02 November 2006

Ancestors in the Attic: week 3

The most interesting segment this week was about a WW1 soldier, Herbert Bessent. The first name is variously Herbert and Hubert, and the last Bessent and Bessant. He won the Military Medal at Passendale, but according to family information abandoned his wife and children in Toronto, then married again in England before his first wife died. A descendant of the first marriage, Laureen, was wanting to find out where he was buried.

Its difficult to get all the information from the fast moving program, but fortunately Laureen has a Rootsweb posting with some of the information including his middle name, Arthur, not mentioned in the program. The first marriage in Toronto can be verified with Ontario marriage records from ancestry.ca. The award of the Military Medal shows up in the London Gazette.

In the program it was claimed that Hubert's death occurred on Christmas Day 1963 near Bristol, but the death index shows a registration in Weymouth which is in Dorset a fair way from Bristol. Dorset is also mentioned on the program web page in the Rootsweb posting and an earlier Rootsweb posting which specifies death at Dorchester, not far from Weymouth.

Unable to find a grave the program panel concluded, without any substantiating evidence, that the body must have been cremated. One wonders whether funeral director or crematorium records were searched, whether they were searched in the right location, and if a death notice in a local paper was sought.