News and Blog

The latest news and information from the Achievements team.

  1. The curious case of “That’s It” Restell

    Recent research of one George Restell, born in around 1886 at Northfleet, initially did not give any reason for intrigue.  He was present in the 1891 census with his parents, and whilst he had been incorrectly named as Joseph rather than George in 1901, he was again living at home with his family. His birth was registered in the December quarter of 1886 in the Strood registration district in Kent. So far so good.

    Matters became a little more intriguing when a copy of his birth certificate was obtained. It recorded the following information:

    Whilst George’s forename was recorded in the final column, under “name entered after registration” the original forename given was “That’s it Who’d have thought it”. Such an unusual name! Particularly as George was not even a final, perhaps unexpected, child.  He was the second child of Robert and Louisa Restell, born just three years after their marriage when both parents were in their 20s. The certificate shows that it was the father who registered the birth, so perhaps he thought he’d have some fun at the time. Who knows?!

    What it does go to show is that it is always important to obtain original documentation, rather than relying on other sources, or perhaps indexes.  There was no indication in the General Registration indexes that any other forename had been given at birth (presumably as the name had been amended very soon after registration) and the child was known as George in later life.  He remained living in Kent, and died in 1948.

     

  2. What is a “cess collector”?

    Sometimes an occupation on an historical record can bring you up short. Whilst researching genealogy all sorts of odd terms crop up, and this week it was the occupation of a county “cess collector” on a birth certificate.

    First thoughts turned to sewage, as in the more familiar “cesspit” but that did not feel right for the research.  In fact, the term “cess” is used to mean rate or tax, and comes from the word “assessment”, and so the father of this child was the local rate collector.

     

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