Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Geoffs Genealogy Update, 28 January 2009

This has been a very busy month for me.

I've been wearing my editorial hat - preparing the March issue of the journal of the Shropshire Family History Society. At the same time I have been working on the next batch of updates for the Geoffs Genealogy website, earning a crust, and also attending to all the day to day things that everybody has to attend to.

The website updates are coming on quite well, if a little slowly. I have worked my way through most of the existing content, updating where appropriate, and prepared one new additional page. I still have lots to do, however, as there are articles to add, plus some photographs and, if I have enough spare time, I may add another page. With all this to work through it is likely to be a few more weeks before the site is updated.

One by-product of reviewing the content of the website is that I get reminded of some of the areas of my research that still need attention. When I was looking at the section on Thomas Hunt, the Doctor (1798-1879) (THD), I was reminded that I have never found out anything about of his son - Thomas.

To be honest, I don't know for a fact that this Thomas was a son of THD - that is, I haven't seen a record of his birth. In 1992 I received some information about THD from the Royal College of Surgeons, and included in this was a photocopy of a page from the Medical Directory of 1861 (p 154). This listed a certain a certain Thomas Hunt Jnr, who became a MRCS in 1859, and he shared the address of THD - 23 Albert Place, St Giles. Middlesex. I have not actually traced this man's baptism, although I am aware of an entry on the IGI that looks extremely promising. I need to check this out at London Metropolitan Archives when I get the chance:

Baptism 12Dec1819, Dulwich College Chapel - Thomas Hunt, son of Thomas Hunt & Martha

Given the patterns of naming children that often applied in families up to fairly recent times it would not be surprising if THD and his spouse named their eldest son Thomas. After all, Thomas was the name of his father and grandfather.

The date of birth that I have put on my family tree for this Thomas is 1826. Educated guesswork on my part, but one has to start somewhere. Similarly, as I have never yet traced the marriage of THD and Martha I have recorded it as "before 1826", assuming that they were married before the birth of their first son.

I know that some people would say that it would be better if I left this information out of my records until it is proved, and I would not argue with that. I can only say that my method of doing this suits me. It stands to remind me of unresolved research items. I always include a note in my research files to explain these situations.

Incidentally, this is a point to bear in mind when looking at the tree that is on my website. Some of the detail in that tree may be "estimated", and you would be unwise to just take it as fact. I have noticed that some people have copied information from Geoffs Genealogy and used it on their own website without any acknowledgement of the source of the information, or reference to me. Not only is this very impolite - plagiarist, even - it is also quite unwise unless you have checked the information before using it.

Anyway, to return to my subject, although this Thomas Hunt MRCS appeared in the Medical Register listings up to 1875, and was always listed with the 23 Albert Place address associated with his father, I have never yet managed to sight him in any census records. This is in spite of the fact that I have records of his father's family on the censuses of 1851, 1861 and 1871. Very strange! Bear in mind, however, that if he was born about 1819 he would have been over 30 by the time of the 1851 census, and it seems quite likely that he may have already ceased to reside with the family, whilst practising medicine from the same address as his father.

It would help my attempts to trace him if I knew where he was born. If he was the child whose baptism was recorded in the above mentioned entry at Dulwich College, I may be able to fill in that gap. As it stands, there were so many Thomas Hunts in the records that without some reliable basic information to found my search on it seems unlikely that I shall find him.

The fact that I have not found Thomas Hunt Jnr listed in the Medical Register after 1875 suggests that possibly he may have either died shortly after that date, or he may have moved overseas. As I have been searching this source online at www.Ancestry.co.uk, and Ancestry has not put online the Medical Registers for the period 1876 - 1879, I do not know whether Thomas Hunt MRCS was listed in any of those years.

Bearing in mind that the Medical Register was probably compiled one year in advance, I have searched the civil registration indexes of deaths from 1874 to 1880, looking for Thomas Hunt, possibly registered at St Giles, Middlesex. I have found one entry that almost fits the bill:

Deaths June 1877
Hunt Thomas age 47 St Giles 1b 313

This may or may not be my man, but I am presently deterred from buying the certificate by the age recorded in this entry - 47. If my man was baptised in 1819 this is unlikely to be him. On the other hand ...

So many ifs, buts and maybes. I'll let you know if I ever resolve this poser.

In the meantime, it's back to the website editing.

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