Sunday, 16 September 2012

An early death?

When a relationship breaks down, harsh words may be spoken and statements made that are not entirely true. Many people suffer in those circumstances; particularly the children. There is another group whose pain is often overlooked—the family historians.

I have been seeking the date of death of a person a few generations back. He was recorded in the 1911 Census so that defines one end of a search window. His widow left the UK in 1925 which sets the other end of the window.

So why was I unable to locate any record of this person's death between 1910 and 1926? The name could have a few variants but they also turned up nothing.

Eventually, I extended the search. Aha, my target had died in the first quarter of 1948 (in the same town as he was living in 1911).

Apparently the entry on the application to migrate concerning marital status was a slight exaggeration.

One can only wonder if the addition of (widow) was made when it was explained that a married woman would need the approval of the husband from whom she had been estranged since (around) 1910.

I can understand, from a 21st century perspective, that this unreasonable imposition might lead to some harmless deception of a faceless bureaucrat. But did no-one think of its impact on me!

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