How did my ancestor die?
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