Searching the OPR with no surname .....

Parish Records and other sources

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Searching the OPR with no surname .....

Post by SarahND » Sat May 06, 2006 7:46 am

Is there any way to search for an OPR birth knowing only the first name and date of birth, but not the surname or the parish? I know the surname of the father, but as the parents weren't married, his name doesn't seem to show up (or I assume I would have found it). I would dearly love to find out the full name of the mother, my 3rd great grandmother.

The story: Mary Isabel was born 26 Apr 1819 (or just possibly 1818) in, precisely.... Scotland :roll: Her grandchildren understood she was born in or near Aberdeen, but for various reasons it seems unlikely and might be Glasgow.
Her father was Peter Giles, an artist who had left his wife Jean Hector and his two children (one of whom the artist James Giles, RSA) in Aberdeen around 1814-15 and supposedly went to Glasgow before eventually settling in Belfast. Mary Isabel was supposed to have been named after her mother, who died at her birth or shortly afterward. She was brought up by her father in Belfast, but all later records state her place of birth as Scotland.

So... how does one find a Mary Isabel giving birth to another Mary Isabel on a certain day, without knowing the surname or the exact parish? Or, because of the illegitimacy, is it likely that the birth was never recorded and the needle isn't in the haystack after all?

Thanks for any suggestions,

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Post by LesleyB » Sat May 06, 2006 9:45 am

Hi Sarah
and a warm welcome to Talking Scot :D
If you knew the parish, a search through the relevant film would maybe be fruitful, but as you don't know where she was born this makes life doubly difficult. "In or near Aberdeen" covers quite a few parishes...and Glasgow!

As you mention she grew up in Ireland, you are unlikely then to find her on a Scots census which might have been helpful....

What about her marriage? death?

I hope someone who knows a bit about Irish records might be able to suggest something. Sorry I can't be of more help.

Best wishes
Midlothian & Fife - Goalen, Lawrie, Ewart, Nimmo, Jamieson, Dick, Ballingall.
Dunbartonshire- Mcnicol, Davy, Guy, McCunn, McKenzie.
Ayrshire- Lyon, Parker, Mitchell, Fraser.
Easter Ross- McCulloch, Smith, Ross, Duff, Rose.

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Post by SarahND » Sat May 06, 2006 3:51 pm

Hi Lesley,
Thanks for your reply. I didn't think there was some magical solution to the problem, but I thought I would try!

Mary Isabel Giles married in Belfast and then came to America in 1837. Her marriage certificate says nothing about her place of birth, unfortunately. And, because she was not in Scotland, the census records in the U.S. just say "Scotland" and not a county or parish. Sigh.

Peter Giles returned to Glasgow and appears to have died there only moments before the 1841 census enumeration... His ancestry is another brick wall and even with his famous son, none of the biographers seem to know anything more about it (in fact, usually somewhat less than I do!)

You have given me an idea though. I know her date and place of death, but do not have the death certificate. There is a slim hope that her birthplace is given on that document but, of course, the information is only as accurate as the knowledge of the people who filled in the form. It is worth a try.

Back to the microfilm!

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Post by BobG » Sun May 07, 2006 6:11 pm

Hello Sarah,

I've been meaning to write this for sometime but just never found the time. Yes, there is a way to search the online IGI with just a first name or just a last name or even no name for that matter. The trick is to understand that little box labeled "Batch Number". While you do your regular online IGI searching one will notice that a batch number always appears when search results are displayed on the screen. If the record you found was an "extracted" record the batch number will always start with the letter "C" or "M" followed by six numbers. If the batch number does not start with a letter the information was "submitted" by someone.

A batch number starting with a "C" is a Christening/Birth record while a batch number starting with an "M" will be a Marriage record. The number eleven (11) presently always follows the letters C or M. The key to "working" the online IGI is found in the next four numbers.

For example, lets take the Batch number C112031…C for Christening, the number eleven and then 203, which just happens to be the GRO (General Registrar Office) registration district number for the parish of Insch, Aberdeenshire. That's right, the three numbers after the number eleven is individual parish numbers. Insch is 203. Speymouth, Moray County is 143. Dunlop in Ayr County is 591, etc., etc. By using a Batch Number of an individual parish you will narrow your search down to the Christening/Births or Marriages of that particular individual parish. Keep a list of parish numbers handy.

Now to explain the last number in a Batch Number. It can be a number from 1 to 9 but in most cases it will be a number from 1 to 5, depending on the size of the parish. The number indicates a time frame, which may vary parish to parish.

Lets go back to Insch Parish and use the batch Number C112031 and the first name Alexander…search results will give you eighty-seven Alexanders, regardless of surname, born in Insch between 1855 and 1875. Change the last number to two (2) and you will be given 56 Alexanders born between 1684 and 1713. Change the number to three (3) and nothing will be displayed. Use the number four (4) and over 200 Alexanders born between 1718 and 1855 will be displayed. In other words by changing the last number you will get groups of events during different times. You will have to experiment by changing the last number because each parish may be different. Your other search parameters must be filled in too if you are searching in Scotland…Region is always British Isles and County is Scotland. Note… this same procedure also works in other countries.

Hope that helps.

Researching Grigor/Roy/Symon in Morayshire & Banffshire. Mearns/Roy/Low in Insch & Auchterless, Aberdeenshire.

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Post by Ted » Sun May 07, 2006 6:30 pm

Hi BobG

I for one would like to say a big thanks for explaining this for us all - I have searched before on the Hugh Wallis batch numbers but did not know how to search by interpreting the batch number codes on IGI. This is a really useful tool for advanced searches - off to get started on some of my brick walls now.

Thanks again

Looking for Allan / Gordon / Troup / McInnes / Grant / Taylor / Jackson from Aberdeen (city & shire) & Banffshire
Alexander / Allan / Stewart in W Lothian
Allan / Burnett in USA and Canada / Davidson & Philp in Fife and Lanarkshire

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Post by Rosie K » Sun May 07, 2006 6:54 pm

Thanks BobG very useful information and explained very well.

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Post by mallog » Sun May 07, 2006 9:07 pm

Thanks Bob ! I have just started searching by batch no. but now I have it explained in detail I don't need to know the number - I can work it out. :D
Anderson, McAlpine, Blue - Argyll
Dunn Fife /ML
Coutts, McGregor - Perth/Govan
Glen, Crow, Imrie - Angus
Scott & Pick ML
Mason - Co Down

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Post by DavidWW » Sun May 07, 2006 9:13 pm

And such a valuable and informative post that it's been copied to the FAQ Forum so that as many as possible see it.


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Post by JustJean » Sun May 07, 2006 9:59 pm

Nice job Bob...... \:D/ =D> ......(and about time......... :- ).....

Best wishes

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Post by BobG » Sun May 07, 2006 10:17 pm

Yes Jean, it was about time I wrote that out. Sarah's question got me off my duff. Now I suppose you want me to write about the difference or not so difference between "extracted" records and "submitted" records contained in the IGI. I'll work on that over the next couple of days. I have enough examples to use now.
Last edited by BobG on Sun May 07, 2006 11:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Researching Grigor/Roy/Symon in Morayshire & Banffshire. Mearns/Roy/Low in Insch & Auchterless, Aberdeenshire.

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