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Naming patterns can also be helpful, but beware of getting the generations mixed up if the grandfather, father and son all had the same forename.The term bristlecone pine covers three species of pine tree (family Pinaceae, genus Pinus, subsection Balfourianae).Forenames could have been added, dropped or transposed in later life, so do not discount an entry if it is not an exact match.If you are not sure of the location of the birthplace given on a census, check it in a gazetteer, which will indicate the nearest town.Changes of name are also published in the London, Belfast and Edinburgh Gazette, for which there’s a searchable database at Try to establish the point at which the surname changed, and check records in both the new and old names as the latter might have been used in official documents.If looking for the marriage of a widow, remember that the surname in the index is the name she was using at the time of the marriage, although her maiden surname should appear on the marriage certificate in the ‘father’s name’ column.Under the Old Poor Law (to 1834), Overseers of the Poor went to great lengths to ascertain the name of the father, and parish records are the place to look for bastardy examinations (interviews) and orders, which can usually be found at diocesan record offices among the parish records.
Do not be tempted to skip a generation, as you could end up with a family tree that is not your own.
The family might have moved within England and Wales or emigrated, so there might be a record among Boards of Guardian material.
If the whole family is missing, it could have been overlooked, or their surname might have been misspelt.
Extended families were common and a widow could have remarried, so that she, and her children, appears on the census under a new husband’s name.
It did not become compulsory to register a birth until 1875, so many children simply were not registered and even after this an estimated ten per cent remained unregistered in the early 20th Century.
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