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12 Jan 2012

By golly it's Bollington

This is an image taken from the probate indexes.  I originally found this in 1992, but this was long before digital photography and when I later got a camera, taking pictures was forbidden in a court building, and I had too many research items to waste time getting a microfiche print-out.  But here it is.  I deduced that Esther Fox had died young based on the will that never was: it even let me guess the year, 1856.  With a determination perhaps stupid, I combed through all the Fox probate indexes in the fiddly fading volumes above the Next 'clothing' store, as a schoolboy, and found this!  It was then an easy matter to wait three years and take the tube from Lancaster Gate to Chancery Lane to view the Bollington town microfilm for 1861 at the census rooms.

You can do all this at the touch of a button, but I had the upper-hand, genuinely being on virgin territory. I don't even believe the local family history society had even yet attempted a crude surname index, and the various 1881 indexes on fiche were absent too. I was very confused to find a whole load of Fox stepchildren mingling with Esther's children in the census owing to James having taken n his brother's children and their mother, too. The family was living across 5 counties by 1891, but I have finally laid them all to rest, 18 years later.

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