Looking for Richard Bottom - England - probably Deptford area

+4 votes

One of my direct ancestors is proving rather elusive, and with a name like Richard Bottom, you'd have thought he'd have been relatively easy to find.

I have his name from the birth certificate of his son, but have not been able to locate him on a census or find a birth, marriage or death certificate - his birth may have been pre-1837 though, but I thought a marriage would be doable.

I have his wife, Sarah (nee Mitchell) and eldest two children in the 1861 census and it gives her relationship to the head of house as wife, but the husband is missing from this census transcription and I've been unable to find the bit he is on!  https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:Q2MG-KFTP

She is a widow in 1871, but even with those windows I can't seem to track him down!  I'm guessing he was probably born locally, but don't really know where or when.

Many thanks for any help!

WikiTree profile: Richard Bottom
in Genealogy Help by Deborah Smith G2G6 Mach 1 (10.8k points)

Richard Bottom

 in the 1861 England Census

View 1861 England Census

  • View blank form
Name: Richard Bottom
Age: 23
Estimated birth year: 1838
Relation: Lodger
Gender: Male
Where born: Knaresborough, Yorkshire, England
Civil Parish: St Peter
Town: Derby
County/Island: Derbyshire
Country: England

Street address:


Condition as to marriage:


View image

Registration district: Derby
Sub-registration district: St Peter
ED, institution, or vessel: 18
Neighbors: View others on page
Household schedule number: 24
Piece: 2501
Folio: 108
Page Number: 6
Household Members:
Name Age
Thomas Carr 39
Ellen Carr 23
William Carr 7
Richard Bottom 23
John Calahgan 25
William Smith 24
Thanks Betty - have now managed to locate on FamilySearch (good for linking as it's a free source).  Bottom has been transcribed at Bollan (and Carr as Can!), so that would probably explain things!

1 Answer

+3 votes
Working at it from a different angle, the baptism of Richard & Sarah's son Richard b. 14th July 1857, bapt. 2nd Aug 1857 at Deptford show's father Richard's occupation as a Fireman. Baptism of sister Eliza on 6th November 1861 also records his occupation as Fireman. I'll look further in a while
by Michelle Wilkes G2G6 Pilot (123k points)
edited by Michelle Wilkes
By the time their daughter Martha was born in 1863, Richard's occupation had improved to "Engineer," but he could have just used that term for a steam engine fire stoker.

I haven't been able to find any suitable entries in the census that match his occupation. There was a John & Fanny BOTHAM living in Deptford, but I can not see a Richard living with them in earlier census

I can not see an obvious death registration either ....so you have to consider the possibility that he deserted and changed his name. 

His last child Charles appears to have been born in 1868, so he should have died 1867-1871

Thanks for your help Michelle and Betty :-)

Some searches are better with name variants than others!

We'd originally had the surname in this branch of the family at Bottomley due to an error on a certificate, so I suppose I shouldn't be surprised at it throwing another spanner in the works!  We did always think it a Northern name in origin, so perhaps I shouldn't be so surprised at the Yorkshire connection.

I think this may be him in the 1861 census as he's married and a fireman, so that all adds up.  I'm just not clear exactly where he is from this transcription!


That looks like it could be him! He is on the ship "Leo" which is of the port of London, but not clear if it is actually docked at London on the night of the census or whether "out at sea" somewhere. The schedule was delivered to the Master of the ship R. B. Hant on the 28th March 1861 at London.


Edit: that information is on the previous page of the actual census image.
The ship sailed weekly between London & Holland, so it is possible Richard may have died at sea...
Hadn't thought of that one!

Would that sort of death not be registered or just not in the normal way?

I have another ancestor who was on her third marriage before she was 25 and the families were fisherfolk from Great Yarmouth, so I've sort of assumed that the first two husbands probably died at sea, but there is a death certificate for at least one of them.

It is a bit hit and miss. I just checked the FMP overseas death register and couldn't see anything 1868-1871.

I spent the last 17 years trying to find any proof of my son's paternal grandfather's death - he died in 1974 off an oil rig in the North Sea, and there was no record of death in the overseas register. It was only this year that I found confirmation of place/year when burial registers and probate were released online.

I also spent 30 years looking for a death at sea for my great grandmother's first husband - as he supposedly fell overboard around 1910 - only to discover him in the 1939 register alive and well!

edit to say my great gran remarried in 1910 as a "widow" - I'm not sure if she knew he was still alive or not!
just had a look at the schedule for the "leo" in 1861 and there is also a not on the bottom of the previous image saying that it "arrived 10/4/61" i.e. 10th April 1861
Thanks Michelle.

Can you read his place of birth at all?  I have Derby or Derbyshire, but hoped I could narrow it down!
Thanks.  I think I'd probably chose a name other than Bottom if it were me, but there you go!

Sometimes the enumerators get things wrong and sometimes our ancestors are just a bit careless with the truth!

Related questions

+2 votes
1 answer
60 views asked Mar 5, 2017 in Genealogy Help by Deborah Smith G2G6 Mach 1 (10.8k points)
+2 votes
0 answers
158 views asked Feb 27, 2014 in Genealogy Help by anonymous
+6 votes
3 answers
457 views asked Jan 27, 2015 in Genealogy Help by Steven Mitchell G2G1 (1.4k points)
+6 votes
1 answer
+8 votes
1 answer
+9 votes
3 answers
48 views asked Jun 4 in The Tree House by Renee Mitchell G2G Crew (400 points)

WikiTree  ~  About  ~  Help Help  ~  Search Person Search  ~  Surname:

disclaimer - terms - copyright