Saturday, 26 February 2011

Alexander Kerss 1824 - ??

Last week I wrote about Robert Kerss and mentioned that the 1841 census showed an Alexander Kerss, aged 17, living with him. The obvious assumption would be that Alexander was Robert's son, but I had found no further evidence to support this.

After writing the bio of Robert I decided to have another try to find Alexander. I'd looked on the IGI before but now searched the new Family Search website for any Kerss children baptised in Co Durham. All I found were the children I already knew about. Then I tried searching for other spellings - in the records I've found so far, Kerss has been spelled/indexed in several different ways (Kerss, Caurso, Carss, Caurse, Course, Kiss, Carse, Kirse and Cass to date, plus some other transcriptions even further removed from the real name).

I tried searching for Cass. In retrospect, I should have tried this earlier. Robert's wife Frances died in November of 1824 and was listed in the burial register as Frances Cass. So I searched for a Cass baptism, parents Robert and Frances. And the first hit was Alexander, born 29 October and baptised 5 November 1824 at St Peter's Church, Monkwearmouth. Frances was buried two days after the baptism. So not only had I identified Alexander, I had also discovered the likely cause of Frances' death - it's most likely that Frances died as a result of childbirth.

To confirm that I have the right family, I checked the Bishops Transcripts on Family Search, and found the following entry:

the profession of the father suggests that it is the right family.

So I've solved one mystery. But I've gained another: so far, I've had no luck finding Alexander in any subsequent census or vital record. I've found his cousin Alexander (a year older) but not this Alexander. So the search goes on....

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