Why on earth would they do that ?

National newspapers are, by and large, full of rubbish, half truths and well, good old fantasy these days.

But, for family historians, local newspapers are one of the most valuable sources of information around.  Most family historians today can easily go back in time to the 1870s and find all manner of information they simply couldn’t find elsewhere.

The article below was found, quite by chance, one evening, as I was browsing the British Newspaper Archives. The find was so unexpected that I almost discounted it.  There is absolutely no other way that I would ever have discovered the most unusual events surrounding the death of my great 4x grandfather if it had not been reported by the Morning Post on Saturday 25 January 1890 in Woolwich.

Just so that you know who exactly the article is referring to :

young man named Dillon‘ is my 3x great grandfather, James Wallace Dillon, and;

Dillon’s father‘ is my great 4x grandfather, Peter Dillon formerly of Kendal and Dublin



‘At Woolwich Police-court, yesterday, Mr. Farman, solicitor, accompanied by a young man named Dillon, applied to Mr. Marsham for his assistance in obtaining the dead body of Dillon’s father, who died on Monday last. He stated that the deceased had lodged for some years with a Mr. and Mrs. Bailey, at 68, Raglan road, Plumstead, and when he died they did not trouble themselves to acquaint his son, who lived at No. 51 in the same road ; but when the son went to the office of Mr. Vincent, the registrar, in order to register the death, he found the Bailey’s there about the same business.

The registrar preferred to take the information from the son, and, notwithstanding Mr. Bailey’s objections, gave the son the order for the burial. The son, thereupon, went to Mr. Messent, undertaker, and made arrangements for the funeral. A coffin was sent to the house, and the undertaker’s men were about to remove the body to the son’s house when Mr. and Mrs. Bailey refused to part with it, claiming a right to bury it themselves, although they knew that the son had the burial order.

The young man then applied to the police, and a sergeant and constable called upon Mr. Bailey, who stated that he and his wife had befriended the dead man, who had left them a small insurance, and that they meant to see him buried. He offered, however to give upon the corpse and coffin if young Dillon would sign an I O U for some claim which he set upon, but ultimately used violent and defiant language and slammed the door in the face of the police and the undertakers.

It seemed that before the son heard of the death Bailey had reported it to the parish relieving officer, who communicated with the young man, but there was just a possibility, unless the Court interposed, that he would be buried as a pauper after all.

Mr. Marsham said the law imposed the duty of burial upon the nearest relative, and the registrar had acted rightly in giving the order to the son, whatever claims others might have. He would send one of the officers of the Court to Mr. Bailey warning him that if he persisted in his illegal course he would be served with a summons.

Subsequently the officer informed the magistrate that Bailey had consented to give upon the corpse and coffin, and Mr. Marsham directed him to be present and see the removal peacefully conducted.’


27 July, 2013. Tags: , , , , , . Family History. 1 comment.

Always learning, well mainly …

In my relatively short career I’ve had a fairly easy time, of it.  Yes I’ve come across the old puzzle – why have half of Hannah Gill’s children got Roadhouse as their surname and the other half got Gill?  This became increasingly confusing because alternatively they were Gill and Roadhouse.

Well that was easy to sort out!  Hannah’s husband Joseph Roadhouse was at times ‘absent’ and Hannah seems to have had another fella on the side William Gill!  Then Joseph just seems to fallen off the face of the earth and can I heck as like find him after the death of William Gill – I’m sure they are not the same person.  Are they?

That’s why I love blogging as I’m writing I’m thinking of other avenues which I’ve not considered before, always learning.

It was thanks to a very helpful vicar who seems to have taken great joy in annotating the margins of his parish registers that the above Roadhouse/Gill saga was explained without the need for some serious imaginative thinking.

I have got one puzzle that I have absolutely no idea how to resolve, so would welcome any helpful suggestions that you, web world may have to offer.  My direct ancestor Peter Dillon was born in Dublin in approximately 1809 and at some point before he was 45 travelled to England.  The first time I find him in England is when he marries his second wife Annis Wallace in 1854 in Kendal.  So for a start somewhere out there in the past, Peter has a wife and possibly other children, we are his ‘second’ family.

Now my Great Aunt Nan said in her fabulous video that he came over from Ireland for work but where did he go?  Who did he work for?  His occupation was carpenter so he was skilled, did he work for a large family, where does Scotland come into it, because I’m sure Nan mentions Scotland – I really must get that video put onto DVD.

In next to no time Peter and Annis moved down south and settled in Plumstead, Kent.  I have all the official records from then on, but I just cannot find him before 1854 – what do I do?

I’ve posted on rootsweb for any help that can be suggested by the wonderful Dublin researchers but so far nothing.

I searched until I could think of no other avenue – the good old web; ancestry and findmypast but to no avail – it’s the same with Joseph R.

Help can someone please help?  My learning curve has stopped and I’m stuck with nowhere to go!


18 September, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , . Family History. 2 comments.

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