Case Study 2: Moses James Nobbs, Mail Coach Guard
This second case study shows you what kind of information can be found from our records. It takes you through, step by step, what we did in order to find out more about Moses James Nobbs, Mail Coach Guard.
Finding something is not always guaranteed but even if you only have a rough idea of a date of birth, you may still be able to find something.
Moses James Nobbs was the longest serving Mail Guard in the Post Office, having served 55 years (1836-1891) on the Mail Coaches and later on the Post Office Railways.
The image below shows Moses James Nobbs in full uniform. Mail Coach Guards were the first Post Office employees to be given a uniform. He is wearing a top hat with braiding round it and a badge at the front. His coat is red, has braiding down the front and buttons.
For this case study the records we looked at were the main sources for Family History: the Appointment records and the Pension & Gratuity records. These sources gave us details on Moses James Nobbs' career in the Post Office...and this is how we did it:
Step 1 - Appointment index
As we know that Nobbs worked for the Post Office 1836-1891, the first thing we did was to look at the Appointment records. The main series of Appointment Books start in 1831 and are indexed.
We looked in POST 58/68, the Appointment Index for 1831-1839, and found an entry for a 'Nobbs, M' in 1836 and page number 273.
Step 2 - Appointment Book
The page number 273 refers to an entry in the Appointment Book for 1836. Here we have the full entry for Moses dated 22 June 1836. It reads, "Appoint Moses J[ames] Nobbs, recommended by Mr Chaplin...a Mail Coach Guard in England, if fit".
Step 3 - Pension & Gratuity index
Although Post Office employees usually retired at 60, we knew that Moses James Nobbs had worked in the Post Office for 55 years which meant he retired in 1891.
We had a look in POST 1/244, the Pension & Gratuity Index for 1888-1893, and found an entry for Moses James Nobbs, giving page number 504 and a month, November.
Step 4 - Pension Application form
We used the page number 504 and the month November to track down his Pension Application Form in POST 1/231, the Treasury volume in 1891. They can give a lot of information including the person's date of birth, how long they worked at the Post Office, when they joined, their grade on retirement, and how much pension they would receive.
In the case of Moses James Nobbs, you can see that the first page gives his name, his office as a Mail Guard and his age, which is 74 (most employees retired at 60). It also shows that he worked for the Post Office for 55 years and 6 months, and was earning a salary of £13 per year upon retirement. The Post Office awarded him a pension of £146 and 15 shillings.