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Wadsworth Busk of Lowestoft

Cataloguing a collection can take you anywhere and can bring forth various challenges so the temptation of an article published in the Eastern Evening News on 28 December 1977 asking for help in tracing Wadsworth Busk of Lowestoft proved too tempting. In a pre-internet world the newspaper failed to help and could find no trace of the man so I decided to test modern technology with just the barest of facts to work from

Wadsworth Busk
Drowned in Lake Wairarapa and buried in a cemetery in Wellington, New Zealand in 1866 aged 27
Of Lowestoft and a former student of Trinity College, Cambridge

In just a few clicks on-line it was possible to confirm that he attended Trinity College as he was listed on the Cambridge University Alumni Register, 1261-1900 available via as follows:

Name: Wadsworth Busk
College: Trinity
Entered: Michaelmas 1855
More Information: Admitted pens. (age 19) at Trinity, 7 December 1854
Son of Wadsworth Dawson Busk of 1 Marine Parade, Lowestoft
Born at St Petersburg
School, Harrow
Matriculated Michaelmas 1855
BA 1859
MA 1862
Drowned in New Zealand, 1863

Looking at the entry it is possible to see why the newspaper had no success in 1977 as he was born in St Petersburg, Russia [as opposed to Lowestoft] and educated at Harrow and although his father’s address is given as Marine Parade personal links to the town would have been scant at best.

Marine Parade, Lowestoft, 1850 (1300/72/44/127)

The Alumni List also offered an approximate date of birth c1835 and more interestingly a different date of death, 1863 which was confirmed in the Harrow School Register, 1801-1893:

Wadsworth Busk
Admitted September 1849 (Dr Vaughan’s)
Monitor 1855
Drowned New Zealand 1863

The 1851 census for Harrow further confirmed his age and place of birth

Wadsworth Busk – Pupil – 15 – Scholar – born St Petersburg, Russia

And thanks to Russia Births and Baptisms, 1755-1917 which are available for free on Wadsworth Busk was easy to track

17 January 1836
Wadsworth Busk son of Wadsworth Dawson and Elizabeth Busk
British Chaplaincy, St Petersburg, Russia

As were his siblings:

1837   Joseph Richard Busk
1845   Arthur Frederick Dawson Busk
1848   Alice Elizabeth Busk

Interestingly his parents were even married in Russia

11 October 1834
Wadsworth Dawson Busk
Elizabeth Thielcke
British Chaplaincy, St Petersburg, Russia

From the Alumni List the only connection to Lowestoft appears to be his father’s  address given in 1854 as 1 Marine Parade.   His father, Wadsworth Dawson Busk, was born and baptised in London

2 August 1804
Wadsworth Dawson Busk son of Jacob Hans and Martha Busk
Born 19 June 1804
Born at Friern Barnet
Carter Lane, Blackfriars (Presbyterian), London

and buried in the UK in 1873

19 April 1873

Wadsworth Dawson Busk of Winkfield, Ascot Place, Berkshire, age 68

His will was proven in 1873 and the index entry on ‘explains all’

Wadsworth Dawson Busk esquire
13 June 1873
Administration (with the will) of the effects of Wadsworth Dawson Busk formerly of St Petersburg, Russia, merchant but late of Ascot Place near Windsor in the county of Berkshire, esquire who died 14 April 1873 at Ascot Place was granted at the Principal Registry to Elizabeth Busk of Ascot Place, widow, the relict, the residuary legatee for life if she remains a widow
Effects under £140,000

A few clicks in 2017 proves just what a difference 40 years makes when undertaking genealogical research. The reporter in 1977 would have had no way of finding Wadsworth Busk so quickly and alas this ‘reply’ is clearly too late for the enquirer.  Forty years ago it would have probably taken months, if not years, of investigation as they were starting out with the handicap of a false trail to Lowestoft.

Marine Parade, Lowestoft, 1850 (1300/72/44/127)

If you wish to take up the challenge and answer an age old family query which has been puzzling you, search for your ancestors etc you may like to know that Ancestry and Find My Past are available to use for free at Suffolk Record Office