let’s not jump to conclusions

It is easy, when researching your family history, to make assumptions that take the research down utterly incorrect turnings. I imagine that everyone has been guilty of this – in the rush of discovery it is easy to get carried away. It is also easy to be stymied by someone else’s assumptions when they are published on the internet as fact.

I have been searching for the birth and death entries for George Hand Bond, who married Ellen Jannion and was the first of the Bonds that I had found on any records. The name is unusual enough and there are a number of entries by that name amongst the International Genealogical Index entries available on www.familysearch.org. I was thrown by the fact that none of them seemed to fit with the facts I had – facts I had checked via certificates and wills.

I know from the 1841 census that George was living with Ellen and four of their five children in Runcorn, Cheshire [where Ellen was born and where the Jannion family had been for at least two centuries] and working as a attorney’s clerk. Ellen died of consumption in May 1843 and in the 1851 census their daughters were living with Ellen’s parents in Runcorn. George Jannion Bond was living in Tyldesley, Lancashire [more of which shortly] as an apprenticed Boot Maker and John Bailie was in Over, Cheshire apprenticed to a draper. The third son, William, was also in Tyldesley, living in the same street as George and apprenticed to a whitesmith.

Ellen’s father, John Jannion, died in 1854 and in his will he states very clearly that both Ellen and George are dead. So George Hand Bond must have died between 1843 and 1854. As he does not appear on the census of 1851 and his children are living either with grandparents or apprenticed out, it seems safe to assume that he died before the March quarter of 1851. This is where it gets interesting. There is no death certificate available for someone called George Hand Bond for this period, but someone of that name was married in 1849. Having found the entry for this person on the 1851 census, it is definitely not our George Hand Bond, so it must be one of the others that come up when searching the LDS genealogy site. I sent off for a couple of death certificates for a George Bond who died in either Cheshire or the Cheshire borders of Lancashire but neither were our George Bond.

Google came next, and this is where I finally decided that there was erroneous information on familysearch.org. If you do a strict search for “George Hand Bond” in google you get this link . Scrolling down you find a monumental inscription for George Hand Bond, son of Benjamin Paul and Susannah Bond. Note that our George named one of his daughters Susannah – not always a coincidence when researching family history. The MI reads that George Hand Bond died November ~~th 1845 aged 42 years. This ties in with one of the entries on the IGI, but someone has added to that record that George Hand Bond had a wife called Mary and died in 1855 in Hulme, Manchester.

I now believe that someone has added information from one of the other George Hand Bonds to the baptism entry for our George Hand Bond which has led me a merry dance and confused the issue horribly.

Since I now know where and when the George I now believe to be the one I am looking for died, I should be able to find a death certificate. Here again I meet an obstacle. The only entry that seems to fit is one for George Henry Bond, who died December quarter of 1845 in the registration district of Leigh, Lancashire. Leigh covers Tyldesley and everything else is correct apart from the middle name so I sent off for the certificate which arrived this morning. The date of death is correct, the place of death is correct and his profession is that of a solicitor’s clerk – which matches that of the George Hand in our family. The only problem is the middle name but, as I found William Frederick Besch registered as Frederick William Best with his age 10 years out, I am only too aware that this information is not infallible. I believe that this is my ancestor and that the familysearch.org site has incorrect information on it.

All the George Hand Bonds who show up on the IGI are actually related as from my research I have discovered that Benjamin Paul Bond’s elder brother was called George Hand and his son also called George Hand. So I can see where the confusion came from, especially as both Benjamin and his brother’s son moved from Staffordshire to the Manchester area of Lancashire during the first half of the nineteenth century.

I would love to be able to prove this beyond all doubt but considering all the evidence it seems the likely conclusion. The fact that two of George and Ellen’s sons are living in Tyldesley at the 1851 census which is where their father died and where their paternal grandparents lived seems to be a strong sign that I am correct and that the IGI is wrong.

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