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Sunday, 5 June 2011

Kent Strays- Maude, nee Stephens, Broad, Hugh David Adams. Free Marriage Witness Index. United Kingdom and Ireland Records. The Workhouse.

Kent Strays.

Strays can be an important source of information. The Internet has various records such as censuses and church registers making it easier to find people who moved away from their place of birth. However, there are still many records and sources, such as newspapers, not available on the Internet, were there can be found information about people who left their home and moved elsewhere. Strays could lead you to finding out what happened to some of your family who 'disappeared'.

Though it has become less common some people who come across such information  still send strays to Family History Societies.  Recently we were sent an envelope full of newspaper clippings which contained details of people who had passed away in Canada and America but were for the most part born in the late 19th century in the North West Kent area. Hopefully they will appear in future editions of the Society Journal.

A couple of examples are as follows:

Maude (Stephens) Broad died at Victoria Manor, Lindsay Ont.. July 7, 1991 at the age of 90 Wife of the late Gordon Broad...(List of family members)... Maude was born at Woolwich, East Plumstead, County of London, England the daughter of Samuel and Mary Ann Stephens.

Adams-Hugh David passed away...on January 11 1992 at Victoria (BC). Born on March 4 1889 in Beckenham, Kent...emigrated to Saskatchewan in 1912...1914 returned to England to enlist but rejected due to colour blindness...Returned to Canada and May 1916 enlisted in the city of Regina 195th Battalion...served as a stretcher bearer in France...

As a matter of interest the 1901 census shows Hugh living with his parents in Croydon, Surrey:

Charles Adams Head 52 1849 Male Islington London England
Emily F Adams Wife 46 Female Twickenham Middlesex England
Alfred C Adams Son 16 Male Beckenham Kent England
Winifred E Adams Daughter 1887 Female Beckenham Kent England
Hugh D Adams Son 12 Male Beckenham Kent England

Marriage Witness Index and UK and Ireland Records

Ted Wildy's Marriage Witness Index (MWI) was started many years ago and was a pioneering concept. It was also an inspired idea to index the witnesses to marriages and make the information free to access. Many people contributed to the index. After the death of Ted Wildy in 1997 the MWI was not so easily available. At one time it seemed as though it might end up lost to all.

However the UK MWI with some 30,000 entries with the names of the Witnesses, Bridge and Groom and date and place of marriage can be found at British MWI It can be searched by Surname.

Hosted on Rootsweb and free to use is  United Kingdom and Ireland Records  where you can search by Surname, First Name Year and County some 265,347 records ( about 4,7162 distinct surnames). There are various records, many are of marriages and give the name of the Bride, Groom, Date, where married. Entries are added to by contributors. Dates range from the late 1500's to the 20th Century. 


If  any of your ancestors or families were unfortunate enough have fallen upon hard times and had to enter the workhouse and you have not found this site before then it will give you an amazing amount of information. Not just for the Victorian period but before 1837 and after 1901.

The site has been on the web for about 10 years but not everyone, especially those new to family history know of it. In the Kent section it shows how people entered and the rules they had to live by. The routine and  details of food that was provided. What work they had to carry out and what medical care was available. The site does not confine itself to Workhouses in Kent but has sections for other counties and on the Poor Law Unions of Wales, Ireland and Scotland. There is a map of all the Unions and much more.The Workhouse 

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