The case of the missing great grandparents

Beatrice Reilley 1901 Scotland Census
Could this be my great great grandmother?

It’s quite frustrating looking at a gap in the family tree, and a gap which is in relatively recent years.  That gap is where my great grandfather should be.

He could be anybody!  Well, a male who was in the Edinburgh area of Scotland in about November of 1924 at least.   My grandmother, Beatrice, was born there in the August of 1925.

So who was he?

He was possibly of a similar age to my great grandmother, Frances Eleanor Chapman. (born in 1905 in the Isle of Wight)  She could have met him in her job as a restaurant waitress, or he could have possibly been a handsome neighbour, or a family friend.  He could have been a sailor and known her dad, Henry, who was working as a stoker on ships.

Then there’s my great grandmother…….

I’ve tried searching for marriages and deaths for Frances in England, Scotland and Wales after the birth of a great uncle in Edinburgh in 1930 as it could have been that she married my great grandfather after both children were born, or, of course she could have married someone else, but nothing seems to fit.  I’ve managed to cross reference several of these marriages with the 1939 England and Wales National Register, and ordered some of the others, but still nothing.

Also (a useful tip for anybody else) I tried doing a search of the National Register just using the date of birth, and variants of the first names, which brings up a few results, once again, cross referencing these with the marriages, and nothing.

So, it appears Frances moved elsewhere.

There is a Frances Chapman who married either a James Kevin Dunroche, Thomas Savage or a Thomas O’Hanlon in the Wexford registration district in Ireland in 1939, and I located a death registered for a Francis O’Hanlon aged 51 in the Dublin South registration district of Ireland in 1956.  I’ve ordered this certificate, and yes, I realise that Francis is spelled with an “i” rather than an “e”.  But, you never know!

UPDATE 2nd June 2016. The Francis O’Hanlon who died in 1956 was a male

UPDATE 3rd June 2016.  The marriage in 1939 was between Frances Chapman, whose dad was Thomas, and Thomas O’Hanlon

So, going back to my great grandfather, or possible great grandfather.  I recalled recently that at one of the addresses Beatrice was supposed to have lived at there was a “Beatrice Reilly” registered.   It struck me, perhaps Reilly was her dad’s name, and that Beatrice was our Beatrice!  Also I began to wonder where Beatrice had got her name from.  The name Eleanor obviously runs in the family, but Beatrice?  That was a new one.  Maybe that was her paternal grandmother’s name? Of course, all total guess work mixed with a bit of detective work.

I took to the internet and began to search the Scottish census for a Beatrice Reilly (or similar) in the Edinburgh area who would be about the right age to be her dad’s mum.

I found one!  A Beatrice Reilley, wife of John, born in France (an Italian subject) in 1867, I also discovered her maiden name was Cuilli through one of the “suggested records”.  This would fit with something I remember mum’s birth father saying years ago when he visited in the 1980s.  He said that there was some link with France.

Of course, not 100% proof of my theory, but still, the case overall is very appealing, don’t you think?

If you’ve heard of any of these people, especially Frances Eleanor Chapman, my great grandmother, i’d love to hear from you.  You can contact me by clicking here.






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