Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine - - CONTENTS -

QI am hav­ing trou­ble find­ing out what hap­pened to Frank Bates, the brother of my great grand­mother, Jane Eas­ton.

Frank was born in 1859 in Kent. On the 1861 cen­sus he was liv­ing with his par­ents, Aaron and Mary Bates, in Bex­hill, Sus­sex.

Mary died about 1869 and on the 1871 cen­sus, Frank was liv­ing with his fa­ther and sis­ters in Lit­tle Com­mon, Sus­sex. I can’t find Frank af­ter this. BR Eas­ton

AFrank Bates was bap­tised on 21 Au­gust 1859 at Birch­ing­ton Church in Kent. The abode of his par­ents, Aaron and Mary Bates, was given as Acol, West­gate. On the 1861 and 1871 cen­suses Frank was said to have been born on the Isle of Thanet and in West­gate, Kent, re­spec­tively. These places are within a few miles of each other.

Aaron was a coast­guard in the Royal Navy. Frank was bap­tised as Frank Stan­ton Sten­nings Bates and at first I looked for him af­ter 1871 un­der dif­fer­ent vari­a­tions of the names, but with­out find­ing any trace of a mar­riage or death.

Since his fa­ther was in the Royal Navy, I checked the Royal Navy Rat­ings Ser­vice Records 1853-1928 at The Na­tional Ar­chives. They are held in se­ries ADM 188 and avail­able on­line at dis­cov­­tion­ (some records are on an­ces­ and find­my­past. I found a record for a Frank Bates born in Min­ster, Kent, on 29 June 1859.

Min­ster is next to Acol, and close to both West­gate and Birch­ing­ton. If you or­der the birth cer­tifi­cate, you will see if he is your Frank Bates.

Frank en­listed as a Boy, 2nd Class straight from school on 3 July 1874 and signed on for ten years’ con­tin­u­ous ser­vice on his 18th birth­day. On that day he joined HMS Vo­lage, the se­nior of­fi­cer’s ship in South Amer­i­can wa­ters, and re­mained aboard un­til 26 Oc­to­ber 1878.

Here the record ends ex­cept un­der the col­umn “If dis­charged. Whither and for what cause”. It says “Rua San­tos”. This sounds more Por­tuguese than Span­ish, which sug­gests Brazil. Whether this means he died and was buried ashore I do not know, and I’d sug­gest you con­sult an ex­pert on Royal Navy records to shed more light on this. Stephen Thomas

An ex­tract from Frank’s Royal Navy ser­vice record

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