Who Do You Think You Are?

What happened to Mary Philp?

- Katherine Cobb

QMy great aunt, Mary Frances Philp, was born in St Columb, Cornwall, to Thomas Read Philp and Mary Tresize Paull. Her birth was registered in the June quarter of 1896.

In 1920 she had a son, Victor, out of wedlock and he was adopted in 1925. The document shows she was living in Hurst, Yeovil, and was a milliner. However, she seems to vanish after attending her father’s funeral in 1927. Sue Ikin

AIndividua­ls who disappear are often a challenge. They may have emigrated, become known by another name, or it may be down to indexing/transcript­ion errors.

To address the first possibilit­y, check outward passenger lists while rememberin­g that some entries only give initials. Lists for 1890–1960 are widely available online.

Since Mary Frances’ marriage or death may have been registered using just one of her Christian names, check for registrati­ons of Mary or Frances Philp. Search also for surnames, eg Phelp or Philip.

Searching the 1939 Register, I noted a household of possible interest: that of Roy S Rawle (born 1899) and his son, at 68 Priory Road, Exeter. Roy is recorded as married but no wife is present; however, Frances M Philp (born 14 March 1897, single, unpaid domestic duties) was living with them. Errors sometimes occur in the year of birth shown in the register and since no correspond­ing birth registrati­on could be found in 1897, checking the birthdate of Mary Frances from her birth certificat­e should clarify whether or not this is your great aunt. If so, search postwar electoral registers to see whether she remained with Roy Rawle. These are available at Devon Archives and the British Library.

Perhaps Mary Frances became known as Mary Frances Rawle or another surname. Having obtained her birthdate, use it to search the 1939 Register for possible entries, omitting a surname. The birthdate could also be used to search registrati­ons of death from mid-1969 onwards, from when birthdates – rather than the age at death – appear in the General Register Office index.

 ?? ?? misspelled
Sue knows where her relation was living in 1925 because it’s mentioned on her son’s adoption record
misspelled Sue knows where her relation was living in 1925 because it’s mentioned on her son’s adoption record

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