Q and A
HOW CAN I FIND HIS BIRTH AND DEATH?My husband’s maternal great-grandfather, John Fitzarthur CASTLE, can be found in 1881 living in Southampton, single, aged 20, an unemployed ship’s steward. His place of birth is recorded as: West Indies Barbados (British subject). In 1883 he married Elizabeth Harding JONES. In 1891 they are still in Southampton with their three children, including Edward Fitzarthur CASTLE, aged seven. Edward is the father of my mother-in-law (now in her mid-80s). John is by this time a servant on a steamship. By 1901 the family has moved to Portsmouth and John, aged 40, is listed as a merchant seaman. After this I can find nothing more. My mother-in-law tells of a family belief that John had a ship which he sailed to Australia, and no one knows what happened to him after this. The fact that John was born in Barbados was a complete surprise to my husband and his mother (and probably the reason I could find no birth record). Purely coincidentally we love Barbados and had already booked a holiday for next April – our fourth visit to the island. Our holiday will be a great opportunity to visit any record offices where we might search, if only I can find where that would be. My query breaks into a number of parts. Firstly, can you help with suggestions for where I might look for information on John’s birth record, and when and how he left Barbados to come to England? Secondly, does the fact that he is shown as a ‘British subject’ mean his parents were born in the UK? Were there many British migrants to the West Indies in the mid 1800s? Will their movements be documented anywhere? Thirdly, could you suggest any preparatory work I might be advised to undertake before heading to Barbados – such as writing to the consulate or registrar. Fourthly, do you have any suggestions as to how I might trace where he went and when he died? I have looked at lots of web sites and searched unsuccessfully on FindMyPast’s passenger lists, although I think it more likely that he ‘worked his passage’ to wherever he went. Finally, my mother-in-law remembers someone in the family speaking of a sugar factory, so maybe that could be a clue. Fitzarthur seems to be a family name and that might be another. Since starting on my own family history two years ago I have been an avid fan of FHM, and always read the advice you give with great interest and enjoyment, never dreaming that one day I might have something interesting enough to approach you with. Now just a short while into looking at my husband’s family (setting my own aside for a while) I find myself hoping for your assistance.
Carol I Baron
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