Thank you for getting in touch.
Back in August last year, I was seeking details of my great grandfather Henry Gough, who was in the Royal Navy. I gave Brendan his name, the name of his ship, and the approximate date of his birth. On this occasion Brendan came up trumps, because this is what he found for me:
Henry was born 28th November 1850 in Southampton, Hampshire, England, there is no death date, he must have left the navy.
Name Gough, Henry. Official Number: 61770. Place of Birth: Southampton, Hampshire. Date of Birth: 28 ...
Admiralty: Royal Navy Registers of Seamen's Services. Registers. Name Gough, Henry. Official Number: 61770. Place of Birth: Southampton, Hampshire. Date of Birth: 28 November 1850.
Collection:Records of the Admiralty, Naval Forces, Royal Marines, Coastguard, and related bodiesDate range: 01 January 1873 - 31 December 1873 Reference:ADM 188/41/61770Subjects:Armed Forces (General), Navy
I duly ordered Henry's birth certificate from the GRO (I couldn't find him in the BMD registers, but I asked the GRO to search) but they came back to me saying that there is no record of him! (I asked them to search from 1849 to 1851 inclusive).
I checked the 1871 census and sure enough, there is a 20-year old Henry Gough, born Southampton, listed as a seaman on board the HMS Duke of Wellington in Portsmouth harbour. So he definitely existed! But why no record of his birth, and where do I go from here to try to trace him? (What I am after is the names of his parents, so that I can trace the family tree backwards).
In a nutshell, these are the questions I would like to put to you:
1. Do you have any idea why Henry's birth would not be registered? - I thought this was compulsory in the 1850s.
2. Could the fact that he was born in Southampton provide a clue - born on board a ship, perhaps? (I'm probably grasping at straws here)
3. Would the navy records perhaps show his next of kin? (who would presumably be his father when he enlisted)
4. Have you any idea at all of what, if any, steps I can take to track him down?
I look forward to hearing from you!