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The mystery death of Kezia Rosina Southon

I often seek to investigate the reason for unusually young deaths within my family tree - especially as we get into more modern times when such things were at least a little rarer (well, supposedly). One such case was my 2nd Great Aunt, Kezia Rosina Southon who died aged 22. Rosina was the name given my birth mothers sister so it appeared to have been passed on and was something that had profoundly affected the family. Rosina has appeared, so far, just one other time before in my maternal family.

I received her death certificate yesterday and the cause of death was as equally surprising as the location.

She died on the 21st of June 1915 at the Royal School for the Blind in Leatherhead. This location is now called "SeeAbility". I certainly prefer the original name!

Her death was listed as Peritonitis, lasting 5 days, and exhaustion. On wikipedia the potential causes of this "include perforation of the intestinal tract, pancreatitis, pelvic inflammatory disease, stomach u…

Standard Offering - Sample Output

I wanted to give an example of what can be expected for a standard offering. I was able to turn around the following, with appropriate citations (from BMD / census records) fairly quickly. The standard offering is a "no frills" 5 generation family tree (your great great grandparents). All i required was whatever information could be provided to me. To produce this tree the client gave me his name and birthday, his parents names and birthdates and his grandparents names. This may not be possible in every case - or more could be provided - but it is usually enough to do the job. There is also no guarantee that a tree can be filled out entirely. In this case it was.

In the interest of confidentiality - the client, and his, parents are not included in the below screenshots. I loaded this .GED file into ancestry.co.uk to demonstrate, if you like, that you are able to continue the research yourself. The standard offering can be a good primer and start point for that.

On the email …

Jack Dixon, and the rumour of his decapitation...

When i spoke to my first DNA contact within the Dixon family one of the first things they told me about Jack Dixon [1928-1968] (who i may be more directly related to than would initially be considered) was that he had been decapitated in a fatal road accident, in Surrey, in the late 1960's.

It is not in our immediate thoughts to question such things. In fact a quick turn up of the registers of deaths does indeed confirm his death.



I left that to lie for a while in favour of other tasks and research i wanted to do but the graphic nature of his death kept coming back as a question mark in my mind. I made a careful search of local newspapers which turned up nothing of this grisly death. I guess the question started to form in my mind that... was he really even killed in a car accident?

This is a prime case when, outside of a registry or death, we absolutely need a death certificate. I ordered one and it answered my questions.



Something also circumstantial worthy of mention which coul…

The family of Emil Winker - Part 2

In the last article we discuss the immediate birth, immigration and subsequent family of Emil Winker (1866-1919). Now we need to delver deeper into who his parents and siblings were, where they came from, and where they went.

We are confident that Emil was born in Spaichingen, Wurttemberg deep in the southern part of Germany at real crossroads in Europe. Switzerland, Luxembourg, Austria are all in close proximity.

In Emil's marriage to Katherine Schroeder, in 1898, we learned of his parents names.


This gives us our first starting point... although, finding a marriage between Lawrence and Elisabeth, anywhere in Germany, proves initially troublesome. We know for a certainty they were both native-born Germans like their son. This is a fact and there would have been no reason to lie about that on the census returns when listing their parents birth country. Locating them in records from Wurttemberg will prove to be difficult and it is not a skill set i have - yet. So i initially parked…

The family of Emil Winker - Part 1

I offered to help trace the family history of a good friend of mine recently and, after he passed on the details i needed to begin my search, i asked him which branch he would like me to delve into first and this [Emil] was the one he chose. Details of living (or recently deceased) people are withheld - exactly as they would be for any similar such research shared online. This information i am sharing here is 100% publicly available to anyone.

The start point for my research is for Emil Winker (1866-1919).

I knew the details of his son which in turn gave me my start point for him. Emil Winker spent most of his life in Iowa. We know this thanks to the various Iowa State / US Federal Census' records that we have (more on that). From the records we quickly learn that he was not native born in Iowa. He was actually from Germany. He arrived in the USA in May 1883 from a ship sailing from Hamburg as a 17 year old teenager and was among some 1.4 million German settlers who came to the un…