Skip to main content

Stage and TV actor makes family history breakthroughs thanks to Deceased Online

This week, I am delighted to introduce a guest blog by actor, Paul Rider, who, when using the Deceased Online database to search for his great grandfather's burial record, chanced upon his great aunts' entries too.
Paul Rider is an actor well known for both Shakespearean stage roles (including at London's Globe Theatre) and to a wide range of radio and TV appearances including Doc Martin, Eastenders and French and Saunders. Although he now lives in South London, he hails from the West Midlands and has been fascinated by researching his family history.
He contacted us recently to tell us how, after three decades of searching, he made some great personal family history discoveries through the records on www.deceasedonline.com. Here's Paul's story:

For some time I'd been researching my family and in particular looking for the grave of my great grandfather, Richard William Rider.

I’d examined birth, marriage and death registers when they only existed in physical form at the General Register Office (GRO) in St Catherine's House; census records that were only available on microfiche; 19th century wills; newspapers at the old Colindale Library and latterly letters found at the National Maritime Museum from a Royal Navy ancestor of mine and sent to Admiral Nelson.

I've had a 30 year long passion for researching my family history after a chance conversation at a hospital bedside in Coventry during the early 1980s. Having been brought up in the Midlands I was by then living in London and my Aunty Hilda on the other side of the hospital bed enquired, “Whereabouts in London are you living?"

When I told her I was living in Brockley she replied, "I'm sure that's where Dad (my Grandfather, Kenyth Rider) lived as a small boy. I remember we were passing through London and we found ourselves standing outside some large cemetery gates and Dad said, 'That’s where my family are'. . . I'm sure that was in Brockley."

It was that conversation that resulted in me eventually discovering that those cemetery gates belonged to Nunhead Cemetery and that I was living in a street just 100 metres from the house where my grandfather had grown up at the turn of the 20th century.

Earlier this year I said to my son, "Let’s go for a walk" and we ended up strolling into Camberwell Old Cemetery which is approximately 400 metres from my front door. As we walked along the paths chatting I began to wonder again as to where on earth my great grandfather, Richard William, might be buried.

Back in the 1980s I’d once knocked on the door of the gatekeepers lodge at Camberwell New Cemetery to discover he was safeguarding the records for all the other cemeteries in the area. With his help I’d found the grave of my great grandmother in Nunhead Cemetery but not her husband.

When we returned home I went on the internet and searched for any new information regarding the burial records of Southwark. I knew he had to be buried in the borough but where? Every other search had proved fruitless.


Camberwell Old Cemetery Register entry for Richard William Rider (on the top line) 
It was at this point that I was directed to www.deceasedonline.com and within minutes had discovered that he was buried in a common grave in the very cemetery we had left only minutes earlier. In addition to that information I also found the burial plot of two spinster great aunts, Adelina Sayes and Elizabeth Sayes, who lie together in a grave only metres from the entrance to the cemetery.
The gravestone of Paul's two great aunts

We immediately returned to the cemetery and first found the headstone of my great aunts with an inscription clear to the eye although now 130 years old. Armed with our map we then searched amongst the brambles for the grave of my great grandfather. Because he lay in a common grave we could find no headstone but thanks to the Deceased Online map we knew approximately where he was.

I’ve lived near the cemetery for 27 years and to think he’d been on my doorstep all the time was such a comforting feeling.

Thanks very much to Paul for sharing his story with us. We love hearing stories of discoveries in the Deceased Online database. We also love the coincidence that, unbeknown to him, Paul had been living near his ancestors' graves for 27 years. Many genealogists find themselves returning to an old family borough or county. Have you found any ancestors buried close to where you live? If so, please let us know via the Comments Box below or on our Twitter or Facebook pages.






Comments

Popular posts from this blog

London's Spa Fields

Deceased Online has just uploaded around 114,000 burial records from Spa Fields in the modern London borough of Islington Spa Fields today, with the Church of Our Most Holy Redeemer in the background Spa Fields Burial Ground became notorious in the 19th century for its overcrowded and insanitary conditions. Located in the parish of St James, Clerkenwell, the grave yard was not far from the ever-increasing City of London. Spa Fields was known also as Clerkenwell Fields and Ducking-pond Fields in the late 18th century, hinting at a dark side to what was then a summer evening resort for north Londoners. What would become a cemetery was a ducking pond in the rural grounds of a Spa Fields public house. It was here in 1683 that six children were drowned while playing on the ice. In his History of Clerkenwell (1865) William J. Pinks wrote that visitors, "came hither to witness the rude sports that were in vogue a century ago, such as duck-hunting, prize-fighting, bull-baiting

Wakefield Collection: Cremation Records now available on Deceased Online

Records for both crematoria in Wakefield, Yorkshire have been added to the Deceased Online database Above: Pontefract Crematorium The two sets of crematoria records have been added to Deceased Online 's Wakefield Collection .  Wakefield district contains nineteen cemeteries and two crematoria. Many of the records go back to the mid and late 19th century when the cemeteries opened, and range across a wide geographical area. The full list of  Wakefield  cemeteries live on Deceased Online,  with opening dates in brackets,   is as follows: 1.  Altofts Cemetery  – Church Road, Altofts, Normanton  (1878)   2.  Alverthorpe Cemetery  – St Paul’s Drive, Alverthorpe, Wakefield  (registers from 1955) 3. Castleford Cemetery  – Headfield Road, Castleford  (1857) 4.  Crigglestone Cemetery  – Standbridge Lane, Crigglestone, Wakefield  (1882) 5. Featherstone Cemetery  – Cutsyke Road, North Featherstone  (1874) 6. Ferrybridge Cemetery  – Pontefract Road, Ferrybridge, P

Churck (Rock) Cemetery, Nottingham

Coming soon to the Deceased Online database: two historic cemeteries from Nottingham City Council to add to the Nottingham Collection . This week, I explore the history of the renowned Church Cemetery (also known as the Rock Cemetery) . At first glance, the modern visitor to Nottingham's Church Cemetery may think they have wandered into Kensal Green , or another of London's Magnificent Seven cemeteries. The 13 acre site abounds with the kind of gothic stone monuments and large sarcophogi with which the mid-Victorians liked to remember their dead. Yet look harder and you will find something unique to Nottingham - sandstone caves. Since the middle ages, the area around Nottingham was quarried for its sandstone, now known by the name of a nearby village as "Bulwell sandstone". From 1851, after the cemetery was laid out on the former sandpits, local people grew to know it simply as "The Rock".  Church Cemetery Otherwise known as the Rock Cemetery on a