Sunday, March 2, 2014

Putting into Practice what I learned on the 4th Unlock The Past Cruise...

What did I learn on the 4th Unlock the Past Cruise?

It was probably just as well that internet connection on the ship Voyager of the Seas was non- existent in our suites, since at the end of each day I am certain every conference attendee would have been sitting at laptops, smart phones and tablets, late into the night, putting into practice the wealth of information taken away from the many and varied talks on board. In a series of blogs I hope to demonstrate how the knowledge I brought home from the cruise conference has been purposefully applied to my own research.

I have only just today, had an opportunity to take out my copious conference notes which filled three A4 notebooks.  Reading back through the information, I have had great difficulty in choosing a place to begin.  Jill Ball's talk on Evernote inspired me to get my family history in order; Kirsty Gray's talks on the  One Place Studies organisation (of which I am now a member) was of great interest to me as I already have two one place studies underway; Lieutenant Colonel Neil Smith's knowledgeable talks on Military research energised me to learn more about my own military ancestors; Chris Paton's entertaining talks which explained Scottish marriages and inheritance has galvanised my appetite for finding more about my Scottish ancestors; Kerry Farmer's fascinating talk on DNA for genealogists sent me home with a new determination to contact my most relevant DNA matches through FamilyTree DNA; Pauleen Cass's inceptive descant on FANS (friends and neighbours used as resources) has given me wonderful ideas for future research resources; Thomas MacEntee's brilliant information about technological applications for genealogy left me with a compulsion to add more social media and technology  tools to my ever growing list of genealogy playthings; Helen Smith's illuminating talk on Medical Health has made me more determined than ever to write up a 'cause of death' chart... There were so many more speakers whom I will mention in later posts and so many new things I learned from the many informative talks on board the Voyager of the Seas. As well, I was reminded of research resources I may have more previously found but inadvertently  overlooked. But where to begin.....

A talk underway in the conference centre

Whilst contemplating  my remarkable and overwhelming amount of cruise conference information, I opened up my Ancestry Tree on my laptop for inspiration. As I perused my forebears, all perched comfortably on the branches of my online tree, with some still hiding among the foliage of the past,  as is wont to happen, all thoughts and intentions of blogging flew out of the window as I became distracted by ancestral things. From there my journey took its own direction...

Prior to the 4th Unlock the Past Cruise in February of this year, I had added to my family tree, a three times great uncle named Joseph Turner who was born in Ipswich Suffolk, in 1820. I knew only the first names of his two wives from census records. Despite admirable intentions...a blog to write...Joseph's two wives coaxed me from my purpose, urging me to find them... and as is so often the case with family historians, I  forgot all else! Then suddenly, whilst absorbed in searching and not easily finding Joseph's marriages on, Rosemary Kopittke's talk on The Genealogist  came to mind. I was reminded of Rosemary's comprehensive discussion regarding the benefits of this website, with aids such as first name only searches, a search by occupation or address facility, and extras such as links to click on which might show a map reference for an address, or explain an occupation one has never heard of.

Although I have had in the past, a subscription to The Genealogist, I have, in recent times tended to conduct my English research through sites such as FindMyPast, Ancestry, FamilySearch (a free search), and Origins.  I realised, during Rosemary's talk on the cruise, that I had overlooked some useful applications with regard to The Genealogist website. So, now, Joseph Turner's two wives offered me the perfect opportunity to put into practice and explore Rosemary's very enticing description of  how to access the most out of this website. I was also reminded of the benefits of searching far and wide rather than falling into the habit of relying on one or a few favourite genealogy sites such as  for research.

*The successful outcome of this search, impressed upon me the advantages of The Genealogist as a family history research site and of the age old saying 'never put your eggs (or search for your ancestors) in one basket'! Of course, not everything is online and certificates need to be ordered to authenticate findings. With this in mind,  I set out to compare The Genealogist with sites I more commonly make use of.

Look for every possible source of information...

The first thing which I found interesting and a reminder to check multiple sources to verify information, was the confusing fact that Ancestry and The Genealogist had transcribed different parishes for Joseph's address in the 1851 census. The address I found on Ancestry was St Mary's of the Quay, Ipswich, Suffolk. The address provided in my search on The Genealogist, was Terrace Lane, St Mary's of the Elms. These are completely different parishes in Ipswich, Suffolk and obviously a transcription error on the part of one site. The Genealogist did have the added advantage of giving me the street name whereas on I had to decipher this myself from the original census image and with the writing being almost illegible, this proved impossible. Adding insult to injury, I now had two different parishes as well as two different wives for Joseph!

Searching the address on FindmyPast  confused the issue even more as I found the address transcribed as Tunnel Lane, St Mary Key. A further search for Joseph Turner on the British Origins website also listed his address as Tunnel Lane St Mary Key. Familysearch listed the address as St Mary Key, St Clement, Ipswich. From my own examination of the original image despite the hard to decipher old handwriting, I could clearly read St Mary Key. According to Geograph  both the name Key and Quay have been commonly interchanged for this medieval church which is situated next to Ipswich's quayside. Google map searches to find old maps and street names close to both St mary's parishes, suggested to me that Joseph Turner in fact lived in neither Terrace nor Tunnel Lane but rather lived in Turret Lane, which is situated very close to the Church of St Mary's of the Quay, however that is a puzzle for another day.....It is Joseph's wives I am searching for!  Another reminder though, of the importance of searching in more than one place.

St Mary's of the Quay © Copyright Adrian S Pye and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

From the 1851 UK census which I had accessed on I knew that Joseph Turner's first wife was named Sarah. By the 1861 census his wife's name was Rosanner. In the 1871 census transcription on Ancestry, the second wife's name was shown as Rosina and in 1881, just to confuse matters even more, she appeared as Rosena. I set out to find out more about Joseph's first wife Sarah. By 1851, Joseph and Sarah Turner had two children - Sarah Turner born in 1849 and Eliza Munnings, born in 1845 and both according to the 1851 census, born in Ipswich, Suffolk. From Eliza's surname of Munnings I proposed that this may have been Sarah's maiden name. 

Joseph Turner on my Ancestry tree

I commenced my search on Ancestry for the marriage of Joseph Turner, his birth year, between the years 1844 and 1849  (covering  the childrens' birth years) in Suffolk. The eldest child, Eliza, having the surname of Munnings indicated that she was Sarah's daughter from before her marriage to Joseph, although she was stated to be Joseph's daughter on the census record. Finding no marriage to a Sarah,  I narrowed the search to the years between 1846 and 1849. Joseph Turner, it seems is a very common name in Suffolk. After scrolling though several pages of possible marriages, I finally found the only likely marriage, in the October to December quarter of 1847, in Ipswich, Suffolk, to a Sarah Manning.

When I searched The Genealogist website for a marriage for Joseph Turner using the same information, his name, date of birth,  and place Ipswich, Suffolk, between the years 1844 and 1849, I found a likely marriage immediately and rather than having to search several pages of results, it was the second entry on the first page of hits. This time the surname was transcribed as Munning.

A quick search found the marriage to Sarah Munning in 1848

Clicking on this result showed me that Joseph Turner married Sarah Munning in the October to December quarter of 1847. I discovered by an additional search on FamilySearch, that Joseph Turner and Sarah Munning were married on October 10, 1847 at St Matthew's, Ipswich, Suffolk. Saint Matthew, Ipswich, Suffolk was the same parish in which Joseph's parents were married which further suggested that I had found Joseph's first wife. This result recorded the surname as both Munning and Manning. Now feeling that I had a surname for Sarah I found the marriage on FindmyPast and more easily on  My search had been surprisingly easy using The Genealogist and I was impressed to say the least! The Genealogist also provided me with a link search for potential children of this marriage. Of course I will be ordering a copy of the marriage certificate to verify that this is my Joseph Turner, but my hunch tells me my Joseph's wife was Sarah Munning.

St Matthews Ipswich © Copyright Geoff Picks Creative Commons 

My search for Joseph's second wife was slightly more complicated, since Ancestry's transcriptions of census records gave her name as Rosanner in 1861, Rosina in 1871 and Rosena in 1881 and her death in 1883 gave her name as Rosina. Out of interest, I compared searches for the marriages on Ancestry and The Genealogist. On Ancestry I had two methods of searching. Firstly, I had the advantage of being able to search records for Joseph directly from my tree (by clicking 'search records' at the top of the page) or alternatively, I could to go into the UK records and then into the England and Wales FreeBDM marriage index to enter my information: Joseph Turner, born 1820, County Suffolk, and look for the second marriage between the years 1851 and 1861. On the first page of hits and the fifth entry down I found a marriage for Joseph Turner in Ipswich, Suffolk, April to June in 1855 to a Rosa Cleveland. 

Using The Genealogist website was slightly easier with a drop down menu to filter my search for marriages on the initial search page. So, no going into UK records, then finding marriage records before entering information. I found the same marriage (which was the only one with a female name anything like Rosina, Rosena or Rosanner) on the first page of results and as with Ancestry it was the fifth entry.

The marriage of Joseph Turner to Rosa Cleveland in 1855  using The Genealogist

Searching for Rosa Cleveland's birth and whereabouts on earlier census records on Ancestry, I discovered a Rossie Cleveland aged 8 years living in Ipswich, Suffolk in the 1841 census but with no parents present.  On examining the original census record I could clearly read that the name was Rosina and had been incorrectly transcribed. No birth or Christening record showed up. The same search on The Genealogist for Rosa Cleveland showed no result at all, however, after changing the name to Rosina, I found the 1841 census record which showed her sister Julia aged 3 years to be living with her. This hit also gave me the address of Chapel Yard in the parish of St Nicholas, with a clickable link, which I found to be a most useful added benefit on this site. I found Julia Cleveland in 1851 living in an Almshouse in Foundation Street, Ipswich, Suffolk, aged 14 years, her occupation a milliner, and living with her grandmother Mary Croft aged 72 years. Foundation Street is also in the parish of St mary's of the Quay, further supporting my earlier assumption.  Added research to me that Foundation Street is named for Tooley's and Smart's Almshouses. 'Henry Tooley, Portman of Ipswich by his will dated Nov 15 1550, left several estates for the purpose of erecting Alms houses ... for the main finance of poor persons therin.'  (Words from  a Plaque in Foundation Street.).  Sadly, it appears that Rosina and Julia Cleveland were orphaned at a young age. Before I become too attached to Rosa, I must apply for the marriage certificate which will verify that this is my own Joseph Turner, by the names of his parents.

There is much more to discover about Joseph Turner and his two wives, including their backgrounds, families and the children of both marriages. Rosemary Koppitke's talk on using The Genealogist as a source of UK records has pointed out to me some quite unique and worthwhile features for research on The Genealogist website and I will certainly not be overlooking it in my future UK research.

 I have also been reminded since the cruise, to organise my sources (thankyou to Jill Ball and Thomas MacEntee for their excellent suggestions with regard to doing this in their respective talks).  In this way, when I am researching, I will not overlook or forget about any resources that I have used in the past.

It is worthwhile searching more than one site to check for transcription errors


  1. Wow Sharn, you have been busy! Your step by step account makes for very interesting reading. I missed the talk about The Genealogist but will keep that website in mind for future investigations of my own.

  2. What a great example you've set us all by applying your learning! It's all too easy to get swept up in day-to-day life and lose hold of all that wonderful information. A perfect example too of using multiple sources in an analytical way to identify which is correct. Look forward to hearing the outcome from the certificates.

  3. Looks like I need to get a sub to The Genealogist or visit a Society that has one.

    Thanks for documenting your research process so thoroughly, Sharn. You are one persistent and careful researcher - a model for us all to follow.

  4. Unfortunately The Genealogist doesn't have the parish records for my guys in Dudley area - Worcestershire & Warwickshire. Not yet, at least.

    Still, this is an excellent reminder of checking several sources of online documents! My Christmas list for my (adult) kids is getting longer and longer... :)