Friday, December 11, 2009

William George Webb's birth date

Over the last 10 years, I have not been able to locate William George Webb's birth date. In the 1881 census, I found him as a small boy living with his family, and from that record and his marriage certificate I figured that he was born about 1871 in Ceylon. That is all I have had until about a week ago.

Here is more information about his family. William came from a family of at least 10 children with 1 being born in Essex, 2 in Ceylon, 5 in India, 1 in Hampshire and 1 in Ireland. His father was with the Blackwatch Regiment and travelled extensively with his career. I have located every birth record for William's siblings except for the two in Ceylon. The Family History Library has a number of records for Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) but the films are for specific areas in Sri Lanka and there are over 300 of them. It would be an impossible task to locate his birth record without a clear date to search. And contacting the archives or anyone that lives in Sri Lanka has been an ongoing effort for at least 5 years with no success at all.

Then, it hit me about a week ago, after I obtained the birth record for William's daughter, Violet Ruby Webb in Surrey, that because he declares on that record that he is with the Canadian Expeditionary Forces that I could access his attestation papers online. (I've done it before with other family members.) Sure enough, minutes later I was staring at his birth date on those papers: 21 January 1872, Kandy, Ceylon. Whoopee!!

In fact, it is the same date as his daughter Alice's birthday. Now I'm trying to drill down through films in the Kandy area (and there are a lot of them) to see if I can locate an actual birth record. So far, it is futile but I have to give it a try because if I find him, chances are I'll find his sister's birth record as well.

As a tribute to the family, I will celebrate "Webb Day" on January 21st! Now to continue the digging . . . . .


  1. Great information about Ceylon. I enjoyed reading your post.

  2. Great job putting it all together.
    Welcome to the geneablogger family!

  3. Margo, Larry&Coreen Andresen, long time British Ceylon researchers here, has free overseas Army BMDs on its website and there are a number of Webbs in Ceylon you may be interested in. Dont waste time with LDS films for Kandy as a visit to Kandy churches last year proved records have not been photographed by LDS for the Main Churches.
    KOSAH!Keep On Searching And Hoping!Cheers,L&C