The "Norasearch" Diary - by Andrew Conway

Thursday 3 June 1999

It's time to delve deeper and find out how Robert William Parker died, so I buy a copy of his death certificate in the hope that it will give me more clues in the search for Honora. Another trip to the Register Office, another twenty minutes wait, and it's in my hands.

There are nine information columns and above them are two panels.

The first panel reads: Registration District: Birmingham.

The second reads: 1912. Death in the Sub-district of All Saints in the County of Birmingham.

COLUMN 1: (is split into two panels)
'No.' 1.

'When and where died'
Sixteenth January 1912 City Asylum Lodge Road UD
(As before, the U.D. stands for Urban District. This is now called All Saints Hospital)

'Name and surname'
Robert William PARKER


39 years

Chartered accountant of Birmingham UD

'Cause of death'
General Paralysis Certified by Cecil Roscrow LRCP
(This is the most interesting piece of information, but, unfortunately, I have no idea what it actually means.)

'Signature, description, and residence of informant'
AS Parker widow of deceased 38 Strensham Road Moseley
(Perhaps the 'L' on the register just looks like an 'S' as there's no doubt that the informant is Amy Lilian and not someone else. Normally, I wouldn't take this for granted as Robert could have divorced Amy and married another woman with the initials AS between Honora's birth and his death, but in this case we know that Amy received his administration and was described there as his widow)

'When registered'
Eighteenth January 1912

'Signature of registrar'
GH Upton (Registrar)
(This is the registrar as was, not the current one)

Certified to be a true copy of an entry in a register in my custody
AR Buttress Deputy Superintendent Registrar 1.6.1999


Now that I have it, it doesn't seem to help me at all. What does 'General Paralysis' actually mean? Is it a term that is still used today? Should I pay a visit to my doctor on some pretext and casually mention it?

Copyright © 1999 Andrew Conway. All Rights Reserved.