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
- Edward Freestone’s Death Certificate. Edward’s death certificate gives his date of birth as 7 July 1855 and the location as England.
- 1900 U.S. Census, Edward Freestone Household. Gives Edward’s birth date as July 1855 and place as England.
- 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.
- Newspaper Announcement of his upcoming 80th birthday, dated 5 July 1935.
- 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.
- 1930 U.S. Federal Census, Ralph G. Warner Household. 1930 US Census list’s Katherine Warner’s father’s birth place as England.
- 1920 U.S. Census, Edward Freestone Household. Age on 22 Jan 1920 reported as 64 years old, and birth place as England.
- 1930 U.S. Census, Edward Freestone Household. Age on 9 Apr 1930 reported as 74 years old and birth place as England.
- 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 freeBMD.org.uk 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.
|Joaquim Pedro da Silva, b. 1910, taken Summer 1995 by me
In the summer of 1995 my family traveled to Brazil to visit family. I was 14 years old and had never met most of them. I clearly remember meeting my Great-Grandfather Joaquim. He was an hilarious, albeit crotchety, old man.
Since I’ve had such trouble with the search for my Grandmother Lindalva’s birth record I stepped back and thought maybe she might not have been born in Joao Pessoa after all. Her father, Joaquim, was born in Alagoa Grande, about 100 km east of Joao Pessoa. So, on a lark, I decided to look through Alagoa Grande’s parish records to see if I could find Joaquim’s birth/christening record.
Here’s what I knew* before I started:
* by knew I mean that my father had collected these dates/places from speaking with family members many years ago…but there are very few documents (yet) to support these claims.
Joaquim Pedro da Silva
b. 9 Jun 1910, Alagoa Grande, Paraiba, Brazil
m. 15 Sep 1948, Joao Pessoa, Paraiba, Brazil
d. 24 Dec 2001, Joao Pessoa, Paraiba, Brazil
Note: his marriage date is 14 years after his oldest child, my grandmother, was born. That date comes from a copy of his civil marriage certificate. Perhaps they were married in the Catholic church on another date but didn’t register the marriage with the government? As always, more research is needed.
So, I went off in search of his christening record, and here’s what I found:
|Source: Family Search, “Brazil, Catholic Church Records,” digital image, Family Search (familysearch.org : downloaded 11 March 2013), Image 95, page 89, Entry 252; Brazil, Parish and Diocesan Records – Paraíba – Alagoa Grande – Nossa Senhora da Boa Viagem – Batismos 1909, Ago-1911, Maio.
SERIOUSLY!!!???!!! Come on now! Not only is the page torn away but the microfilm-er didn’t move over the small stub of the previous page which covered some of what was left. I even tried using the next page (back side of this one) and darkening the bit you could see through the page to see if I could read it. Nope.
Anyway, I believe entry number 252 to be his. Here’s what I’ve worked out:
By looking at a previous entry (from the top of the page) I decided that this particular scribe had a “template” for all his entries. (I double checked that this was the same throughout the previous and subsequent pages.)
Template: Date of baptism, “I baptized in the font of this Parish”, Name of child, age of child in days, parent(s) names, godparents names, testify of truthfulness and signature.
So what did I learn from this record?
- A child named Joaquim was baptized on or around 9 June 1910
- The child was perhaps 23 days old or even 23 hours old?
Researching in Brazil is hard!
Since looking at my Grandfather’s death certificate I thought I should try to track down the other “documents” of his life. First, I decided to find his birth record.
Source: Family Search, “Brazil, Catholic Church Records,” digital image, Family Search (familysearch.org : downloaded 13 September 2011), Christening of Genival de Macedo, 8 Apr 1921, Sao Sebastiao, Picui, Paraiba, Brazil, page 32, entry 76; from dioceses and local parish archives throughout Brazil.
Aos oito de Abril de mil novecentos e vinte e um baptizei solenemente a Genival nacido o um de Abril do mesmo anno, filho legítimo de Antonio Avellino de Macedo e Leonizia Marinho de Macedo. Foram padrinhos Abdias Genuinro de Farias e Celidonia Marinho de Farias.
Para constar fiz este assento.
Pe. Antonio Augusto, Vigário
Casou-se na Arquidiocese do Rio de Janeiro, com Deolinda Ferreira aos 2-10-1948
On the 8th of April of nineteen twenty one I solemnly baptised Genival, born on the 1st of April of the same year, legitimate son of Antonio Avellino de Macedo and Leonizia Marinho de Macedo. The godparents were Abdias Genuinro de Farias and Celidonia Marinho de Fairas.
For the record I made this entry.
Father Antonio Augusto, Vicar
Married at the Archdiocese of Rio de Janeiro to Deolinda Ferreira on 2 Oct 1948.
About the side note:I thought it was interesting that the priest went back and noted Genival’s marriage to the side of his birth record. My father said that since Genival’s mother died when he was a young child he was raised by another woman and when he joined the military he gave his name with that woman’s maiden name as his middle name (which is the Brazilian naming custom) to honor her. When he went to marry my grandmother the name he gave was different than what was on his military records so the priest requested a copy of his original birth record to verify who he was. So, when the priest in Picui looked up his birth record he noted to the side that Genival married Deolinda.
I know my Grandfather was a navy man all his life and retired from the military. I would love to get access to his military records and corroborate all the stories he told us when we were kids. According to grandpa, during World War II his ship was sunk twice…he even had a wicked scar on his arm to “prove” it. I’d love to find the records that show him as assigned to those ships and records of what happened to those ships…perhaps even photographs. I may have to assign this out to my grandmother since she is in Rio and may have to go to some repository to get those documents.