Great Western Railway Shareholders 1835-1932
Please note that Great Western Railway Shareholders is an index: the results with which you are presented do not contain images at the present time.
As with any genealogical index, please use the GWR Shareholders index with care. Having said this, the database is designed to be as straightforward and easy as possible to search. The usual search tips apply, for example the "less is more" approach, which means starting with a broad search and narrowing down as necessary (rather than filling in every search field with full information).
General. Please note that all persons named in the Shareholder ledgers have been indexed. About one quarter are the shareholders themselves; the others are the various persons involved in the shareholding transactions (see under Events and Roles below). Some persons appear on two or more occasions, for instance lawyers undertaking the administration of estates of deceased shareholders.
On account of the way in which the entries are written in the original ledgers, it is not always possible to know whether two references to the same name but at different addresses are to one and the same individual connected with two properties, or to two persons bearing the same family name (e.g. a father and son): in these cases, the name is indexed twice.
Wildcards. The wildcard is denoted by an asterisk * and can be used in both the first name and the last name search fields.
First name. You do not need to enter a forename. However, there are more than 280,000 entries in the first release of GWR and this means that you may need to add a first name to help make your returned search results more manageable results.
Last name. A surname must be entered, although the use of wildcards is permitted.
If you are unsure how a name was spelt, or can"t find it with the usual spelling, try using the wildcard facility. For example, if you search for William Harris and you type in William Harr*, the search will return a list of results that include names such as William Harris or William Harrison.
Year. If you don"t enter a year range, the search range will default to the current maximum parameters of 1835 to 1910. These years correspond to the years of the GWR Shareholder ledgers. In most cases, the year of the ledger is the same as the year of event (see under Events and Roles below): for example, the transaction relating to a shareholder who died in February 1870 was entered into the 1870 ledger. However, it is not uncommon for there to be a one or two year lag between a death and an entry in the ledger. Furthermore, some of the entries in the very earliest ledgers from the 1830s refer back to events as early as 1821, while some of the entries in the latest ledgers currently indexed online, those from the 1900s, are annotated with information from the 1910s or 1920s.
Deaths only. Select this tick-box if you wish to include only deceased shareholders in your search results. Note that this will exclude from your search results all other types of event and role (see under Events and Roles below): you will not be returned results relating to executors of estates, to attorneys etc.
Place - country. The default setting is Any, which means you will be returned search results relating to all areas. However, if you wish you may restrict your search by selecting a country from the dropdown list. Please note that the great majority of entries are for addresses in England, Wales and Scotland. At Sea is included as a category in the dropdown list.
Place - county. When you select a term other than All in country, the county dropdown appears. The default (sometimes the only) setting is again All - you do not need to select any other term from the dropdown. However, often it may be useful to do so - for instance, if you are searching a common name.
Please note that Isle of Wight is included within Hampshire and that the City & Ansty of York and the three Ridings are all included within the single county category Yorkshire (All Ridings).
Note that county of birth is used loosely to mean the principal administrative division within the territory in question. Therefore, while county is the correct term across the British Isles, the equivalent "counties" in Australia are the States and Territories, in Canada the Provinces and Maritimes, and in USA the States.
Place - town or street. This is displayed in the full search results (not the free search results). This will be a more specific place where shown. Sometimes, it has not been possible to match the place with a county / country, so one or both of the latter are shown as blank. This is not usually caused by legibility problems but because the place name shown is not unique. These "blank" county and/or country entries are shown in the free search results below the results which meet your specified search criteria, just in case they are relevant to you.
The most common event causing an entry to be made in the ledger was the death of the shareholder. When a shareholder died, his or her shares passed according to the terms of their will to their beneficiaries; the administration of the estate was handled by their executors, who took out a grant of probate. "Executor" is therefore the most common "role" in the index, particularly as it is common for a deceased person"s estate to be administered by two or more executors. Executors may be next of kin, other relatives, family friends or professionals (such as lawyers). If there was no will and the deceased died intestate, a grant of letters of administration would be taken out by the statutory next of kin (the nearest relative as defined under the law)
Other "events" include marriage or change of name and other "roles" include power of attorney (where a person - the attorney, who is not necessarily a lawyer - has been appointed to act in the affairs of another).
Reference. This is displayed in the full search results (not the free search results). This is the GWR Shareholder reference number. Each reference is composed of three parts: volume, folio and entry. This information, as well as being the citation, enables the Society of Genealogists to locate the page in the relevant register if you order a copy of the original.
Order documents. This is displayed in the full search results (not the free search results). Clicking on the More Information hyperlink opens up a new window which provides more information about how you can obtain a copy of the full original entry from SoG.
Errors in the index. We believe that the index is accurate but are always interested in improving upon it. If after obtaining copy paper from SoG you spot any errors in the index, please let us know by e-mailing us at email@example.com.