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Tips for finding people post-1940?

Discussion in 'General Genealogical Queries' started by cfbandit, Apr 24, 2023.

  1. cfbandit

    cfbandit LostCousins Member

    I tried searching the forum for this and didn't have much luck. While I dont want to cite names, as it would be against their right to privacy, I wondered if there is a place to share tips for finding people in the UK post-1940?

    An Aussie adoptee and I are working together to solve the mystery of how she is connected to my family, and if she has any cousins left in the UK.

    We managed to find her grandfather, who was married to my relative in Mansfield. Sometime around 1940, he apparently abandoned my relative and their two children, moved to Australia, and lived with another woman and had a whole line of children there.

    The two of us have diligently been working the electoral registers at FindmyPast, and managed to find several children for the two kids of my relative that are still in the Mansfield area, making them my cousins and her half-cousins. Pairing that with Freebmd, we found more info about their spouses, but have yet to find any birth records for their children.

    Are there any other records we are missing for people post-1940? We've checked social media sites and can't find any potential links there (the Brits seem to be much better at privacy controls on social media than Americans are!).
  2. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    Data protection means that there are very few online records that relate to living people. But you don't mention ships' passenger lists - these go up to 1960.
  3. cfbandit

    cfbandit LostCousins Member

    Its definitely a challenge! I have a whole list of sources I use when checking for living folks in the US and Canada, but finding them in the UK is new to me. I will check the ships passenger lists, thanks!
  4. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    Perhaps you would like to share them with the rest of us?

    For example, if I want to research my branches in Ontario I'm hampered by the fact that the birth and marriage indexes at Ancestry only go up to 1916 and 1938 respectively. I've picked up some information from the Toronto Star archive ($$$) but otherwise I'm reliant on Ancestry trees and DNA matches - it doesn't help that the Calver surname, which is fairly rare, has daughtered out.
  5. Stuart

    Stuart LostCousins Member

    I'm surprised by that. The GRO indexes are available on Ancestry and FMP and FreeBMD, up to 2000 at least, and with the mother's maiden surname. The GRO index also now comes up to 2021, but with a big gap in is coverage (1935-1983) and without the MMS.

    I've also found company records useful, and not just for those listed as directors. Some people form a company just to own something like a house they rent out, mainly because it's simpler to transfer shares to a child than to change the entry in the land registry. So you might be looking for that parents in that case. Wills are another place to look, and again it's the parents, grandparents or other older relations you are looking for, who might name the younger ones.

    Finally, there is the BL newspaper archive, though with little content after 1990. Children did get their names in the local papers a lot, because the papers knew it sells copies to the parents - sports, prizes, performing, and much besides. And of course university entrance, graduation, and similarly their other activities.
  6. cfbandit

    cfbandit LostCousins Member

    Now that's in my wheelhouse! :) Here's the ones I use most often:

    Proquest.com has the Star and the Globe and Mail newspapers (the biggest papers in Toronto) through 2019. Its available at many libraries, but I'm not sure its available outside of the US/Canada.
    Toronto Public Library's digital archive goes through 1954, so it can be helpful.
    Library and Archives Canada has indexes you can can search on their website that for different collections, can go as late as 1953. I'm particularly fond of the School Agency Records, as I have a lot of native Canadian family. People actually tend to stop there if there's only an index, but their archived digiform site can have actual images even if its just the index on the new one.
    For King and Country is the best place I've found for Toronto school records, they go into the 1970s.
    The Toronto Public Library also has city directories through 1969.
    Le Necrologue has obituaries up to the current day from all across Canada. tip: if you find one there and you can only see the beginning and you don't see the local information to click on, google the information - its often available on the local newspaper or funeral home website for free.
    Ancestry has phone directories from Canadian provinces through 2002, but they tend to be spotty. I like canada411, their records are the most complete for phone numbers.
    United Church of Canada Archives has church records through 1971 available digitally, but their catalogue goes even further. If you find something interesting, contact the archivist, many times if the information is small enough they'll save a digital file it and send it to you for 50cents a page, or they have a scanning service (it is expensive, though, just to warn). UCC also
    Archeion is one of my favorite "hidden gems", it is run by the Archives Association of Ontario and they have digital objects through January 20, 2023 loaded. They only update a few times a year so the collections don't change quickly, but the high quality images and wealth of information are awesome.
    Public records searching isn't quite as easy as it is in the US, but I love the index at this site, where it leads you to the individual sites they are located at.

    Plus the usual newspapers. Most libraries in Canada have their own city history page, so you can often find a lot that way. I tried to keep this list Ontario based - there's plenty more as each province has its own additional sites.

    Then add on top of that social media - particularly Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram are super helpful. I've done a presentation at my local gen. society about how I figured out a DNA match thanks mostly to following the path of Facebook posts for an Alberta-based relative.

    If you find something that's only available locally, I've hired people through Kijiji before to retrieve it, they are an online classifieds page similar to Craigslist.
    • Thanks! Thanks! x 1
  7. cfbandit

    cfbandit LostCousins Member

    So update now a couple days later - we were using FreeBMD and striking out completely. I struggle with the GRO index at Ancestry, but FMP for the win - we found a couple more children and four living grandchildren. Not a lot to go on, but one of the grandkids had a public Facebook so we made some definite progress in mapping the grandchildren out into families!
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 27, 2023
  8. Stuart

    Stuart LostCousins Member

    I should have made that clearer - in that case I mean the GRO's own index (part of their certificate ordering service at www.gro.gov.uk).

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