After the Christmas and New Year Holidays of 1987 I decided to start my search again - but didn't know where to begin.

In Edinburgh a few weeks earlier I was given some advice by a clerk at the Scottish Registry Office. After I had explained my dilemma he offered a few possibilities.

If my grandfather's mother was unmarried when he was born his birth may have been registered under her maiden name. If she later married, my granddad may have taken her husband's surname.

If my great-grandmother was married more than once, granddad's birth may have been registered under her first husband's name with him later taking his stepfather's name.

He may have been an orphan and Swarbrick was the name of his adoptive parents.

Another possibility was that he simply wasn't born in Scotland.

All of these possibilities presented problems. If he wasn't born a Swarbrick for whatever reason I had little or no chance of ever finding his true birth record. If he wasn't born in Scotland where was he born and - more importantly - where do I even begin to look?

The clerk asked if I knew the name of my grandfather's mother. I said that I didn't and couldn't see how I would ever find that information without his birth certificate. He then said that in some countries people were required to fill in the full names of their parents when applying for a marriage licence and that this would sometimes include the mother's maiden name.
Now back home in Toronto, where my grandparents were married in 1916, I applied for a copy of their marriage licence. When it arrived in the post a few weeks later, I was relieved to see that the information I needed was there.

My granddad's father was called George Swarbrick and his mother was Ellen Boocock.

That little bit of information would turn out to be the key to unlocking at least part of the mystery of Richard Joseph Swarbrick.
Detail from Marriage Certificate


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IMAGE NOTE: Detail from my grandparent's Marriage Certificate. Also note his place of birth!