How do you narrow it down?

+2 votes
Despite having a few years experience at this whole genealogy thing, I'm still not very good at narrowing things down when it comes to older records, etc. Take my great-grandfather, for example. According to what I've found, his name was Cyril Charles Augustus Sexton, and he was born in Derbyshire, England around 1898. I know for certain he died in Trenton, Ontario, Canada in December 1939.

I've been looking on FamilySearch trying to find some records that might help. But the birth and census records for England within 5 years on either side of 1898 have a plethora of Cyril Sextons. How am I supposed to figure out which one is him, without bodily moving to England to try to dig through old books?

Any advice would be much appreciated.
WikiTree profile: Sid Sexton
asked in Genealogy Help by Andrea Smith G2G3 (3.3k points)

5 Answers

+5 votes
Do you know his wife's name? Marriage records may be more searchable. Also look for children and see if there are any clues to the mother's maiden name. The place of birth of the children can help narrow a search area. Did you check for a will? Do you have a death certificate? Sometimes the name of the person providing the information can give you a clue as to who to look for to narrow the search. Do you know when he emigrated to Canada? There might be an application for citizenship or registered alien status that can tell you where he was born. (I found my great grand mother's birthplace this way). Others might be able to search Ancestry for you, but I'm sure there are other free records out there. Happy hunting!
answered by Katrina Whitaker G2G6 Mach 3 (32.6k points)
+3 votes
Hi found a marriage for Cyril Charles Augustus Sexton in Islington London in 1913 he married a Lucy Mary Broadhurst surly with this name it must be the same person I have down loaded it so if you need a copy let me know. On his marriage he was 23 father Llewellyn.
answered by Alan Channon G2G6 (8.9k points)
edited by Alan Channon
+3 votes

In 1891 Charles Augustus Douglas Smith married Winifred Felicia Dawson Skevington in Derby

"England and Wales Marriage Registration Index, 1837-2005," database, FamilySearch ( : 13 December 2014), Charles Augustus D Smith, 1891; from “England & Wales Marriages, 1837-2005,” database, findmypast ( : 2012); citing 1891, quarter 4, vol. 7B, p. 944, Derby, Derbyshire, England, General Register Office, Southport, England

Two years later their son Cyril Charles Augustus Smith was born

GRO Reference: 1893  M Quarter in DERBY  Volume 07B  Page 518

I believe this is your man although the reasons for his surname changing to Sexton are unclear. Here he is in London in 1901, as Cyril Sexton, with a Winifred Smith although he's described as brother-in-law. There's something weird going on here.

"England and Wales Census, 1901," database, FamilySearch ( : 8 April 2016), Cyril Sexton in household of James Smith, St George The Martyr Southwark, London, Middlesex, England; from "1901 England, Scotland and Wales census," database and images, findmypast ( : n.d.); citing London Road subdistrict, PRO RG 13, The National Archives, Kew, Surrey

answered by Matthew Fletcher G2G6 Mach 6 (66.4k points)
edited by Matthew Fletcher
Brother in law had extra meanings back then. It not only covered your wife's brother, it also referred to step-brother/sister.

Maybe it's just a case of the person writing down the info for Cyril making a mistake with the dittoes.

The surname is given by ditto but it's not a mistake as Alan found Cyril getting married as Sexton in 1913. The 'Bro' of 'Bro-in-law' is written quite ornately and large so I don't think it can be an error. You're right that in-law was used for step- but this still looks like deception.

The Theodora Smith mentioned has a mother's maiden name of Skevington proving we have the same Winifred.

GRO Reference: 1900  M Quarter in ST GEORGE HANOVER SQUARE  Volume 01A  Page 480 

Therefore it appears that Winifred (who would've been at least 27) has knocked a couple of years off her age and is pretending her son is her younger brother. I suppose if Ann were Winifred's mother who had remarried a Sexton and later adopted Cyril it would just hang together but it looks like monkey business to me.

I found what looks like Winifred's death, but the age should be 72 not 62. There can't really be two Winifred Felicia Dawson Skevington/Smiths though.

GRO Reference: 1945  J Quarter in SUDBURY  Volume 04A  Page 840

In 1910 Cyril joined the Royal Artillery. I've found an image of his army details but it's behind a paywall. His age implies a birth around March 1892 although it was actually March 1893. I suspect he bumped his age up by a year (to 18) when he enlisted. His wife, as Alan found, is Lucy M Broadhurst and a child Winifred Lucy is listed. His place of birth is St Luke's, Derby. His trade is given as Grocer.

GRO Reference: 1913  S Quarter in STOURBRIDGE  Volume 06C  Page 105

+1 vote
In the 1891 census there is a Cyril Sexton, aged 8, living with James Smith and family. Also in the household is a female Sexton (possibly Ann) aged 49, described as Mother-in-Law who is also showing as born Derby. Looks as if his mother was widowed and remarried. Searching for Sexton marriages in Derby(shire) in 1893 or earlier might give you Ann(?) Smith's remarriage.
answered by anonymous G2G3 (3.7k points)
+3 votes

An Interesting morning, I've written out what I found as a timeline


1863 29 March. John Skevington 21 m Sarah Ann Perfect aged 20, milliner and dressmaker at Christ Church Derby

 Derbyshire Record Office; Matlock, Derbyshire, England; Derbyshire Church of England Parish Registers; Diocese: Diocese of Derby

1873 Winifred Felicity Dawson Skevington  was baptised in 1873, (no day and month given )the baptised the daughter of

John Skevington and his wife  Sarah Ann  at St Andrews Derby ( English  births and Christeningds; index only suggest this  may be Litchurch, Derby )

1881: Winifred,  appears,  on the 1881 census for Litchurch with father James, aged 40, mother Sarah, aged 40  , brother Arthur,  (all born Derby)

1891:  Winifred FD Skevington  appears, aged 18  on the 1891 census in Litchurch Derby with her mother Sarada,  aged 39 ! born Nottingham,  a widow. ( changed her Christian name and also  10 years off her age ? )

Also present is Charles A D Smith a boarder, a revenue clerk born Portsea, Hampshire.

There is also a female servant, though daughter has been crossed out Cicely H Perfect

1891(October 1891)  Winifred  marries  Charles Smith in St James Litchurch, her father John was deceased.

1891 Sarada A Skevington married Llewelyn  Sexton  4 Q  Derby 7b 1064

Update Have found a copy of her marriage cert on an Ancestry tree (don't check those, should have, others have trodden this path). It is the right woman she calls herself Sarada Ann Skevington  formerly Perfect)  Spinster has been crossed out and replaced by widow. There is a crossing out of Sara__ replaces by SA as her signature.

Her age on this cert is now 25 years!!!

Charles A Smith is one of the witnesses as is J Smith(?)

1893 birth of


GRO Reference: 1893  M Quarter in DERBY  Volume 07B  Page 51

(but note, Skevington is not his mother's maiden name if she was the wife of John Skevington)

1901 census  as below Cyril Sexton  ages appears with this James Smith and Winifred and their daughter  Theodora (who sadly dies later in the year)There is also an Ann Sexton sister in law (is this Sarah Ann/ Sarada? ) Cyril is Winifred's half brother.


Marriage register. St Mark Myddleton Square 8 March 1913

Cyril Charles Augustus Douglas Sexton 23, groom,  father Llewelyn Sexton clerk


Lucy Mary Broadhurst 20 father Samuel [Burge?] Broadhurst butcher deceased  London Metropolitan Archives; London, England; Church of England Parish Registers, 1754-1931; Reference Number: p76/mrk/0

1909 Zorada Ann Sexton (is this Sarah/Sarada's death? )

Estimated birth year:        abt 1847

Registration Year:        1909

Registration Quarter:        Apr-May-Jun

Age at Death:        62

Registration district:        Risbridge (suffolk)


answered by Helen Ford G2G6 Pilot (192k points)
edited by Helen Ford

And what happened to Llewelyn Sexton?

Looks as if he may have gone to South Africa.


A Mr L Sexton departs to Capetown on  16 Jul 1892 (is this him?)


Another Mr Sexton (or the same one having returned)  leaves for Capetown in 1893


If so he could have married another woman whilst Sarah was still alive.  If it is him, did he discover her true age?

Here a Llewelyn Sexton is married to a  Winifred Bain. This is the baptism of their child.

"South Africa, Church of the Province of South Africa, Parish Registers, 1801-2004," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 6 August 2017), Llewellyn Sexton in entry for Grace Sarah Sexton, 03 Jul 1902; citing Baptism, Cape of Good Hope, South Africa, p. 286, William Cullen Library, Wits University, Johannesburg.

Here a Llewelyn Sexton widower marries Annie Gale.

"South Africa, Cape Province, Western Cape Archives Records, 1792-1992," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 13 March 2018), Llewellyn Sexton and Annie Louisa Gale Grant, 07 Jan 1911; citing Marriage, Cape Town, Cape, Cape, South Africa, Western Cape Archives, Cape Town; FHL microfilm

Annie dies in 1949 but Llewelyn still living

"South Africa, Cape Province, Probate Records of the Master of the High Court, 1834-1989," database with images, FamilySearch( : 24 January 2018), Llewellyn Sexton in entry for MM9.1.1/QGK2-B4P5:, 1949; citing Probate, Grahamstown, Albany, Cape Province, South Africa, 1949, Pietermaritzburg Archives (Formerly Natal State Archives), South Africa; FHL microfilm 1,670,208

The Ancestry tree that I found with the birth cert has this second marriage attributed to Llewelyn who they say died in 1951

Since the maiden name and especially her age disqualify Sarah from being Cyril's mother, it looks to me as though Cyril was Winifred's son but Sarada Sexton adopted him. Recently found a similar case in my own family, with grandparents bringing up a daughter's illegitimate child after she married.
Great work but how do you explain the marriage between Winifred and C A D Smith? What relation is James to Charles? I'd found Sarah Ann Perfect but was wondering how she fit in.

For what it's worth I still think Cyril was actually the son of Charles A D Smith and Winifred. His name and earliest records bear this out. The later fiction was that he was Sarah/Sarada's who had to lower her age accordingly (although Winifred was no slouch there either).
Who though is James Smith, it isn't the man Winifred married who was Charles Augustus Douglas Smith . By the name that seems to link with Cyril.

 How did Sarah Anne/ Sarada/ Skevington nee Perfect manage to get away with being 25 at the age of marriage? .

(as you can see no answers Matthew, similar questions)
What if Cyril was Winifred's and Llewelyn's son, and when this was discovered Charles Smith did not want to bring him up and Sarada sent Llewelyn packing? No way to prove it, of course, but it would explain some of this.
This is so much information!

If the Cyril Sexton you all found is the same as mine, then Lucy Broadhurst must have died or been divorced? According to my tree, Cyril's wife was Margaret McCarthy, and they died after immigrating to Canada.

Related questions

+4 votes
1 answer
+3 votes
3 answers
64 views asked Jul 10, 2017 in The Tree House by Gilbert McCurdie G2G Crew (520 points)
0 votes
1 answer
+4 votes
1 answer
+3 votes
4 answers
103 views asked Jul 15, 2018 in WikiTree Tech by Amy Utting G2G6 Pilot (117k points)
+3 votes
0 answers
46 views asked Mar 3, 2018 in WikiTree Help by Enrico Davini G2G2 (2.9k points)

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

disclaimer - terms - copyright