Tuesday, January 2, 2018

William Doyle's U.K. Death Record

Undocumented family records tell me that my third great-grandfather, William Doyle, died in 1844.  Neither a specific date nor a location came with that information.  When I didn't find William in the 1841 U.K. Census with his wife, Martha, and their children, I began searching for an earlier death record for him.  Both FamilySearch and FreeBMD have online indexes available and FreeReg has transcripts of some parish records.  When a result at FamilySearch led me to the man who was probably my grandfather, I ordered a death record from U.K. GRO.

This is the record I received for William Doyle, Pitman.

The transcription:
  Superintendent Registrar’s District Castle Ward Union
  Registrar’s District Ponteland
 1838. DEATHS in the District of Ponteland in the County of Northumberland
  No.  98
  When Died.  First of September 1838 [probably Plessey Creek, Parish of Stannington]
  Name and Surname.  William Doyle
  Sex.  Male
  Age.  36 years
  Rank or Profession.  Pitman
  Cause of Death.  Run over by a Cart Wheel
  Signature, Description, and Residence of Informant.  S. Reed [?] Coroner Newcastle
  When Registered.  Thirteenth October 1838
  Signature of Registrar.  Proctor Shotton Registrar

When I searched for William at FreeReg I found transcribed burial information. 


It tells me that William Doyle, age 36, was buried at St. Cuthbert Church, Bedlington, Northumberland, on September 3, 1838.

Notes and Thoughts
  • Having searched the U.K. GRO online registry I found no other William Doyle who could possibly have been mine.  That leaves me fairly confident that this is my grandfather.  However, I would have been happier about the death record if William's wife, Martha, had been the informant instead of the coroner. 
  • Though William died in Ponteland he was buried in Bedlington.  The distance between the two is about 10 miles by today's roads.  
  • I had hoped that I might at least learn the name of his father and his birthplace, especially since he does not appear in any U.K. Census record, though I knew it was a slim possibility based on the GRO's guide to death certificates.
  • William's age at death helps me determine that he was born about 1802.  That's a starting point for further research, though lacking a location will be a detriment.
  • He died after being run over by a cart wheel.  How sad.  I wish for details.  Was it a coal cart?  Was it full or empty?  Did that happen inside a coal mine, outside near a coal mine, or elsewhere?  Might there be a newspaper article about his death?

Of course, I have more research to do.  At the very least I'd like to obtain a copy of the parish record for his burial.  And what other records might give his birth location and the names of his parents?  To date I have not found a parish record for his birth but even if I did, how would I know for sure it was his?  Ah, the challenges.

--Nancy.

Copyright ©2018, Nancy Messier. All Rights Reserved.

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