I am researching the family of Alan Ernest Leofric Chorlton the distinguished engineer and Conservative MP. I am having particular trouble getting good sources on his wife and her family.

Here is what I have so far:

  • A marriage record (ancestry.com) that states her father to be William Deady, deceased. At the time of her marriage, she was living in London and his permanent address was still in his birthplace, Audenshaw in Lancashire.

Transcription: Marriage solemnised at Christ Church in the parish of Christ Church, Holborn Square in the county of London.
February 14th 1907

Name      Age   Condition   Rank or Prof   Address   Fathers' name   Rank or Prof of Father
Alan     Full  Bachelor    Engineer   Oak House,     Thomas Chorlton Solicitor
Earnest                              Audenshaw
Leofric Chorlton

Annie Full  Spinster   ---     10 Wilson Place    William Deady   Dec?
Louise Deady
  • The 1911 Census (ancestry.com) that states her birthplace as being London, around 1884.

  • She died young, in 1934. This is apparent both in the BMD records and is consistent with the recollection of her daughter.

From the recollections of her (now deceased) younger daughter, I know the following:

  • She was from a lesser social station than Alan. Apparently despite being a hard kind of guy, he was madly in love with her.

  • She wasn't from an English family – maybe French or Irish.

Try as I might I have not been able to find a matching birth record or pre-1907 Census record for Annie that could confirm her parents. I believe that she is the daughter of the William Deady junior, builder and joiner of Lancashire mentioned in the London Gazette of 1869 in bankruptcy proceedings with his father, William Lloyd Deady. The elder William did indeed serve time in debtors’ prison. It seems they had made some unsuccessful property development investments.

An abbreviated version of my rationale for identifying her parents is as follows:

  • The only other Annie Louise Deady I have found born in London around the right time was from a poor family and seems to have married a man named Albert Baker (ancestry.com). Her father was also a William Deady, a sadler, so there were two Annies born to William Deadys around the same time. I just don’t think Alan would have crossed paths with someone that poor. The daughter of a failed builder would be below his station, but not so far that their meeting was unlikely.

  • It would make sense for someone with family ties to Lancashire to have been the Annie that Alan met, even if she was born in London. The London birthplace recorded in the Census might not even have been correct, especially if she wanted to conceal the family bankruptcy.

  • The William Deady I believe is her father seems to have been lodging away from his family in the 1881 Census, perhaps keeping a low profile to avoid further legal proceedings. His wife, Mary (nee Prescott) is recorded in that Census (ancestry.com) as married not widowed, but she and their children were living with her mother and siblings. But this is a few years before Annie would have been born.

  • The fact that William’s occupation is "Dec'd?" with a question mark on Annie’s marriage certificate suggests she did not know her father’s whereabouts, which again would make sense if he was avoiding debtor’s prison. I can't prove it but the fact that William Lloyd Deady was bankrupted twice and went to debtor’s prison (he died in a Catholic care home) suggests that William junior might have avoided this punishment by laying low.

  • Census records show that William Lloyd Deady was indeed born in Ireland, as was William junior’s elder brother John.

  • Louisa is not such a common given name at this time, so it would make sense if Annie’s middle name was after her maternal aunt, Louisa Richmond Prescott (ancestry.com link to her probate record).

I can't rule out various misspellings in the BMD records, but haven’t found anything that fits either there or the 1901 or 1891 Censuses. (I haven’t been able to find her mother in the either of these Censuses either.)

So my question are:

  • Could the BMD records on Ancestry and elsewhere be missing enough records, or have enough mistranscribed records, that Annie can’t be found there?

  • Or have I just missed something and I have not got the right William Deady?

  • Was she an only child? If there are siblings, their records could yield more clues. – Jan Murphy May 11 '14 at 13:20
  • It would be useful if some information from the linked Ancestry records could be included in the question itself. The links as they are now send me to Ancestry in Australia, and while I can log in with my US login, I am not allowed to see any details because I don't have a World Subscription. – Jan Murphy May 11 '14 at 20:46
  • @JanMurphy - sorry about that, I didn't realise. I've changed the links to ancestry.com, and they still seem to work. I also transcribed the marriage record. If my identification of her is correct, she did have siblings, but I have no records of her with parents or siblings. As I mentioned, the 1891 and 1901 Censuses don't turn up any of them, so I have nothing showing them as a family, only the marriage record with the father's name, and a process of elimination. – Verbeia May 13 '14 at 10:00
  • Siblings' records are probably of more use in the United States. Many states have the maiden name of the mother in vital records, and sometimes a parent's name or parent's birthplace listed as 'unknown' on the death certificate of a younger sibling can be supplied from the records of an older sibling. On the other hand, in some states, the marriage certificate doesn't have the names of any parents. – Jan Murphy May 13 '14 at 13:52
  1. Coverage of the birth registrations on FreeBMD is given in "Coverage Charts - Births" - these look complete for the years around 1884. However, I am unclear how well the data in Ancestry reflects that on the FreeBMD site. It is possible that the Ancestry data is an older version and not as complete.

  2. You probably appreciate perfectly well that the FreeBMD indices transcribe those indices from the General Register Office (at Southport). The data was originally collected by Superintendent Registrar's Offices across England & Wales before being copied (in full) every 3 months to be sent to the GRO. Thus errors can creep in at this 3-monthly copying, plus at the still later indexing stage at the GRO.

  3. To reduce the error rate a number of counties have been co-operating with family history societies to index those registers at Superintendent Registrar's Offices. Lancashire may be useful - see the LancashireBMD site.

So the answer to your first question is that yes, "the BMD records on Ancestry and elsewhere" could be missing enough records, or have enough mis-transcribed records, that Annie can’t be found there. However, we are looking at errors in coverage, rather than systemic shortage of coverage.

I presume you've looked at spelling variations on all the names and variations on Ann(ie) Louise/Louisa (I may be imagining this but I'm sure I've recently seen a table recording when second names were written in full and when reduced to initials.)

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