Thursday, February 5, 2015

It’s the little things

I normally don’t do any research in the UK but this week it has been all about England and I learned a lot of cool things.  A little background info.  I am doing a one name study on the Glaentzer surname.  It is a rare surname so it is a great name for this sort of project.  I belong to The Surname Society and I was talking to The Surname Society’s Committee Chair, Kirsty Gray, about my Glaentzers.  As far as I knew the Glaentzers were/are in Germany with one known line in the United States and one known line in Italy.  Kirsty was playing around with it and found an entry for a Glaentzer on the FreeBMD website.  I am familiar with this site and I have actually done a couple of searches there but I never thought to run my Glaentzer name through it.  This is the first place Kirsty would think to check because she is English.  There is a single entry in the death indexes for a George Glaentzer who died in 1860.  Kirsty is arranging to get the death certificate for me. This will be the first death certificate that I will have for England.

Kirsty then sent me information about George’s probate that she found on  I couldn’t pull this up myself because I only have a US subscription and not the World one.  I then learned that the probate index she was looking at on can be accessed directly on the English government website HERE. You can search their probate index for any death 1858 or later.  There is a single Glaentzer entry, George.



You can order the probate packet which I then did for £10 which translates to $15.21. 

There was a very important clue in this index,

“…Francis Glaentzer the Brother and one of the Next of Kin of the said Deceased now residing at Ancona in Italy…” 

Bingo!  This is the Italian line.  I checked my file and sure enough I found George (Georg)  and his brother Francis (Franz Joseph).  They are my half 1st cousins, 5 times removed. Every Glaentzer is related to me somehow.  This is another perk when working with a rare surname.  Franz was known to have immigrated to Italy and his line is still there today.  I am in contact with the living descendants.

I also learned two other very important things.  I learned that I can text people in England, I had never done that before, and I learned that the Windows shortcut for £ is ALT-0163.


Copyright © 2015 Michele Simmons Lewis


  1. Michele,
    Interesting the new things we find in our research, isn't it. I would never think to look on the FreeBMD site for someone supposedly in Germany or Italy. I have lots of ancestors from all over the UK. I have birth, marriage and death records from Scotland and a couple from England. However, now I'm going to take a look at other sites that could have info on our German ancestors.
    Thanks Michele.

  2. Michele, If you haven't had a UK death certificate before you may be disappointed with the information available from it. It will not have his parents on it or his siblings. US & Australian death certificates potentially have much more family information on them.
    Hope you are not too disappointed.