Most Wanted

 Elusive People

What became of Joseph Walker?

Joseph was born in 1876 in Steeple Aston, Oxfordshire. He was the youngest of 11 children of John Walker and Hannah nee Beck.

In 1881 and 1891 he was living at home with his Father in Fir Lane, Steeple Aston. But after that there is no record of him at all.

Two possible leads:
(1) In 1895 a Joseph Walker, aged 19 left Liverpool for Halifax, Nova Scotia on 7th February on board the Laurentian. No address details. Perhaps he decided to go meet up with his older brother Jonathan who lived in Halifax.

(2) The following year (Oct 7th) a Joseph Walker left Southampton for Buenos Aires on board the Nile. He was 19 and a Salvation Army officer. Elder brother Richard was also a Sally Army officer.

Of course both of the above could be the same Joseph, but I can find no record of an arrival from Halifax or Buenos Aires back into England

If anyone can throw any light on what happened to Joseph I would be very pleased to hear.
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What happened to Jacob Baker?

Jacob Baker was my 2nd Great Grand Uncle. He was born 28 December 1825 in Bethnal Green, Middlesex, 3rd son of Isaac and Sarah nee Capps. He was baptised 6 weeks later at St Matthew, Bethnal Green.
Until 1846 his occupation was a carman, but subsequently he became a labourer, although from 1875 he was recorded as a bricklayer. I have details of his address right through until 1891 (from 1861 he lived at 31 (Old) Ford Road, Bow. He is listed in the 1890 and 1892 Electoral Register at this address, but in the 1891 census he is not recorded at this address, although his son Thomas James is there.

I cannot locate a death record for Jacob, but there is no sign of him after the Electoral Register in 1892. Just to confuse issues he was sometimes recorded as John or even John Jacob Baker, especially in later life. His baptism record is Jacob though. He also had a son that was named John Jacob.

Question is why he was recorded in the Electoral Register in 1892 if had already died, and why does he not show in the 1891 census. I guess Electoral Registers were like now collated at a certain time in the year and if people died subsequently they would still show on the Register. But is it likely that he would have died before April 1891 and still shown on the 1892 Register?
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When and where was Joshua Ryall born or christened?

Although I have a marriage record for Joshua in Calbourne, I have never been able to establish his whereabouts at any time prior to his marriage. Ryall is not an Isle of Wight name, though there are one or two earlier references, so I guess he migrated from some other part of the British Isles. But where? There are, not unsurprisingly, many migrants to the Island from Dorset, and there are many Ryalls in Dorset, so this would be the obvious choice, but I can find no reference to the birth or baptism of a Joshua Ryall in Dorset in anything like the right period.

If anyone can help in this area this could break through my longest standing brick wall.
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Benjamin Ryall (b1823)

Benjamin Ryall was the 3rd son of my 4*Great Grandparents William Ryall and Mary Chiverton. He was christened in Shorwell, IW on 10 Aug 1823, no indication that he was anything other than an infant. I have not found any trace of Benjamin in later life, with the possible exception of a sighting in the 1871 census:
1871 census: Grenadier Inn, Hailsham, Sussex RG10/1042/26/5/25 Benjamin Ryall Lodger Mar 45 Laborer Isle of Wight Ann Ryall Wife Mar 46 Isle of Wight Another lodger from the Island was George Edmunds 40, possibly related to Ann?

Another possibility is that he emigrated to New York, US 1880 census has:
Benjamin RYALL Household Male Other Information: Birth Year 1821 Birthplace ENG Age 59 Occupation Boot Maker Marital Status M Race W Head of Household Benjamin RYALL Relation Self Father's Birthplace ENG Mother's Birthplace ENG, but spose given as Louise

Any other ideas what happened to Ben?

Recently I struck lucky and now know what happened to Benjamin between 1842 and 1849. He enlisted in the St Helena Regiment of Foot, and thus was in St Helena during this period. He served 6 months in prison during this time for being drunk on duty, but it seems this was almost the norm, St Helena being a desperate place to live. He was discharged on medical grounds having lost the use of his lower arm due to an accident with a window pane.

So some of the possible events can now be dismissed, such as the possible marriage and possible transportation. Nevertheless there is still no sign of him after his return from St Helena in 1849 other than the 1871 census.
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Edward Pittis the baker of Belfast and Bangor

Edward Pittis was born on the Isle of Wight in 1817, served as an apprentice baker in Portsmouth from 1832, was a baker in Southampton in 1841, and married Ann SWATHERIDGE in Bonchurch, Isle of Wight in 1846.

I found some years ago that in 1851 he was the co-owner of "The Isle of Wight Bakery" in Castle Street in Belfast, and now I have found several new references to him and his business online through the British Library Newspapers searchable records for the Belfast News Letter. I now know that in June 1864 he established The New English Bakery at 79-81 Main Street, Bangor. This came as a complete surprise to me. Through various adverts in the News Letter I found that he was still trading from this address in 1871, but then the trail goes cold.

I was told that Edward had 2 children, but I have not been able to find any information about them at all, and nothing about Ann, his wife after their marriage. I also cannot trace Edward after 1871. Do any trade/street directories exist after 1871 for Bangor that might help identify whether he traded any later than that year? Also are there any parish records available for Bangor that might shed some light on this family?

Thanks to Doreen Walker of the NIFHS I now have burial dates for Edward and his wife, though his wife is now Jane rather than Ann. Edward Pettis, age 58, residing in Bangor - burial date 6 Jan 1874 Jane Pettis, age 60, residing in Bangor - burial 17 Jan 1876
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Harry Ryall's marriage

Harry Ryall married Mary, sometime between 1891 and 1913, when Mary died. I cannot locate Harry in the 1901 census, and have failed completely to find a marriage for Harry and Mary in England or Wales. I am left to imagine that they married overseas, hence his absence in 1901.

All I know about Mary is that she was born about 1864 in Southampton (don't know if this means the County or the Borough) according to the 1911 census, and that they had allegedly been married 11 years when the census was taken.
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 Mystery Photos

Albert John Keen, Brighstone, 1920s

After many years I have finally been able to identify the type of motor cycle that my Grandfather was pictured on outside The Cottage in Brighstone. Thanks to Elizabeth Welch and her husband it is a BSA 'Round tank' built in the years 1923 to 1927. They had a sidevalve engine, 2 speed gearbox (later luxury models had 3 speeds) with a brake on the back wheel only, this could be operated by hand or foot. The brake rim is visible on the offside of the rear wheel. They were chain driven. The handlebar has a large horn on it (not an acetylene lamp as previosuly thought). A picture of a preserved example at the National Motorcycle Museum can be found at