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The following are the sources. All are publicly available, most on the internet through such as Ancestry and in county and the national archives. Copyright is held by holders of the material. Click on the links for detail.

Railway Staff Records

There are several types of record:

The Censuses

Held every decade in years ending in figure 1. Details are not released for 100 years, so only those from 1841 (the first in full form) to 1911 are available at time of writing. They show the people residing in each house at midnight on a Sunday in late March or early April - name, relation of each to head of household, age, gender, occupation, place of birth. The later censuses contain one or two extra features probably not relevant here. It should be noted that it is a count of households, not families - a person is counted where he is spending the night, which may not be his home address. Being a snapshot once every ten years, most of those spending only a short time at Ashchurch will not be captured in a census.

The 1939 Register

On 29th September 1939 a national register was taken, by household, similar to the national census. It was in preparation for the impending issue of wartime identity cards and ration books. This register is now available, in parts heavily redacted, at the National Archives and on-line through various family history sites. It provides names, gender, marital status, date of birth and occupation details of those in the household. In most cases the occupation details are the first available since the 1911 census (and the 1921 when this is released). It assists in identification of railway personnel between the wars.

Electoral Registers

Nothing like as detailed as the census but an annual rather than ten-yearly record. They list those eligible to take part in elections, giving just name and address, though in villages the address may be no more than the name of the village. There are limitations:

Before 1918. Only men aged 21 and over who were householders (including some tenants) were qualified for inclusion. There were three types - house-owners, tenants of houses and certain other tenants.

After 1918. All men aged 21 and over were eligible. Also Women aged 30 years and over if they were householders or wives of householders. The restriction for women was lifted in 1928, after which they had full equality with men.

The 21-and-over age restriction, and before 1918 the householder requirement, means that many of the younger railwaymen do not appear in these lists.

Registers of birth, marriages and deaths

These date from September 1837. They show the place and time of registration of an event (not the place and date when the event happened). The country was divided into registration districts, each containing a registration centre. Ashchurch was in the Tewkesbury District up to 1934, then Cheltenham, and it is these that are shown in the registers as the place of birth, marriage and death. Also, lists were compiled and published quarterly, so that the information contains not the date, but the quarter of the year in which the event was registered. An event occurring in the last few days of a quarter may be registered at the beginning of the following quarter. When this occurs at the end of a year the year of registration will be one later than that of birth/marriage.death.

Nevertheless there is useful information. After about 1912 the maiden name of a bride is shown (this can also be obtained in pre-1912 material), and in death registration from later in the 19th century the age at death is shown.

Ecclesiastical parish records

These are the handwritten records of baptisms, marriages and burials in churches of the Church of England. They give the exact date of the events. Useful personal information includes

The London Gazette

This is an official journal of the British Government. Its output includes promotions and movements of military officers, and despatches from conflict areas during wartime.

The Kelly Directories

The Kelly's Directories were issued annually by county. They included, in the case of villages, a description and history of the place and a list of businesses. There was also a small list of residents, actually the "cream of society, such as landowners, the Church of England vicar, leading personalities in the village. Railway workers would not normally qualify to be included here. The exceptions were stationmaster Lewin, who ran a business while also stationmaster, and, in the residents section, the manager of the Provident Stores, and manageress of the Refreshment Rooms. It has so far been possible to see only a very small number of these directories.

Military Documents


This data has been researched and produced by Brian Harringman. Comments, additions, and especially corrections would be gratefully received.