© D & DM Bailey 2005

Joseph Bailey 1870 -1937 and Alice Ratcliffe 1869 - 1929

Since starting to research the Bailey family history, we have been unable to confirm Joseph’s date of birth.  We had a copy of a page in a Family Bible which listed his date of birth as 4 December 1870, but when we searched the on-line General Record Office (GRO) birth index for the entry, we were unable to find it even though we checked various spellings of ‘Bailey’.

Unable to find the birth record, we checked the Parish Registers for St Andrews Church in Ancoats, where it  seemed most likely  that he would have been baptised, given that the family lived in the area all their lives.  Unfortunately, we were unable to find his baptism - we did, however, find the baptism of his sister, Mary, baptised on 13 July, 1873.

On 12 April this year, we visited the Family Record Centre at Myddelton Street in London, and searched the actual birth indexes - and found the entry  under Joseph BAILY.  We had been checking for alternative spellings, but not mis-spellings.  We found it easier to search the paper copies than the online version - it’s more like looking down a long list, and something like this is much easier to spot.

The confusion appears to have arisen because although Joseph’s and both his parents’ names were initially recorded correctly as BAILEY, the informant’s name was recorded as Mary BAILY, so the registrar appears to have amended the spelling for the initial entries.  We now plan to search again for the Parish Register  entry for Joseph’s baptism.

Earlier this year, we decided to search the newspaper archives at Manchester Central Library, and we found this obituary for Joseph in the Evening Chronicle on July 26 1937:

‘On July 22nd 1937  at 54 Ainsworth Street, Ardwick, Joseph, aged 67 years, the beloved husband of the late Alice Bailey, interment at Phillips Park Cemetery on Wednesday, July 28th at  3 pm.  Enquiries to WH Hunt and Sons Ltd.  Ardwick 2951 and RUS 1893.’

We contacted the cemetery to ask for help in locating Joseph’s grave, and whether they had a record of Alice’s burial in 1929.  They told us that both Joseph and Alice were buried in public graves, and that it was unlikely that there would be any memorial stone.  We visited the cemetery and found that many of the public graves did have memorial stones, although a number were overgrown.  We located Joseph’s grave at Phillips Park, and have had it cleared.  We then located Alice’s grave, and had that cleared too.

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