Family history Henry WARD b.1837 engine driver Peterborough

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Family history Henry WARD b.1837 engine driver Peterborough

Post by illjaorterpa » Thu Apr 05, 2018 3:21 pm

I have been researching my Great grandfather Henry Ward who was born 1837. He lived in Peterborough and from 1881 census he was a Railway engine driver. I have traced him and his wife Sarah through the 19th century and in 1901 and 1911 census they were living in Great Eastern Railway Cottages, Fletton, Peterborough. He was by then a retired engine driver. 1911 is when I loose any information about either of them. I cannot trace either death registrations. I have been trying to find where any employment/retirement records would have been kept but with no information at all. I have contacted the GERsociety but they do not have any information. Can anyone help with suggestions?
Many thanks

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Re: Family history Henry WARD b.1837 engine driver Peterborough

Post by Seagull » Sat Apr 07, 2018 10:59 am

Hello Jill,

I did a search on Ancestry and the death registrations others have found there point to;-

Henry WARD 76 Lincoln 7a 692 Jan-Mar 1913
Sarah WARD 86 Yarmouth 4b 32 Apr-Jun 1930

A search on FreeReg should bring both of these up.

I cannot verify that these are correct, but hopefully you have enough information to do this.

Happy hunting! :-)

Playing trains, but trying to get serious

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Re: Family history Henry WARD b.1837 engine driver Peterborough

Post by GNR Genealogist » Mon Apr 23, 2018 5:34 pm

There are staff records of GER staff at The National Archives at Kew.

A list of those records is available in David T Hawking's book "Railway Ancestors - A Guide to the Staff Records of the Railway Companies of England & Wales 1822-1947". Appendix 3.1 is the relevant section. The book is available on Amazon to buy but your nearest main library should have a copy, or any library should be able to get a copy through the intra-library loan scheme.

Alternatively, the Great Eastern (who he worked for) produced a very good Staff Magazine in which retirements/deaths would have been noted, sometimes in some depth (occasionally with photographs). The Great Eastern Railway Society provide copies of the magazines, although to obtain copies you need to be a member (details on their website). Assuming Henry was born in 1837, he would have retired around 1902, presumably in Peterborough.

If Henry survived into LNER days, his death would almost certainly have been noted in the LNER Staff Magazine, DVD's of which are also provided for sale by the Great Eastern Railway Society.

As you are probably aware, the General Register Office are still offering a pilot scheme whereby you can obtain pdf's of uncertified birth and death certificates up to, I think, 1916 for £6 - a saving of over £3 from the normal cost for a certified copy. You need to be fairly certain that you are ordering the correct ones as it can get a bit expensive otherwise!

I have checked the records of the Associated Society of Railway Servants and also the National Union of Railwaymen (which cover a period from the early 1870's to the late 1920's) and there is no record of him belonging to either union. It is possible he belonged to ASLEF, which would be logical as he was a driver, but then many footplate crewmen also belonged to the ASRS/NUR. ASLEF records have not been digitised and are held at the University of Warwick's Modern Records Centre.

Just a thought - did they (or perhaps the survivor) go to live with a son or daughter in later life?


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