Back to Utah – the Ranson Family

I’m going back to researching in Utah right now because its so much easier! This time I’m looking at Troy’s maternal line, specifically the Joseph Hyrum Ranson and Vilate Elizabeth Corless family.

Joseph and Vilate, about 1915

Joseph and Vilate, about 1915


Working my way backwards is the easiest way to do this and since their deaths are so recent (Joseph – 22 Feb 1975, and Vilate – 28 Dec 1963) censuses seemed like the best way to start. Here is the most recent available census, 1940:

1940 U.S. Census, Ogden City, Weber County, Utah, population schedule, Ogden City, Ogden Precinct, 4th Ward, enumeration district (ED) 29-53, SD 3, sheet 1B, household 14, lines 48-49, Joe Ranson Household; digital image, ( : downloaded 24 July 2014).

1940 U.S. Census, Ogden City, Weber County, Utah, population schedule, Ogden City, Ogden Precinct, 4th Ward, enumeration district (ED) 29-53, SD 3, sheet 1B, household 14, lines 48-49, Joe Ranson Household; digital image, ( : downloaded 24 July 2014).


1940 US Census
Utah, Weber County, Ogden City, Ogden Precinct, 4th Ward
SD 3, ED 29-53, Sheet 1B
28 April 1940

Lines 48-49. Gramercy St. [Ave.] 2765
Household 14, Owned, $3000 value, not a farm

Line 48. Ranson, Joe. Head, Male, White, 54, Married. Didn’t attend school this year, completed 8 years of schooling. POB: Utah. Living in 1935: same place. Employed, worked 40 a week, Electricitian, RR [railroad] Shops, private work, 52 weeks worked in 1939, $1781 income in 1939, no farm.

Line 49. —–, Vilate [x]. Wife, Female, White, 56, Married, Didn’t attend school this year, completed 0 years of schooling. POG: Utah. Living in 1935: same place. Household work.


At this point in their lives Joseph (Joe) and Vilate are living in Ogden and their children have all left home. It appears that Joseph was employed over the previous years (even though it was a depression) perhaps because he had a skill – electrician. Also, it was interesting to me that he had only an 8th grade education while his wife had completed 0 years of schooling. This is as reported by Vilate herself (with the x next to her name). Also, Joe earned $1781 in 1939. According to various online inflation calculators that is about $30,000 buying power today. Times sure were different! The address of 2765 Gramercy Ave. looks like this, today:



Posted by on 24 July 2014 | Posted in Census, Corless, Ranson | Comment

George and Eliza (Barnes) Freestone Marriage Certificate

Last time I mentioned that I had found the index record that matched for George Freestone and Eliza Barnes marriage. I went ahead and ordered the certified copy of the original record.

George and Eliza (Barnes) Freestone Marriage Certificate

Suffolk, marriage certificate (long form), George Freestone and Eliza Barnes, June 20, 1847; Suffolk County; General Register Office, London, England, UK. Wangford, vol. 13, page 769, entry 25.


George Freestone and Eliza Barnes were married in the Parish Church in the Parish of Bungay Trinity in the County of Suffolk on 20 June 1847. He is the 22 year old son of Isaac Freestone, and she is the 20 year old daughter of Joseph Barnes, both labourers.  At the time of the marriage the bride and groom were both living in the Parish of Bungay Trinity, he working as a labourer and she as a servant.

What I learned

This copy of the original marriage record gave me more information than I already had – that was the point of ordering it, right?!

  • I now have the specific marriage date – 20 June 1847.
  • I also have their ages at marriage which helps corroborate their birth dates. George’s age matches the birth date I already have for him of 6 Mar 1825. But, Eliza’s birth date of 18 Jul 1829 doesn’t match with her given age of 20. Those dates were inherited in the database and had no sources linked to them, so I will have to do more research to find the actual birth dates. This marriage certificate at least points me in the right direction.
  • The bride and groom as well as their witnesses were illiterate since they all used “x” and their mark.
  • It appears that Eliza’s relatives served as the witnesses. Perhaps the Joseph Barnes is her father (or maybe brother). I’m not sure about the Eleanor. Although, again from the inherited database, Eliza had a brother and sister by those names.

What now?

I need to investigate these families more fully. But, before I work backwards in time I need to be sure I find all the children of George and Eliza and also find their death records.

Holy Trinity Church, Bungay, Suffolk, England, UK

Posted by on 21 June 2014 | Posted in Barnes, Freestone, Marriage Certificate, Marriage Record, United Kingdom | Comment

George and Eliza (Barnes) Freestone Marriage

Trying to work my way back in England has been a bit tougher than I thought.

Yesterday I discussed how I found Edward Freestone’s (b. 1825) birth registration. The next logical step seemed to be to find his parents’ marriage record.

What I already knew

All that I had from the database I inherited from Troy’s Aunt was:

George Freestone, b. 6 Mar 1825 in Flexton, Suffolk, England was married about 1864 in England to Elizabeth Barnes, b. 18 Jul 1829 in St. Lawrence, Ilketshall, Suffolk, England.

The only evidence for this information was that “England” was correct for their birth places based on their son Edward’s US census records.

There are some issues with this marriage date. First, its not very specific in regards to both date and place. Second, according to this same inherited database George and Elizabeth’s first child (Alfred) was born in 1848 (16 years prior to the alleged marriage date). Of course, that may well be the case but it does raise some concern and leads me to question the accuracy of that information (either the marriage date or Alfred’s birth date).

So now to find the Marriage Record

I went to once again but now had to be a bit more strategic. I did a search for “George Freestone” who would have married at any time between 1840 and 1870. Since I had to specify a county, I chose Suffolk, since that is where both George and Eliza were born (according to this inherited database – hey, you have to start somewhere) and where I found Edward (their son’s) birth record.

I saved this search as a PDF. That way I could compare it to my search for Elizabeth. Since all that freeBMD gives is the one person’s name and their record number I had to find a matching Elizabeth with the same marriage record in order for there to be a George Freestone marrying and Elizabeth Barnes.

Here’s a screenshot of what that looks like:

names - foundNote that under Marriages in June Quarter of 1847 (April-June) there is an Eliza Barnes with the same record Volume and page number. This was the only match of a George Freestone marrying and Eliza Barnes.

This must be my couple!

So, now I know which record I need to order. I can now request the certified copy of the filmed original from the UK General Register Office and wait a few weeks for it to arrive.

For now, as I wait, I can at least change the marriage date in my database to a more specific: April-June 1847 in Wangford, Suffolk, England, United Kingdom.

Posted by on 19 January 2014 | Posted in England, Freestone, Marriage Record | 1 Comment

Edward Freestone’s Birthday


I have two possible birth dates for Edward Freestone.

My first known birth date was 7 July 1855. I have done quite a bit of research on Edward and have quite a few sources for his life. In fact, for this specific date I have 9 sources!

Sources for 7 July 1855

  1. Edward Freestone’s Death Certificate. Edward’s death certificate gives his date of birth as 7 July 1855 and the location as England.
  2. 1900 U.S. Census, Edward Freestone Household. Gives Edward’s birth date as July 1855 and place as England.
  3. 1910 US Census, Edward Freestone Household. Edwards Age is listed as 55 years old in the 1910 census, which would make his birth year about 1855. Also, lists his birth place as England.
  4. Newspaper Announcement of his upcoming 80th birthday, dated 5 July 1935.
  5. 1920 U.S. Federal Census, Ralph G. Warner Household.The 1920 US Census states that Catherine Warner (Freestone)’s father (Edward) was born in England.
  6. 1930 U.S. Federal Census, Ralph G. Warner Household. 1930 US Census list’s Katherine Warner’s father’s birth place as England.
  7. 1920 U.S. Census, Edward Freestone Household. Age on 22 Jan 1920 reported as 64 years old, and birth place as England.
  8. 1930 U.S. Census, Edward Freestone Household. Age on 9 Apr 1930 reported as 74 years old and birth place as England.
  9. Edward Freestone’s newspaper obituary, printed 9 May 1941. Gives age as 85 and birth date as July 7, 1855 at Suffolk county England.

As you can see, only 2 sources (his death certificate and obituary) specifically give 7 July 1855 as Edward’s date of birth. The rest either give just his age, or place of birth. So this is the date I went with.


I went looking for his Birth Registration.

To find Civil Birth Registrations for the UK you need to look through the index and then order the copy directly form the General Register Office. I used is the index and found my potential Edward. The problem with the index is that it only lists births/marriages/deaths by Quarter (So Jan-Apr, Mar-Jun, July-Sep, Oct-Dec) and then Gives the District, and Volume/Page where the entry is found. Luckily I knew that Edward was born in Suffolk County, but there were two possible results.



Both of these Edwards were born in the Sep 1855 quarter (July-Sept 1855) in the same county. No other information is listed in the index so, unless I order the certified copy, I won’t know anything else. I decided to go with the Wangford District since it was closest to the town of South Elmham, which I already had in my family records.

Here’s the digital image of the original index.


After my £9.25 fee was paid, and about two weeks later, I received the certified copy in the mail.

Luckily it was the correct one!




Edward born 16 July 1855 in St. Cross Southelmham, in Bungay, Wangford, Suffolk County, England, United Kingdom. He is the son of George Freestone and Eliza Freestone, formerly Barnes. His father, George is an Agricultural Laborer, and is illiterate since he used “x” as his mark.

But, this record does bring up some issues. Edward’s birth date is listed as 16 July 1855 instead of 7 July. So, which record(s) are correct?

I decided that since the only other records I had that explicitly stated the date of 7 July were his death record and obituary that perhaps this birth record (which was registered on 27 Aug 1855) is most likely correct. The informant on his death certificate was his son George Freestone who most definitely was not present at his own father’s birth. And, Edward’s obituary was again written 85 years after his birth by someone who was not present. Ultimately, I “know” my own birth date only because its the date that someone told me (or that I remember someone telling me). But, since this record was created much closer to the actual date, I believe it to be more accurate.

But, does it really matter?

Ultimately, no not really.

However, for accuracy sake, yes it does. Also, this birth record gives me a lot more information that I need to continue working backwards in time. I now know:

  • Edward’s birth date is 16 July 1855.
  • The location of his birth was St. Cross, Southelmham, in Bungay, Wangford, Suffolk County, England, UK – which narrows down where I might search for other vital records for his family.
  • His parents were George and Eliza (Barnes) Freestone – which should help me in tracking down their marriage record.
  • And just for fun, I know that George was an Agricultural Laborer (farmer?) and that he was illiterate.


Posted by on 18 January 2014 | Posted in Birth Record, England, Freestone | Comment