Take the 2-minute tour ×
Genealogy & Family History Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for expert genealogists and people interested in genealogy or family history. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I'm trying to fill in the gaps between the records I already have about William Henry Cole, born in Slapton, Devon, England around 1890, died in Holyoke, Massachusetts in 1943.

The relevant part of his timeline for this question is:

  • 1901 Census age 11 with father William (44), mother Florence E (36), sister Olive (10), and brother Harold (3) at 12 Buxton Road, Rock Ferry, Cheshire (Civil Parish: Birkenhead)
  • 1911 Census age 21 with with father William (54), mother Florence E (46), sister Olive (20), and brother Harold (13) at 533 New Chester Rd, Rock Ferry, Cheshire (Civil Parish: Birkenhead). His profession is "Apprentice Hot Water Engineer"
  • 1913: He is initiated into the Masons. His lodge is Clyde no 408 Glasgow, Scotland; his occupation is steamfitter. (This card came from an index created later in Massachusetts, USA, so the event was recorded afterwards, when the memberbship index cards were created.) The collection is Massachusetts Grand Lodge of Masons Membership Cards 1733–1990. New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, Massachusetts (accessed via Ancestry.com: Massachusetts, Mason Membership Cards, 1733-1990)
  • 1921: 19 June Census day in 1921. The 1921 Census (not yet released) might list Place of work and industry.
  • 1924: He departs the UK for the United States on the Celtic, arriving in New York on 10 Nov 1924. On the UK Outward passenger list, the previous address is 136 Mountcollyer St, Belfast. The US passenger list agrees that he is coming from Ireland, and gives his mother's address as 42, Highfield Road, Rock Ferry, Cheshire. His visa was issued in Belfast.

He becomes a member of the William Whiting Lodge of Masons in Holyoke in 1926; his obituary from 1943 says that he came to the USA in 1924, and lists his surviving siblings Olive and Harold in England, and his membership in the William Whiting Lodge of Masons.

I'd like to collect more information about his whereabouts between 1911 and 1924. One obvious record which would fill in the gap would be the 1921 Census, which is not yet released. Apparently there has been some debate about whether the ONS can release the 1921 Census because of the data protection acts; the release date might be in 2022, 100 years after the census was collected.

This thread Data Protection and the 1921 Census on the Who Do You Think You Are? magazine's forum mentions a 1915 National Registration, "which enumerated everyone (male and female) born between the 16th of August 1850 and the 15 August 1900".

I'm looking for early 20th century sources in the UK such as school yearbooks, trade directories, Masonic membership information, other directories that might have residence information, and any other records that might shed more light on this period. (If I find WWI service records, I will add them to this timeline; negative search results so far.)

share|improve this question

2 Answers 2

Most obvious thing to try would be Electoral Rolls which would show place of residence in October of each year. Even with often poor scanning I've had good results on ancestry for London - don't know if the rest of the country is available.

share|improve this answer
    
FindmyPast are supposed to be digitising electoral registers from the British Library collection. However, we seem to be continually missing deadlines on that project. (Mind you - it must be enormous...) –  AdrianB38 Aug 25 at 22:31

Re the period in Rock Ferry: Trade Directories for Cheshire can be found on the Cheshire Archives & Local Studies site - their scanned images of trade directories look useful as there are three Kelly's Directories from 1902, 1906, 1910 - these can be downloaded in .PDF format - several files per directory.

Also of value is the Historical Directories web-site. That has been revamped recently as previous hardware and software were obsolete and its new search engine is of debatable value. (In fact, the site seems to admit as much). You may find it easier - though very long winded - to browse the pages. It does give you other Cheshire directories such as a 1914 Kelly's or a 1900 Gore's. (It does have wider coverage of England & Wales).

Be aware that UK directories vary in their coverage. Most directories aimed at the county level will include only people with a service to sell (or with conspicuous wealth). They are not census substitutes as some would have you believe. However, some - often entitled Post Office Directories - do seem to include a much wider selection, including ordinary workers.

For Scotland, the National Library of Scotland have a site for Scottish Post Office Directories. Unfortunately, it rather looks like their latest is 1911 with a Post-Office Annual Glasgow directory for 1911-1912. (Browse Towns / Glasgow / PO Annual Directories and you'll see the list).

share|improve this answer
    
I've struggled with the new interface on the Historical Directories site, too. Most of the directories I've found so far are not in the right time span (Ancestry's search engine seems particularly bad, constantly returning hits outside the person's lifespan, even when you tell it not to.) –  Jan Murphy Aug 25 at 22:54

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.