Anonymous asked in Arts & HumanitiesGenealogy · 1 decade ago

Genealogy help... next step?

I wondered if any of you lovely, wonderful, wise people could offer some help to a novice please? (Hope the flattery works to butter you all up?!!)

I managed to get a copy of my fathers father's birth certificate. Yes My grandad I mean! He died very young and no one knew anything about him. Hell of a job even getting this far with no exact DOB etc. Anyway, certificate is now in my hands!

I would like to see what info I can find about his father. This would be my fathers grand father.

From this birth certificate the info I now have is this.

Grand Father - Gilbert Smith; 26th August 1903.

Name of Father - Joseph Smith; Railway Packer 14 Midland Terrace, Bristol

Name of Mother - Elsie May Louise Smith, Nee Williams

That's it. What can I do now to find any more info about any of their lives?

Many thanks to all who try to help!


Sorry, I know I must seem really dim and stupid but I can't seem to actually find or access anything much! Is that because you have to pay to join to get any info of any use?

I tried to find a marriage record for Joseph Smith & Elsie May William, there seems to be a record of this for June 1902. But I can't then get any details or access of anything.

I can't find anything in any census and don't understand where to look or what for?!

I "think" Elsie May William was born in 1884. But again I can't seem to find anything of any use...

Am I looking in the wrong places? Can anyone provide any specific info, with specific marriage date or DOB?

What info can you get on a census? How do you find them?

Its only for interest purposes, for my dad, who wanted to know about HIS grand parents... where he worked, what he did, etc.

I can't afford £80 to join ancestry site just for a few bits of info!

10 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favourite answer

    All the census returns from 1841 to 1911 are held at the National Archives at Kew where they can be searched for free on microfilm or microfiche. They can also be searched online via the hyperlinks on the National Archives website:-

    All except the 1881 census are on paid sites.

    Volunteers are transcribing the census and making it freely available online. Freecen appears to have completed the 1891 census for Bristol:-

    If you don't want to subscribe to Ancestry, and you are in Bristol, you can search the census up to 1901 on microfiche at the Bristol Record Office. They have their own indexes to the census up to 1891, and they also have free access to the online census at Ancestry :-

    If you are not in Bristol, your nearest main library or record office should have a subscription to Ancestry so you can search the census on their computers.

    You could also find out where your nearest LDS Family History Centre is :-

    It may be easier to locate your nearest FHC on the London FHC site which lists them by county :-

    The London FHC is the only place apart from the National Archives at Kew where you can search the 1911 census for free.

    Have now seen your additional info. No one can give you birth or marriage dates - you have to buy the certificates to get those. Ok, load up this site where you can search the civil registration indexes:-

    Select 'Marriages' in the first box

    Type Williams in the second box

    Type Elsie in the third box

    Type 1902 in both date boxes

    Click 'Find'

    The search result shows two entries because the first transcriber omitted the initial 'L', but you don't need to worry about that.

    Click on the page number and it will show the parties to the two marriages on that page. Ignore the other two people who got married just before or just after your ancestors.

    Now you have all the info you need to order the Marriage Certificate, and you know how to do that.

    The Marriage Certificate should give you their ages. On the freebmd site, repeat the process above, selecting 'Births' and putting in a date range of say 1882 to 1886.

    The 1911 census is the only one in which you will find Joseph and Elsie Smith together with Gilbert. So you need to look at this one first to find out the parents' places of birth. The 1911 census is on a pay per view site so no one else can do it for you (unless you reimburse them).

    I suggest you go to the county record office or the central reference library where the staff will be able to help you search the census.

    Edit:- English Death Certificates do not contain the names of the deceased's parents. A parent's name would only appear on the certificate if the parent was the Informant (the person who provided the information and registered the death). The Informant in this case is most likely to have been his wife.

  • 1 decade ago

    The best thing to do would be to look for them on the 1911 census. Then you will find the ages and place of birth of Joseph and Elsie so you will be able to look for their dates of birth and buy birth certificates.

    The census will also tell you where they lived, what their occupations were and whether Gilbert had any brothers or sisters. If Gilbert who was born in 1903 had older brothers and sisters you may also be able to find the family on the 1901 census.

    If you can't find the birth certificates the census will also give you an idea of when they were married. You can get a vague idea of Joseph and Elsie's year of marriage - work back from 9 months before the date of birth of their oldest child - if you can't find it then work forwards, because although it was rarer in those days some people had children out of wedlock or just after they were married. On the marriage certificate you will find the names of both their fathers and also their ages at the time of marriage. (These do not always tally with the dates on the census, so don't worry if it appears slightly out!) The marriage certificate will also give you the occupations of the fathers, so there are 2 more families to look for on the census. The census was taken every 10 years. The 1881 census is availabel free on, but you will have to pay to view all the others. They are available on various websites where you can either subscribe for a period of time or pay for each item you view. The way I did it was to join Ancestry for a year to get all the information I could.

  • 1 decade ago

    Have a look at the 1901 census this should be able to give you more info to work with, also have a look at freebmd web page this will help track down other certificates, This is a long shot but have a look at some one else might be looking for you ancestor, Then there is always and once you have got back as far as the 1881 census then use hope this helps

    Good luck

  • TomTom
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    If you want to obtain their marriage certificate,they were married in Bristol in the 2nd quarter of 1902.You can then find their occupations and parents names and the witnesses may have been relations.Gets you back a bit further. Good luck

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  • 1 decade ago

    This may be them

    Name: Elsie May L Williams

    Year of Registration: 1902

    Quarter of Registration: Apr-May-Jun

    District: Bristol

    County: Avon, Gloucestershire

    Volume: 6a

    Page: 312 (click to see others on page)

    Name: Joseph Smith

    Year of Registration: 1902

    Quarter of Registration: Apr-May-Jun

    District: Bristol

    County: Avon, Gloucestershire

    Volume: 6a

    Page: 312 (click to see others on page)

  • Tavy
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    The online census will give you the same info I expect, you could try Genes reunited which is a free site.

    Good luck.

  • Anil S
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    its easy to find out from CENSUS statutory site . But why do u want to know it about ? what will u be doing it with ? just for curiosity

  • APM
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    The best thing to do would be to sign up with Then you can look through all the BMD indexes and cencus records. I'd really reccomend the census. good luck.

  • Mike
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    Another idea is to get a copy of his death certificate. A death certificate usually has the parent's names on it also.

  • 1 decade ago

    Ask some one in your family who is older. ???

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