Tracing Robert Williams

tedc
22nd October 2007, 17:05
My Uncle Bob (Robert Williams) spent his life mostly in the RN. I know that his last ship was HMS Conqueror" which he left in 1915.

At that time (apparently) the RN set up many retirees as Customs (or was it Coast Guard?).

Bob finished up as one or other of these in Withernsea, E Yorks.
I can remember him doing his "rounds" from Flambough to Spurn Point on his Motor Bike and Sidecar.

He died, in Withernsea, in 1946, at the age of 65.

I have seen some data about "Conqueror" in this forum.

However, fuller access to records in the various on line databases is limited and seems to be non existent in the areas of Customs and/or Coast Guard services.

Without his service number I guess I'm between a rock and a bigger rock?

Anyone have any ideas?

(Smoke)

al1934
22nd October 2007, 17:27
Ted, you can get your uncle's Service Record by going to http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documentsonline/ then click on "Search Now" in the Royal Naval Seamen panel. If you just put his surname in, you can scroll down the list - 110 in total. If you know his year of birth, it narrows it down a bit - the date column is date of birth.

he records for all RN ratings from 1873 to 1923 are there. Be aware that he may not have used his own Christian name or even his correct date of birth. Some were too young, so changed their date of birth to suit. There were no checks in the 19th century.

If you find him, it will cost you 3.50 to download his record.

If you want a "translation" of any or all of it, let me know - I'll be happy to help.

Best wishes

tedc
22nd October 2007, 20:24
Thanks Alick.

Have followed your advice and looked in the web site. Very good web site!
Unfortunately he is not there - I know he was born in 1881 (from marriage in 1915 minus age of 65 at death in 1946.

Cannot see anyone (yet) with his long service.

Will try again with wider dates.

Many Thanks

benjidog
22nd October 2007, 20:31
Thanks Alick.

Have followed your advice and looked in the web site. Very good web site!
Unfortunately he is not there - I know he was born in 1881 (from marriage in 1915 minus age of 65 at death in 1946.

Cannot see anyone (yet) with his long service.

Will try again with wider dates.

Many Thanks

Ted,

I have spent a lot of time working with census records and BMD registers and there are a lot of errors in them. I would suggest you work within a couple of years of his DOB. Alternatively if you would like to send me a PM with as much information on him as you have (name, name of family members at the time, address or at least area where he was born) I will look him up for you on the 1881 census as I have a copy of it as transcribed by the Mormons. That may give you a bit more information to work with.

Regards,

Brian

al1934
22nd October 2007, 21:32
Do you know where his place of birth (town and county) was, Ted?

tedc
23rd October 2007, 17:32
Brian,

Many Thanks for your offer of help.

I expect to have some of the information any day now as I have sent for his marriage certificate (to Agnes Jean Dempster) which will relate to a wedding in Devonport - 25 april 1915 - when i think he was still in the RN. Hopefully this document will come with his service number.

His age at death appears to be 65 and he died in 1946 - so he would be born around 1881.

Familt anecdotes suggest his war service would be from 16 yrs old until the end of ww1.

tedc
23rd October 2007, 17:41
Thanks Alick!

I don't have the place yet - hopefully that will be on the marriage cert or the death cert which are on the way.

I have been on the web page which you sugested and checked the entries around 1881 births. Unfortunately there appears to be no one there with any service.
I'm about to try again with 2 years either side but will wait until I have the (more or less) correct birth date from the above records.

By the way, I believe he was on HMS Conqueror in 1915 because someone else saw that on his marriage cert.

al1934
24th October 2007, 10:34
Ted, I am a hopeless addict when it comes to family history. Now you have got me going with your Robert Williams.

I have found the following four with 1881 dates of birth:

Name Williams, Robert
Official Number: 292592
Place of Birth: Bristol, Somerset
14 June 1881 ADM 188/472



Name Williams, Robert Thomas
Official Number: K41048
Place of Birth: Liverpool, Lancashire
05 August 1881 ADM 188/949

Name Williams, Robert
Official Number: F33587
Place of Birth: Preston, Lancashire
27 September 1881 ADM 188/625

Name Williams, Robert
Official Number: 193187
Place of Birth: Oldham, Lancashire
31 January 1881 ADM 188/331


In addition, there are others in 1880 and within a couple of years of 1881.

I doubt if his official number will show up on his marriage certificate, but all things are possible...

The reason I asked for his place of birth is that the National Archives records show that and it helps to narrow down your search.

Keep in touch.

Best wishes

tedc
25th October 2007, 12:31
Hi Alick & Benjidog.

As you thought, the marriage & death certs (now arrived) do not help with real info.

What the Marriage cert says is :-
Married - Devonport 25/02/1915.
Occupation: Yeoman Of Signals - HMS Conqueror Devonport.
Age 34 years.
father was James Williams. (Stonemason)

Death Certificate actually has even less info but shows he died aged 65 in Holderness, Yorkshire, and that his occupation at that time was Excise Officer (retired) which puts him more towards customs & excise than the Coastguard service.

I have no handle (yet) on his place of birth as there are many Williams as you said.

A service number is essential - but I can find no paperwork on this.

Thanks,

ted

al1934
25th October 2007, 12:52
Ted,

I am assuming that the Marriage Certicate only shows one Christian name (Robert)?

As he was married February 1915 and his stated age was 34, the chances are that Name Williams, Robert Official Number: 193187 Place of Birth: Oldham, Lancashire 31 January 1881 ADM 188/331 is your man, based on his age and date of birth. Its up to you, but, if it were my search, I would purchase a copy of this man's Service Record and find out. If it's not the correct man, you have spent 3.50 - but it could be him. The choice is yours...

At least you now have the name of his father plus other data (eg. witnesses who could be family) which show on the Marriage Certificate.

I'll be interested in anything which comes up...

Best wishes

tedc
25th October 2007, 20:15
Thanks Alick.

Sadly this person was invalided out ot the RN in 1905. Also he does not have Conqueror on his record.
I'll have a look at some others in due course.

al1934
25th October 2007, 21:58
I am sorry, Ted. Now I owe you a tot!

However, that's what I would have done. No consolation, though.

I have looked through the 1881 census and can only find the nearest family there. The nearest is a Robert R Williams, 3 months old at the time of the census (which was taken 3 April 1881). His father was James, but he was described in the census as a carpenter & joiner at that time, not a mason. Robert was born at Newport, Monmouth, while the family lived at 23 Caroline Street, St Woollos, Monmouth, which was actually a part of Newport. Robert's mother was called Hannah and he had a sister Elizabeth age 2 years.

I don't know if we have another possibility here?

As I said before, I'll be happy to translate his service record for you, when we can find it...

Keep in touch

tedc
26th October 2007, 10:10
Alick,

Many Sincere Thanks for trying.
It's people like you who make this web site as good as it is!

benjidog
26th October 2007, 20:18
Well done Alick - you beat me to it - I have been otherwise employed on DIY during my week's holiday. :(

Ted,

Then as now people changed their occupations so don't be too surprised if the records do not tally. If you want to follow up your family history you will need a lot of patience and to be prepared to go down a few dead ends. It can be a bit like a detective story.

Good luck!

Regards,

Brian

al1934
26th October 2007, 21:44
Absolutely, Brian. I have been researching my family history (and other people's too) for years and it's fascinating but oooh, those dead ends...

Anyway, Ted, you've got at least two of us who can help. I've had loads of help researching ships from people on this website, so its time I put something back in.

Best wishes