back and look at Elizabeth’s parents; Mark Wood (1855-1901) and Mary Jane Woolford (1859-?).

I was unable to find a baptism for Mark on Ancestry, Find My Past or Family Search. I did find a baptism for a James Wood, parents Thomas and Elizabeth in 1854 in Wilnecote, Warwickshire. He’s likely to be Mark’s older brother, but I’ve been unable to find baptisms for any of his other siblings.  However, I have found a burial record for him on Ancestry in Linton, Derbyshire. He was buried on 3rd July 1901 aged 45. This fits nicely with his death certificate and his address in the 1901 census.

Wood Mark (1855) burial

I had much more luck with Mary Jane Woolford; she was baptised 26th Dec 1858 in Basingstoke, her father being John Woolford which matches her marriage certificate and giving her mother’s name as Mary Ann, which is new information to me.

I also realised I have no civil birth or death certificate for Mary Jane, so I’ve found a likely reference on FreeBMD and ordered a PDF copy of her birth certificate. I’m struggling to find a likely death certificate reference as there are quite a few possibles. I’ve found a possible burial in Staffordshire on Deceased Online, but I think I’ll check the Linton burials in the Archives before I buy any credits.

Finding Mary Jane’s mother’s name has helped me find a marriage reference for her parents more easily. It took a while to narrow down, but I eventually found a marriage between John Woolford and a Mariann Stent in 1852 and I’ve ordered the certificate.


A quick batch number search on Family Search revealed six of Mary Jane’s siblings all baptised in Basingstoke. Now I have them I can check the census returns for John Woolford, Mariann (Mary Ann) and family.

So despite not getting very far to start with, this afternoon’s searching has turned up another generation for me to look at!




© Caroline Cox and Caroline’s Chronicles. 2011 – current year

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.