Genealogy Research

Never Give Up!

Never Give Up!

For very many years I’ve searched, in vain, for a death record for my 2x great grandmother, Sarah GEMMELL. She was born in Belfast, Ireland in about 1820 and married my 2x great grandfather, James BRAID, in Glasgow, Scotland in 1847. The 1841 census showed her living in Glasgow, employed as a cotton carder.

The family was then to be found in the 1851 and 1861 censuses living in Poplar, Middlesex, England (east London, near Millwall). He was a journeyman iron moulder, so went wherever the work was.

They had five children, of which the first two died as infants.

James then appears in a marriage record, in Glasgow, in 1867. But there was no sign of Sarah. I had assumed (wrongly, as it turns out) that she likely died in London and he relocated the family to Scotland.

He appears in the 1871 census, living with his new wife and two sons (of his first marriage) in Hartlepool, Durham.

But could I find a death (or even a re-marriage) record for Sarah? No.

Then, on a whim, I thought that perhaps James had moved the family back to Glasgow, and that Sarah had died there.

Bingo! She died, aged just 38, of phthisis (a form of tuberculosis) in Glasgow in 1863. Bonus information were the names of her parents recorded in the death register as well as her actual age. Census records can be notoriously inaccurate when it comes to ages, particularly those of an earlier vintage.

Death_Sarah Gemmell_1863

So a conundrum (of a sort), finally resolved.

This is simply an example of the fact that you should never give up looking, and to always try and think outside of the box. Perseverance pays off!


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