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WHERE DID THIS PAINTER’S SON GO?

Q

I hope you can offer a few suggestions for finding a couple who seem to have disappeared from the records. I am researching the PILOTELLE family (variously spelled PILOTEL[L] and PILOTELLI). The first to come to the UK was Georges Eugene Raul PILOTELLE, born 1845 in Poitiers, France. He was an artist and took part in the uprising known as the Paris Commune: in fact, he was an elected representative of the Commune.

            His involvement in this uprising resulted in him fleeing France after a death sentence was passed on him, and he settled in London. While in London he became a pillar of the establishment, painting Benjamin Disraeli and Thomas Carlyle among others. On 28th April 1887 he married Ann DUNCAN, who was a governess, almost two years after she bore him his first child, Georges Camille PILOTELLE who was born on 17th July 1885 in Fitzroy Street, Tottenham Court, London.

            Georges Camille in turn married Ethel EVEREST on 16th February 1914 at Sutton on Hove. Their first child, George, was born shortly thereafter and died. Their second child, Vivian Warwick PILOTELLE was born on 16th August 1917 in Dartford, Kent. This is the last record of Georges Camille PILOTELLE and Ethel EVEREST that we can find. Vivian Warwick PILOTELLE was abandoned and brought up in poverty. I can find no more children born to George and Ethel, nor any deaths.

Alan McKnight


A

There was the strong probability that George PILOTELLE would have served in the First World War. This was quickly confirmed by searching the Campaign Medal Roll Index on Documents Online (www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documentsonline). This shows that he was a Gunner in the Royal Field Artillery (94412) and Royal West Kent Regiment (G/30440). Whether any Service Papers survive for him will only be discovered by searching those that survived bombing in World War II. These are held at The National Archives in two series, known as the ‘Burnt’ and the ‘Unburnt’. The latter are available on the Ancestry.co.uk website but I failed to note a PILOTELLE among them. You will therefore need to search the ‘Burnt’ series at TNA. But remember that only around one third of all papers survive.

Possibly George was killed in action. The place to start to check this is the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website (www.cwgc.org). The ‘Debt of Honour Register’ is the Commission’s database listing the 1.7 million men and women of the Commonwealth forces who died during the two World Wars, and the 23,000 cemeteries, memorials and other locations worldwide where they are commemorated. The register can also be searched for details of the 67,000 Commonwealth civilians who died as a result of enemy action in the Second World War. No PILOTELLE was found. Nevertheless, you should also search the GRO Indexes to WWI Army Deaths. These are available on a number of websites, including www.findmypast.com and www.familyrelatives.com

If you are unable to discover the deaths or remarriages of George Camille or Ethel, it’s possible that they left the country after the end of World War I. If this was to a country outside Europe then they may be listed on the Passenger Lists Outwards (BT 27). These can be searched from 1890 to (at the time of writing) 1939 on the FindMyPast website. Interestingly, there is no George or Ethel included. On 3rd July 1920 Annie (aged 55) and Clarissa (aged 27) PILOTELLE sailed on the Imperator from Southampton to New York. Annie would be the widow of George Eugene Raul, who I note died in 1918 in Chelsea aged 73, and Camille one of their several children.

The 1891 and 1901 census returns show that Eugene Raul G (George Eugene Raul) and Annie J (Ann) had the following children, at least: Georges C (Camille), Louis E (Edouard), Clarissa and Nora. The GRO Indexes to Births show these as George Camille, Louis Edouard, Albertine Charisse and Sybil Norah. Louis E appears in the 1930 census of Cincinnati, Ohio, married to Selina. But what happened to the others? Researching them further may help you resolve your problem.

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