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Unusual Discovery in Nunhead Cemetery

This week we welcome a post by Society of Genealogists’ trustee, Amelia Bennett, who was delighted to solve her own family’s mystery in Deceased Online’s Southwark Collection.
Nunhead Cemetery
My 2 x great grandmother Caroline Lageu was adopted in 1873, when she was 13 years old, by Alfred Strivens Hudson and his wife Ann. Her biological parents had died tragically young after falling on hard times. Caroline’s mother, Caroline Lageu senior, died of consumption in 1869.  Her husband, Thomas’ luck was dropping even before then, having started at a pub just off the Strand, then one on King Street (now Kingly Street between Regent Street & Carnaby Street), then out to Walworth, and finally ended up at a pub on Well Street, Hackney in east London.
I had searched for some time for the burials of Caroline’s biological parents’ (my 3x great grandparents), but found nothing. The search was complicated by the fact that Lageu is such an unusual surname that it is almost always mistranscribed. 

I decided instead to turn the hunt to records of Caroline’s adoptive parents. Using the Deceased Online database, I found a grave record at Nunhead Cemetery for Alfred S Hudson in 1888.  After looking at the burial register summary on the website, I checked the details of the other occupants of the grave (reference number 123/8973).  Although this often just gives unrelated people, this time I found a treasure trove. 


Firstly, there was Thomas Lageu (mistranscribed in the record as “Lagen”), Caroline’s father, who was buried on the 7th February 1873. 

Details from the Deceased Online database showing the list of those interred in grave 123/8973 at Nunhead Cemetery
Entry in the burial register of 7 January 1873 showing Thomas Lageu
Also, there was Caroline Lageu (née Jones), Caroline’s mother.  Then there were two other Lageus – Francis & Henry.  Looking at their records, they appear to be twin sons of Thomas & Caroline senior – they died a few months apart. Before discovering them on Deceased Online, I had no knowledge of these two at all.  Also, there was William Lageu, Caroline’s younger brother who died in 1875 aged 11.  I knew about him but hadn’t known that he had died at the young age of 11. 

In addition, Carrie Lageu Smith is there – that was one of the daughters of Caroline Lageu and her husband Frederick William Norman Smith – I had known about her but hadn’t managed to track down her burial.  

Even more exciting was the discovery in the grave of a William Jones. When I reviewed Caroline’s mother’s tree, it became clear that William was Caroline Lageu’s uncle. He had been born in Mold, Wales and, with such a common name, it was unlikely I would have ever traced him down to London. I’m very pleased I chose to check the records on Deceased Online. This experience confirmed to me that I should always check grave details in full!

The records for Nunhead Cemetery can be searched on the database in the county section of London in the borough of Southwark.
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       Have you found any Welsh or other non-English ancestors in the Deceased Online collections? Have you managed to find your ancestor in burial records after failing to find them elsewhere? If you have found any of your family members in the Southwark Collection, we'd love to hear from you! Contact us in the box below or on our Twitter and Facebook pages. 

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