How did my an­ces­tor die?

Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine - - QUESTIONS & ANSWERS - Si­mon Wills

QMy hus­band’s great grand­mother, Jane El­wood (née Mur­ray), was born in Dublin in 1863. She’s at Pem­broke West, Dublin, on the 1901 cen­sus, but I can’t find her af­ter this. I’ve dis­cov­ered a death at sea for J El­wood, Novem­ber 1901, with the note ‘Ell­wood Wm. £3662’. Could this be my Jane El­wood? Mavis Fer­gu­son, by email

AThe doc­u­ment you re­trieved is from the Board of Trade in­dex to deaths at sea (BT334). It refers to a more de­tailed doc­u­ment in the same data­base, show­ing the J El­wood in ques­tion was a sea­man from Wey­mouth born in 1847. So not your rel­a­tive, Jane, I’m afraid. I’ve looked to see if she is reg­is­tered as dy­ing abroad, on the Gen­eral Reg­is­ter Of­fice over­seas deaths in­dex ( bm­dreg­is­ters.

co.uk), but she’s not listed. You have sev­eral op­tions to go from here. The Na­tional Ar­chives of Ire­land has an in­dex of wills and ad­min­is­tra­tions ( will­cal­en­dars.na­tion­alarchives.ie/search/cwa/

home.jsp). This shows a widow from Ire­land, Jane El­wood, who died in Liver­pool on 9 Oc­to­ber 1902, leav­ing Jane E El­wood as ex­ecu­tor. Given the con­nec­tions be­tween Ire­land and Liver­pool, per­haps Jane moved there. Do you have a Jane E El­wood in your fam­ily tree?

Try search­ing in­dexes for deaths reg­is­tered in Eng­land and Wales as well as Scot­land in case Jane trav­elled around or moved. Could Jane have em­i­grated? If so, try look­ing through pas­sen­ger lists and im­mi­gra­tion records. An­other op­tion is to try and find her hus­band’s grave­stone, as this may men­tion her. Fi­nally, Find­my­past has an in­dex to digi­tised Ir­ish news­pa­pers. A quick look shows at least one Jane El­wood, who died on 19 April 1917 and who had been mar­ried to a Wil­liam (died 1906). There is an ‘in me­mo­riam’ in the Bal­ly­mena Observer on 17 April 1925.

‘J El­wood’ is listed as a death at sea, but this proves to be a red her­ring

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