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Q I would welcome any advice you can give to help me trace more information about my great-great-grandmother Elizabeth COWLEY. My great-grandfather, Albert ROWLAND, was born September 1844. He had a brother Joseph, born March 1842, and a sister Ann, born July 1847. Each of the birth certificates record their father as Henry ROWLAND and mother as Elizabeth ROWLAND (formerly COWLEY), and all were born in Fairford, Gloucestershire. Ann died February 1848 at the age of seven months, when the informant was a Robert COWLEY. The 1851 census for Fairford has Henry ROWLAND (aged 30) as a widower living with his extended family: mother Sarah, sister Elizabeth, brother George, his wife Sarah and her daughter Mary aged two, and a visitor, Robert COWLEY, aged 19. There are also two sons: Josiah, aged nine, and Albert, aged seven. I believe Josiah and Albert are Henry’s sons, with Josiah being Joseph. Henry’s wife Elizabeth appears to have died between the birth of Ann in 1847 and the 1851 census. Henry remarried in December 1856 to Eliza TOVEY (age 28), when he is described as a widower. The 1871 census for Kensington has Eliza ROWLAND (age 42) living with Albert and Joseph, she is described as ‘mother’ but I believe this should be ‘stepmother’. In 1871 Henry is recorded on his own in Fairford. Records for Gloucester Gaol show a Henry ROWLAND of Fairford admitted three times. In April 1845 and September 1847 he is described as married with two children, however in August 1851 he is a widower with two children. In late 1847 he should have had three children, however I assume this may be a clerical error, or perhaps he was not living with his family at the time. My research over several years of parish records and contact with other ROWLAND and COWLEY researchers has not found Henry in 1841, or any birth, marriage or other substantial reference to my great-great-grandmother either as Elizabeth ROWLAND or COWLEY. Also, in spite of strong evidence that she died between 1847 and 1851, I can find no death certificate either as ROWLAND or COWLEY. Can you suggest any further avenue of research for Elizabeth COWLEY, in particular one that might help me to find a death certificate?

Peter D Bishop

A Just as with the previous question, it seems that your query boils down to: where can I locate the death of Elizabeth ROWLAND (nee COWLEY), probably between 1847 and 1851? She was last known to have been living in Fairford, Gloucestershire, in 1845. The Indexes to Deaths for that period include three entries for Elizabeth ROWLAND in Gloucestershire, and two for Elizabeth COWLEY. Have all the others been investigated? As mentioned before, it was not until 1866 that the indexes included the age at death. The National Burial Index, on FindMyPast (, includes an Elizabeth COWLEY entry, buried on 7th July 1848 in Fairford; however the transcript describes her as aged 61. This age may be an error, and so needs to be checked in the original burial register.

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