Q and A
DID HE DIE OR DISAPPEAR?We are researching my husband’s family but are unable to find when or where his great-grandfather, Henry KNOWLES died. His baptismal name was KNOWLES, born 1837 in Kirkburton, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire. He was the natural son of Esther KNOWLES. In 1846, Esther married Isaac Copley HEY, who we believe may have been Henry’s father. Henry had a rather cavalier attitude when it came to which name he used, calling himself KNOWLES when it came to anything to do with the church, and HEY when it came to civil registration, ie his daughters’ births or the census. The last daughter was born in 1873 and Sarah, his wife (nee SENIOR), remarried in 1881. Henry’s occupation in the last years of his recorded life was platelayer on the railway. We have searched for and applied for all the likely death certificates, under both names, not only in Yorkshire, but the rest of the country as well, but none has been right. Huddersfield Register Office also searched their records under both KNOWLES and HEY (and their variants) and found nothing. It has been suggested to us that Henry may have deserted his family and disappeared; after the statutory seven years Sarah had him legally proclaimed dead. She must have had a death certificate, or something, to present to the authorities when she married Alfred BEAUMONT in February 1881, which is just over seven years later. Would she have had to present herself to a solicitor, a commissioner of oaths or a coroner to do this? If so, would there be an official record of this anywhere, and would we be able to get a copy? I feel that if he did die between 1873 and 1881, there must be a record of his death or burial recorded somewhere, and this possible explanation I have presented could be the answer, unless he did disappear and changed his name completely. I do hope you can help me come up with an answer to his disappearance off the face of the earth.
Mrs Jennifer A Mellor
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