Paid Research Service
We were recently contacted by a man whose father had served in the U.S. army during World War II and who he had recently discovered had fathered a baby in Wiltshire, whom he was considering tracing. In this instance, he had a letter which had likely been written by the mother of the baby to the family of his father in America thanking them for sending some baby clothes. This provided a date, a first name and an address. A good starting point! This enabled us to undertake some preliminary work to start off the search for the unknown sibling.
Under our paid research service we first searched electoral registers in order to find the name of the family living at that address in Swindon around the date of the letter. The name, as it later turned out was one that cropped up in one of the letters written by the U.S. serviceman – it seemed we were on the right track! Once we had established this, we were able to use records of registrations of births available on Ancestry to find some possible candidates for the birth of the baby. There were a couple of likely options, and it was also possible to find a couple of later marriages meaning that it might still be possible to try and trace the person today even though their surname may have changed through marriage. This obviously needs to be done with care – it is a sensitive situation and it is possible that the person would not want to be found or may not be aware of their history.
It becomes more of a challenge once we reach this point, but there are various options available. Some of the key sources that can be used are records of education and professional bodies, media publicity (writing a note for a local paper or magazine to find someone with local knowledge), specialist search services and nowadays a social media search can prove the most fruitful.
Have you got a question you would like us to try and solve for you? Or perhaps you would love to visit us and use the records we have available but are unable to do so for logistical reasons? If your enquiry requires more than ten minutes research, we offer a paid research service which can undertake prolonged searches for you, charged at £30 an hour.
We can, amongst other things:
• Research aspects of family history
• Investigate matters of local or community history
• Search for documents relating to the history of a house or building
• Find maps and plans relating to businesses
• Take digital images of most records within our archives