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Q Can you advise me where I might find my great-grandfather on the 1871 census? Joseph VALLANCE was born 5th January 1854 at Newbold Verdon, Leicestershire, the illegitimate son of Mary VALLANCE. His father’s name is not given on his birth certificate. Mary also was illegitimate, and while she was baptised using her mother’s name, VALLANCE, the 1841 census lists her under her father’s name, BRADBURY. In the parish register at her marriage it is seen to read ‘Mary Bradbury Vallance’, suggesting that she tended to use the name BRADBURY. After his birth in 1854 Mary’s son, Joseph, then appears on the 1861 census at Newbold Verdon living with his grandparents Joseph and Sarah BRADBURY and using the name Joseph BRADBURY; he may have been using this name or it may have been an error in communication with the enumerator. Mary married in November 1861; she and her husband and family emigrated to Texas, USA, after the 1871 census, and she died there in 1872. After his appearance on the 1861 census I have found nothing more of Joseph until his marriage at Burton upon Trent in December 1878 where his occupation is given as ‘labourer’. The parish register gives the name of his father as Thomas HUNT, a painter. Joseph, and his wife Anne, next appear on the 1881 census at Burton upon Trent where he is a brewer’s labourer. By this time they have their first son, Tom Hunt VALLANCE (born 1879), who is on the census with his grandfather Thomas Hunt in Leicester. Joseph and Anne had two more sons, George Henry Hunt VALLANCE (1881), and my grandfather Alfred Edward VALLANCE (1888). Joseph died in 1889. I can not find Joseph on the 1871 census, under any of the names. There is, however, one possible clue. When my grandfather’s eldest brother, Tom Hunt VALLANCE married in 1900, he gave his father as Joseph VALLANCE, a soldier. If this is what happened, where I might begin my search given that I have no idea what regiment he would have joined? There is a second part to my request. As stated, Mary VALLANCE married in 1861; her husband was John BROMLEY, and together with their children they emigrated to Texas at some time after the 1871 census, with Mary dying in 1872. I have been unable to trace any emigration records to the USA for this period. Can you tell me where I might find such records if they exist?

John A Vallance

A When researching ancestors who were born illegitimately, you have to be extremely careful when considering their relationship to other ‘family’ members shown in records or occurring in family stories. If the mother eventually married it was common for her child or children to take the name of their stepfather. This also happened if the children were born legitimately but their mother remarried, say after the death of their father. The 1841 census return does not give relationships between the various members of a family, and again you must be careful not to make assumptions. I can see no actual evidence that Mary VALLANCE’s father was Joseph BRADBURY. The 1841 census includes several other children, apart from Mary: Elizabeth (born about 1827), James (about 1835), Dorothy (about 1836) and Sarah (1840). You need to discover their birth/baptism details to discover who their parents were, and also the marriage of Joseph BRADBURY and Sarah VALLANCE. Unfortunately, the 1851 census does not help with these relationships as none of the children are listed with Joseph and Sarah. Although the 1861 census does describe Joseph as being the grandson of the head, Joseph BRADBURY, this may have been inaccurate, although Joseph senior may well have thought of the younger Joseph as his grandchild. The suggestion that at the time of the 1871 census Joseph was serving in the British Army is certainly worth following up, although he would have been only 16. As you do not know what regiment he was serving in, you could not search the Regimental Musters. However, you should consider investigation the British Army Soldiers Discharge Papers, in Series WO 97, held at The National Archives, Kew. These papers will only survive if Joseph was discharged to pension and you do not know when that would have been, except it was before 1878. The records you need to investigate are in separate series, covering the periods 1855 to 1872 and 1873 to 1882. Unfortunately, the first series suffers from the same problem as the Musters in that it is necessary to know the regiment. The second series is divided into four main sections – cavalry, artillery, infantry and corps – plus a number of other smaller sections. You will therefore need to search each of these, starting with the infantry, it being the largest and more probable. As far as emigration records for the BROMLEY family in 1871 or 1872 are concerned, with the absence of any Passenger Lists Outwards until 1890, you are more likely to have success with records of passengers arriving in the USA. If you do not know which at which port they arrived then you will need to undertake a more global search. There are many immigration and emigration records available on the website and you should start by examining these.

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