NATIONAL ARCHIVES OF AUSTRALIA ( NAA)
Kim Cattrall was very keen to discover what happened to her maternal grandfather, George Baugh. George abandoned Kim’s mother, Shane, when Shane was only eight years old. But no one ever knew what became of him and the search began to track him down.
We started by trying to find his death in England. When we were unable to find anything, we decided to search online emigration records. A search in the National Archives of Australia ( NAA) proved successful. It is possible to search its website by name free of charge at collection/search.
As George Baugh was such an unusual name, it was possible to verify the records with ease. The NAA held useful records relating to George’s migration including his naturalisation papers and the fact that he travelled under the Assisted Passage Migration Scheme. These records were indexed on the website and available to view in the archive.
The records also stated that George had married again, a fact not known to Kim. Kim revealed this secret about George to her mothers and aunts at the end of the show. This caused a huge shock but also brought closure to this chapter in the
family’s history. The discharge papers for William Gaffney show that he was considered unfit for further service in 1844 My ancestor William Gaffney attested for the 89th Foot at Athlone in County of Roscommon on 11 February 1828 aged 20. He received his discharge from the 59th Foot at Portsmouth on 21 June 1844 as being considered unfit for further service. During his service he spent one year in the Mediterranean, ‘two and nine-twelfth years’ in the West Indies and the remainder at ‘home’. Where can I find a copy of his service record? Samuel Dawes, Queensland, Australia
ANo doubt you’ve found William’s discharge documents on Findmypast, which show that he enlisted in the 89th Foot on 8 February 1828, transferred to the 59th Foot on 25 January 1829 and was discharged to pension on the grounds of being unfit for further service in 1844. What you have is, in effect, his service record and any documents relating to him specifically will have been destroyed long ago. The army only retained documents required should there be a query regarding a soldier’s entitlements to medals or pension – everything else was summarised on these forms.
There are other documents mentioning William in the regimental context. There are Muster Rolls (lists of soldiers taken monthly) for 89th Foot for 1828 and 1829 at TNA in WO 12/9117 and 9118, which will, if nothing else, confirm where he was posted on a monthly basis and may mention periods when he was sick. Similar Musters for his much longer period with 59th Foot are between WO 12/6816 and WO 12/ 6830. As regiments moved around the country a lot in this period, these will at least tell you where he served. There are also Registers of Pensioners for the regiment – none are online.
TNA offers a high-quality copying service and you can request quotes for a document online via its Discovery service.
There’s a list of independent researchers working at TNA at apps.nationalarchives.gov.uk/ irlist. Many of them can research and copy documentation for you. Several websites give information on the regiment, but this was a peaceful period and they took part in no campaigns. Phil Tomaselli