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Where have my photos gone?

29 Jun

This should have been the next installment of my series of Sussex Day 2012 posts, but I turned on my PC this evening only to find my external hard drive sitting there doing nothing.

I am pretty sure that it is a power supply problem, which will hopefully be fixed in a matter of days thanks to Amazon, but it is nevertheless rather frustrating not being able to get at my photos.

It is especially frustrating because I hadn’t made a backup copy of these photos yet. I would normally have burnt a copy of them onto a DVD by now but I have been a bit lazy over the last few months.

Even if it is a complete hard drive failure then I won’t have lost anything of great significance, I have alternative backups of important stuff, so no need to panic or lose any sleep tonight.

It probably is a good reminder to make sure my backups are done on a regular basis.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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My Family History Week: Sunday 17th June 2012

17 Jun

Not a great deal happened to my family tree this week, a fair bit of planning and plotting and some transcribing, but not a lot of actual updating.

Adding missing birth details

I spent a bit of time playing with my database and creating a list of those people without either a birth or baptism date. Now I have a list of 379 individuals and have started work on adding missing birth details.

So far I have only updated one individual, not much I know, but it is a start. Of course it doesn’t help that it is very hard for me to work on just one event, the birth event, because this inevitably leads to something else.

The Diary of Percy Ebenezer Trower

I made good progress on the diary of my 2x great-uncle Percy Ebenezer Trower. I have transcribed one page a night except for Friday and Saturday, when I was too busy. It has proved quite an interesting experience and so far has been a lot easier than I expected.

So far there hasn’t really been much family history information apart from Percy’s day-to-day activities, there is no way that I am going to be able record every aspect of his daily life in his entry in my family history software.

I already have the diary set up as a source, but I may need to create a custom attribute that records when someone gets a mention in the diary that isn’t directly related to normal events like births, marriages and deaths.

The week ahead …

More of the same this week, expect that I want to try to get some more birth dates added. I realise that I am not going be able to transcribe Percy’s diary every night, but I think I should be able to manage five pages a week, which will be better than nothing.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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My Family History Fortnight: Sunday 10th June 2012

10 Jun

There is not a lot of family history activity to report for the last two weeks. The fact that I have left it for two weeks shows just how family history free my time has been. There was a good excuse last for last week’s inactivity, but the week before was really just down to me being lazy.

Holidays galore

I had hoped that the long bank holiday weekend last weekend would provide some time for me to do some work, but there was so much else going on that I never really got down to any research.

On top of that the end of this week has seen my wife and I away for another long weekend, primarily for me to indulge my passion for trains, but also as an excuse to get away for a few days.

Percy Ebenezer Trower

Much of my recent blogging has centred around my 2x great-uncle Percy Ebenezer Trower. Although this wasn’t really a conscious decision on my part, it probably stems from the fact that in the absence of any new research I have been “forced” to go back and look at information I already have.

In particular I keep returning to the fact that I really ought to transcribe his diary. Whilst it is useful to be able to look up particular dates and events it is not possible to search the entire volume without having an idea of the date. I fear there is so much more of interest that could be uncovered if only it was transcribed and possibly indexed, or at least searchable.

The sheer scale of the task and Percy’s handwriting has put me off up to now, but I feel now might be a good time to start.

Adding birth and death details

The other thing that I have looked at is the lack of birth and death details for many of the people in my family tree.

I want to be able to do a bit more querying of my database, so that I can produce lists of people to search for things like First World War service and Probate Index entries.

For this I really need to establish the starting and ending points for the people in the database. This means I need a birth/baptism and burial/death record for each individual.

This is not something that is going to happen quickly, some should be quite easy to work out, but some of the deaths could be difficult to pin down with any confidence without getting a death certificate, which is nothing something I really can afford to do.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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My Family History Week: Sunday 27th May 2012

27 May

Family history activity has been a bit haphazard this week. Nothing really very focused, just poking about my family tree adding bits and pieces here and there.

National Probate Calendar on Ancestry.co.uk

I spent a while conducting some searches on the newly updated National Probate Calendar on Ancestry.co.uk but I soon realised that I probably ought to be a bit more methodical about it.

There are potentially hundreds of records in this collection that I ought to be looking for, but unless I actually make a point of being more methodical I am probably going to miss plenty of people along the way.

I am going to have to give some consideration to what is going to be the best way to achieve this.

Early Trowers in my family tree

I also spent a while looking at the information I have for some of the earliest (17th and 18th Century) Trowers in my family tree. I am conscious that I have lots of different bits of information floating about, mainly from wills.

I felt it was probably about time that I actually translated some of this “floating” information into some hard facts in my family tree or at least decide what further work is needed to be able to include this information.

Adding a pair of 7x great-grandparents

One off-shoot of this work on the early Trowers was that I was able to add another pair of 7x great-grandparents, Robert and Mary Greenfield of Henfield, Sussex whose daughter Ann married Henry Trower in 1747. This brings the total number of 7x great-grandparents in my family tree to eight individuals or four pairs.

Challenging times: Sorting out Patrick Vaughan’s information

As I suspected I never got around to doing anything about sorting out the information I have about Patrick Vaughan. I don’t want to let this slip but it has been several weeks since I said I was going to do this.

We have a long bank holiday weekend coming up soon and I am hoping that this will give me the opportunity to get back on track. Hopefully after this I can get on with setting myself with some new weekly challenges.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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My Family History Week: Sunday 20th May 2012

20 May

There is nothing much to report this week except for an almost complete lack of family history activity. Whilst time has been an issue, as always, the main cause of this in-activity has been a lack of motivation.

I just haven’t really been inspired to sit down and do any family history this week. About the only positive thing that happened this week was the addition of three or four new relatives to my tree.

I realised that with a very small amount of work I would be able to add a seventh cousin. There was no real benefit to gained from doing this but it seemed like a fun thing to do at the time and nice to be able to say that I have a seventh cousin.

Challenging times: Sorting out Patrick Vaughan’s information

Given my current lack of motivation it seems unlikely that I am going get around to sorting out Patrick Vaughan’s information. It would probably be better for me to find another more interesting project (more interesting than sorting out files) to get me back on track.

Kent parish registers on familysearch.org

I made several attempts to access images of Kent parish registers on familysearch.org, hoping that at last I might be able to go back a bit further with my Gasson ancestors.

Unfortunately I was unable to view a single image for any of the parishes I tried, I don’t know if it was me or the website, but I tried nearly everyday with the same result. Maybe next week I will be more successful.

There is another potential distraction coming up this week with a change in the weather coming at last. Hopefully it will be dry and warm enough for me to contemplate at least one decent evening walk this week.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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My Family History Week: Sunday 13th May 2012

13 May

It was another productive week, although once again I didn’t do what I had intended to do. Most of my family history time was spent re-visiting past research projects, mostly inspired by my brief foray into British Newspaper Archive.

Challenging times: Sorting out Patrick Vaughan’s information

For the second week in a row I have failed to do anything about sorting out all the information I have about Patrick Vaughan. I think this is probably because organising and sorting is just not as interesting as doing new research.

I already know all the information I have for Patrick Vaughan and whilst I know I need to have this all in order before I do any more research, it is just not as exciting as doing the new research.

I think I should try to make an effort next week to actually get it sorted. If I leave it another week I suspect it will never get done.

Luther Trower, Henrietta King and Joseph Brinton

These three individuals are the main characters for one of the most interesting stories lurking in my family tree. It is a story that I haven’t fully researched yet and I am hoping this year I will get around to telling that story.

I was reminded once again of this unfinished story by several newspaper articles, sadly the articles didn’t provide any new information, but they did spark an interest again.

I have done a bit of work this week on tracing what happened to some of the supporting cast and updated my database. I think the story is probably worthy of a book, not a big book, but a book nonetheless.

For that I know I will need some more background material, old photos and new photos, but before I get too carried away I ought to sit down and put together an outline for the book.

Thomas Kinghorn – the mail guard

Another newspaper inspired piece of work, which lead to his Ancestral Profile blog post this week. It also lead me to re-visiting the life of my 4x great-grandfather and his connections with Carlisle.

There wasn’t really any new research, just looking over what I already have and dreaming about the time when I get chance to spend some time at the Carlisle Record Office and what I would like to try to find out.

It occurred to me that unless I actually make plans to visit the record office it is never going to happen. No-one else is going to make those plans for me, I could wait for records to be digitised, but even then it might not be the records that I need.

I need to make some plans and do some research:

  1. How and when do I go there? and how much will it cost?
  2. What records do I want to check when I am there?
  3. Is it likely to be worth going?
  4. Would I be better off at the SoG Library or London Family History Centre?

I might try to work this out this week, the sooner I do it the sooner I might be walking through the doors of Carlisle Record Office.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Challenging times: Sorting out Patrick Vaughan’s information

30 Apr

I have been taking a bit of a break from Finding Minnie and Patrick Vaughan whilst I get a bit of family history housekeeping done. Now it is the turn of Patrick Vaughan to be on the receiving end of that housekeeping.

If I am ever going to move forward with my research on Patrick and Kate Vaughan then I really need to get all the material that I already have into some sort of order.

I have gathered quite a lot of information from Ireland, Scotland and Canada like passenger lists, census returns, marriages and baptisms, but I haven’t actually input them into my family tree yet.

This week I am going to concentrate on Patrick Vaughan get everything sorted and updated. That means:

  1. Setting up dedicated sub-folders for digital image downloads
  2. Making sure all the digital images are correctly named and in the correct sub-folders
  3. Making sure all the information is entered into my family tree

As well as needing to make sure I have solid foundations to move forward I also want to be able to tell the story of Patrick’s life before he married my 2x great-aunt, hopefully system generated reports will provide the framework for this.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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