Several years ago I found a record for my 5th Great-Grandfather Thomas Blanden. He was recorded in Royal Hospital, Chelsea: Discharge Documents of Pensioners as being discharged from the British military in 1787 and was listed as a Chelsea Pensioner.
|Discharge Certificate Thomas Blanden|
Royal Hospital, Chelsea
Discharge Documents of Pensioners
The record consisted of his Discharge Certificate and it recorded him as age 48 and having served as a Drummer in the Suffolk Militia for 28 years.
A few days ago I wrote about Thomas in a post called 52 Ancestors: 5th Great Grandpa Ordered Out of His Parish with Wife and Family in 1778 After reading the article, Martha W. wrote to tell me that she found Thomas in Ancestry.com's online Chelsea Pensioner records. I knew Ancestry had these records but I had never searched them. I assumed they were the same records I'd already obtained from the National Archives in England.
That's right. I'm an experienced researcher but I pulled a novice mistake by assuming two record sets were identical instead of going and checking.
You probably know where I'm heading with this story. Martha had kindly provided me with a direct link so on a whim I clicked through. I was positive I would find the same discharge papers I already had.
|Royal Hospital Chelsea Pensioner Registers of Soldiers Who Served in Canada, 1743-1882|
And now I have a new area of research open to me - to find out more about the movements and battles of the Suffolk Militia from 1759 to 1787 which was when Thomas served. I would really like to find out when he was in Canada and what battles he might have been part of.
I am still reeling from having pulled such a bad mistake - that of assuming I knew what was in a set of records. It's not like I'm a novice genealogist. I've been researching for over 35 years and have been published in scholarly genealogical journals. One of the traits I pride myself on is being meticulous in my research and leaving no stone unturned.
I goofed this time. This was a big rock and I am not sure if I would have turned it if Martha had not written. I hope I would have, eventually. In any case I have learned a valuable lesson (which I thought I already knew) - never assume!
Credits: "Oops" by digitalart on FreeDigitalPhotos.net