30 January 2008

FreeBMD and the Unsolved Case of Ann Loader

Several years ago, I was reading a brief history of a branch of the Loader family. The history stated that Ann Loader, born 19 April 1825 at Kingston, Oxfordshire, immigrated to the United States in 1855 with her son, William Loader. According to the history, she was the widow of Charles Loder. The writer stated that no one had successfully located the marriage of Ann Loader to Charles Loder. What a challenge for a genealogist!

All births, marriages, and deaths were registered with the government beginning in 1837 in Britain. Indexes to the British Civil Registration records are available on microfiche, however, the British researcher now has access to a searchable index through the website, freebmd.rootsweb.com. The index provides the year the event was registered, the quarter—March, June, September, and December of the event, the district, volume and page number of the registered information. With this information, a certificate of the event can be ordered. The certificate provides the names of the individuals involved in the event, address, exact date of the event, and the name of the person who registered the event. This information varies depending on the type of event.

I quickly logged on to freebmd and proceeded to conduct a search for Charles Loder or Loader in the Thame registration district. I found no entry for a groom of that name in the appropriate time period.

Next, I searched for Ann Loader or Loder in Thame. An entry was found for Ann Loader married in December quarter of 1846, registered at Thame. I clicked on the page number to see the name of others recorded on that page—this will usually show the groom, however the names often appear randomly, not consecutively. There was no Charles Loder/Loader.

I ordered the certificate to find the name of the groom. After several weeks, I received the certificate from England. There was Ann Loader, the daughter of James, from Aston Rowant, married 19 Nov. 1846 at Aston Rowant to James Coleman.

Further, I searched for the birth of William and located his birth. I sent for that certificate and discovered that Ann Loader Coleman gave birth to a son, William Loader Coleman, 4 Oct. 1849 at Ewelme, Oxfordshire. No father was listed on the certificate.

In the 1851 census of Aston Rowant, I located Ann Coleman, a married lacemaker, and her son, William Coleman. James Coleman was not listed, nor was Ann listed as a widow.

What a mystery. Ann was clearly married to James Coleman, her son was named William Loader Coleman, but no father was recorded on the birth certificate. No member of the Loader family recorded any information concerning this first marriage of their sister, Ann. Why did Ann drop the name of Coleman when she immigrated in 1855? Why did William Loader (Coleman) believe that his father was Charles Loder? Some mysteries just cannot be solved.

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