Looking for Lost Sauls
By Norman Saul
This article was originally published in the August 2005 edition of Soul Search, the journal of The Sole Society
Since I started to find out about my ancestors in 1998 I have had much success. However many of them crop up once or twice then disappear. I really needed to expand the family tree, but where to look? I considered buying some of the Census disks advertised by companies in Family History Magazines. However, on checking them, they do not provide comprehensive name indexes. Without name indexes you could literally search a town or county forever and still not find your relatives.
On looking through the February 2005 issue of 'Ancestors' I found the answer to my problem. I already had the 1881 census on disk and of course the very useful 1901 census on the Sole Society disk. The National Archives said that the 1891 census was available on the Ancestry.co.uk website. I logged on and found to my surprise that the 1871 census was also available. Better still images of the actual pages could be downloaded.
From home I could now check census information from 1871 to 1901 at the push of a few buttons.
William Saul was baptised at Tatham Church on 7 Jan 1820, illegitimate son of Jenney Saul (1796-1863) whose only entry in the 1841 census shows him at Chipping, Lancs as employed in a cotton mill. Then what happened to him? The 1871 census shows him as a carder in a cotton mill in Ashton under Lyne. He was married to Mary who was born in Stockport and had two daughters both born in Droylsden, Lancs. I have also traced his daughters marriages and his own death in 1880 at the age of 59.
Thomas Saul (1850-1891) was the brother of my Great Grandfather. I knew the date of his marriage, who he married and the fact that in 1881 he was a Royal Marine on HMS Garnet. The 1871 census shows him in Hong Kong also as a Royal Marine. I will now try to find his service records.
Matthew Saul (1826-1882) was my Gtx2. Grandfather, a very elusive character found only on the 1841 census at Chipping, Lancs as an apprentice tailor. In 1881 he is in Stourbridge, Worcs married to his second wife, his first having died in 1877. The 1871 census shows him as a tailor in Birkenhead, Cheshire with his first wife. Even if I had purchased the census disks for Lancashire I would never have found him as he was now in Cheshire.
Whilst some of my relatives stayed close to their place of birth I have found that many of them moved out of the area and I would never have thought that someone born in Burnley in 1850 would find himself in Hong Kong in 1871.
There are many more examples of the additional information I have found since I purchased the 7 days use on this particular website. It is very effective and at £5 plus VAT is much cheaper than trawling Record Offices by car or public transport.
I am now looking forward to the time when the 1841 to 1861 census information will be on this or similar websites.
Please do not assume from this article that I do all my research from home. With the modern technology which is available to us we would be foolish not to keep all options open. Sensibly all facilities which are there in whatever form should be used.
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