Panama - death records

Discussion in 'Latin America' started by FreddieRabbit, Mar 9, 2015.

  1. FreddieRabbit

    FreddieRabbit Active Member

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    I'm not sure if Panama is considered to be Latin America or not, so apologies if I am in the wrong place, please feel free to move me if I am!

    I have reason to believe that an ancestor of mine, Charles Henry Alexander Forbes, a medical man, went to Panama from England in the late 1800s to assist with a cholera epidemic, and die there.

    He is not in any UK Census after 1881, although I do have his marriage in 1887. I cannot find a UK death record for him or his wife. In 1901 their only son was in his grandparents house. I'm not sure which port he would have sailed to, to get to Panama, but using Ancestry he hasn't come up on any passenger lists.

    The information about this comes from another's family history source, in which his granddaughter has stated the above, and that he was sometimes known as Alexander Forbes.

    Any ideas gratefully received!
     
  2. Huncamunca

    Huncamunca The Knowledgeable One

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    Hi FreddieRabbit and welcome to the forum :)

    I tried the newspapers in case there was a mention of him, and found someone of the same name popping up in 1906 . . . not in Panama but a lot closer to home.

    The Dundee Courier, 11 January 1906 has an article under the heading 'posed as Scottish Baron':
    'At Marylebone yesterday Charles Henry Alexander Forbes, who is alleged to have passed as Baron Forbes of Castle Forbes, Aberdeen, Sir Charles Forbes and Dr Forbes[,] was committed for trial on charges of forging a cheque for £900, attempting to obtain a motor car of that value belonging to a Hampstead gentleman, and obtaining £150 by fraudulent pretences...'

    Several papers have similar accounts. The Sheffield Evening Telegraph of 4 January 1906 gives more detail. Here a few extracts:

    'Evidence was given at Marylebone Police Court yesterday in the case of Charles Forbes, described as a surgeon, of Great Titchfield Street, Marylebone, who is said to have represented himself as "Baron Forbes"...'

    Various aristocratic Forbeses gave evidence that he was not Baron Forbes. One witness said that he 'represented himself as Lord Forbes but . . .was commonly known as Sir Charles Forbes or Dr. Forbes.

    His mother Mrs Susan Forbes 'said her son was born in Camden Town, and his name was Charles Henry Alexander Forbes. Her late husband claimed to be a descendant of the last Master of Pitsligo, and always talked of making a claim to the title, but latterly he was not so well off. She believed that her son was a doctor.'

    Does this match what you know of your C.H.A. Forbes? (If not, apologies for the diversion!)
     
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  3. FreddieRabbit

    FreddieRabbit Active Member

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    Oh. My. Goodness......this is absolutely astounding! His mother's name was Susannah and his father died in 1905. There are just too many coincidences here aren't there? Did you find the newspaper reports via Ancestry? Thank you so much, Huncamunca!
     
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  4. FreddieRabbit

    FreddieRabbit Active Member

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    Actually found the newspapers in Find My Past, so I will come back to you very soon!
     
  5. Huncamunca

    Huncamunca The Knowledgeable One

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    I am using the British Newspaper Archive. You can find the same newspapers on Findmypast but their search engine is very feeble.

    I have been doing a bit more digging . . . from their free search results I see Findmypast has something in their 'Crime, Prisons & Punishment' section for a 'Charles or Charles Henry Alexander Forbes' born about 1851. I can't tell what it is, but it's dated 1928 and from CRIM9 from the National Archives, which are calendars of prisoners.

    Looking for a Charles Forbes in the papers in 1928 I did find something about a 76 year old Charles Forbes of Chesterfield Street, London, who was 'stated to have represented himself as having an Aberdeen University degree' when he issued a death certificate for a Mary Wagner. (This from the Aberdeen Journal of 21 April 1928.)

    I'm afraid this does sound very like your Charles, doesn't it?! So the thing about Panama may be the family story that was invented to cover up his misdemeanours.
     
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  6. FreddieRabbit

    FreddieRabbit Active Member

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    Oh dear, it really does sound like him! I shouldn't laugh really, but I've also found out today what a rogue his grandfather was as well, so it obviously runs in the family. Charles was clearly a bit odd as he gave his son the initials of FRCS (Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons). The Panama story is really extreme though isn't it!
    Thank you so much for your help.
     
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  7. Archie's Mum

    Archie's Mum Always digging up clues

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    There you go Freddie, all sorted, I hope. Clever lady is our Jane.
    What a great story.:)
    Welcome aboard FreedieC|:-)
     
  8. Ma-dotcom

    Ma-dotcom A Bonza Little Digger!

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    Welcome in Freddie, you're certainly in the right place here. ;)
     
  9. FreddieRabbit

    FreddieRabbit Active Member

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    I found the newspaper report for 1928, he pretended to be a Doctor (I'm not sure that he ever qualified, although he is in the 1881 Census as a medical student) treated a lady, and presumably took money for her treatment. When she died he said he would provide a death certificate, which he had to get a supply of as he didn't have any, and everything got rather suspicious. I'm surprised that no one appeared to investigate what she died of as goodness knows what he treated her with :eek:
     
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  10. Doug

    Doug Administrator. The Main Man. Staff Member

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    Well - there is an interesting ancestor for you. :)
     
  11. FreddieRabbit

    FreddieRabbit Active Member

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    He was terrible wasn't he. Makes a change from AgLabs though;)
     
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  12. Huncamunca

    Huncamunca The Knowledgeable One

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    I am very glad you see the funny side of it, Jennie: I did feel a bit guilty about 'outing' Charles who has rather fallen from his pedestal since yesterday.:oops: This is real family history though, and wonderful stuff: it certainly does make a difference from ag labs!
     
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  13. FreddieRabbit

    FreddieRabbit Active Member

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    No, please don't feel guilty, I have emailed my aunt and uncle and they are amazed! I would love to have told my dad all about it too, he would have enjoyed it so much. I had done quite a bit before he died and he was fascinated. Charles must have been a black sheep because his parents were very wealthy and if, as it seems, he was desperate for money, they might have helped him out. Perhaps they had and he squandered it all.
     
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  14. Huncamunca

    Huncamunca The Knowledgeable One

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    As we now know that he was in London in 1906 I had a closer look for him on censuses. There are a couple of possible sightings in 1901 & 1911.

    In 1901 there is a 49 year old Charles Forbes, medical practitioner, at 90 Hill Street, Peckham, in 1901 with wife Kate (43, born Southampton) (RG 13/505, f.22, p.32). For his birthplace he has put N.K. (not known).

    Then in a lodging house in Camden Town in 1911 there's a 59 year old Charles Forbes, widower, surgeon's assistant. This one says he was 'born at sea, Re?????' and claims to be of Scottish nationality. This is not on a usual household schedule but an institutional one. Along with a great many other men he is shown as a 'resident'. I kept going backwards but gave up before I reached the title page showing the name of the institution. However, looking at Ancestry's transcript it says 'Rowton Lodging House, Arlington Road, Camden Town NW'. (RG 14/683, ED 32-36; there isn't the usual schedule number. On Ancestry it is image 95 of 151).

    So far no luck with the 1891 census, nor with identifying a likely death for him. I wonder if he ever did fit in a trip to Panama?

    P.S. I see from one newspaper that the 1928 trial was at the Old Bailey. It's a shame that the online Old Bailey Proceedings stop at 1913 as there might have been great stuff there. I would guess later records do still survive, but they may be closed for 100 years: will try to find out.
     
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  15. MollyMay

    MollyMay Knows where to find the answers!

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    Resident is the missing word.
     
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  16. MollyMay

    MollyMay Knows where to find the answers!

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    There is a death registered of Kate Forbes age 46
    March qtr 1904 Pancras 1b35
     
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  17. Huncamunca

    Huncamunca The Knowledgeable One

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    Thank you MollyMay - that one had me baffled :)
     
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  18. Huncamunca

    Huncamunca The Knowledgeable One

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    There's an interesting article about this hostel (now called Arlington House) here:
    http://www.
    workhouses.org.uk/RowtonCamden/
     
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  19. Huncamunca

    Huncamunca The Knowledgeable One

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    Unfortunately it looks as if the printed 'proceedings' stopped in 1913. There are other later records, held at Kew, but survival sounds quite patchy and some of the records are closed. See this guide for more information.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2015
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  20. Huncamunca

    Huncamunca The Knowledgeable One

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    I've only just realised that in the newspapers where his age is quoted, on the Findmypast transcript and on the 1901/1911 census (if that is the same man), Charles Forbes is around 10 years older than your Charles ought to be (baptised 1860, and born same year according to the baptism record; aged 20 in 1881).

    From all the things that do tie up, though, he has to be the same person doesn't he? Did he deliberately add on 10 years to his age at some point? The plot thickens!
     
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