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When the Trowers moved to Sayers Common

2 Jun

When I wrote about the importance of Betley I mentioned that my 2x great-grandparents moved from Henfield, Sussex to Sayers Common, Sussex.

I have long known the reason behind this move, it was because Ebenezer was going to work as a gardener for Rev. William Buchanan Dunlop the new vicar at Sayers Common parish church, but the exact date was a puzzle.

From the baptism records of their children it was possible to narrow down the date range to around 1892, but it never really felt that important to have an exact date.

An entry in the diary of Percy Ebenezer Trower (one of their sons) provides an exact date for when the family moved and also a date for when Ebenezer retired from work.

Wednesday Dec 31 / 30

The end of 1930! Father came home to-day at dinner-time. 39 years ago next March 7th that he came to Sayers Common to work for Mr Dunlop, just installed as Vicar here. 39 years, probably half his life he has spent with Mrs Dunlop. He came from Henfield with two children, Ethel & Henry one year old. Since then four more were born. I being the fifth, and two have died, one in the R[oyal] Sussex C[ounty] Hospital and the other killed in France. What changes he has seen in those 39 years. He must feel the severance of this long time as gardener for Mrs Dunlop but the long journey to Hassocks was too much for him.

The “next March 7th” would be in 1931 and 39 years ago would be 1892. So Ebenezer and Annie Trower and their two children moved to Sayers Common on the 7th March 1892.

It is nice to have an exact date for when an ancestor moved, because so rarely is there any record of their actual movement unless, it is a major move such as emigration, usually the only sign that they had moved is the change from one record (like the census) to the next.

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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William Trower and the fly in the ointment

24 May

My 4x great-grandfather William Trower of Henfield, Sussex is one of the weak points in my Trower ancestry.

At first glance everything seems right with the world, William was born about 1790, his death was registered in 1875 when his age was given as 85. Likewise with his burial at Henfield on the 8th January 1875 his age was given as 85.

Tracking back through the census we find him aged 81 in 1871, 70 in 1861, 59 in 1851 and 50 in 1841. In short everything seems to add up right and points to William being the son of Henry and Ann Trower.

A baptism exists in the Henfield parish registers for William the son of Henry and Ann Trower on the 13th March 1791. Don’t you just love it when everything works out neatly?

Unfortunately the fly in the ointment is a burial at Henfield on the 23rd January 1794 for William the son of Henry and Ann Trower, which of course I can’t explain.

Was this William my 4x great-grandfather? or rather was did the William who I thought was my 4x great-grandfather die at the age of three? Should I be looking for another William?

I can’t satisfactorily explain this burial record, it looks like my William Trower could not be the son of Henry and Ann Trower, but there are no other William Trowers who would fit the bill for my William Trower.

My saviour is in the form of a family bible (technically a prayer book), which has been passed down through the Trower family, or rather has survived through the generations without being thrown out. This bible clearly links Henry and Ann Trower with William’s descendants.

So where does this leave the William who was buried in 1794? I can only assume that Henry and Ann Trower had another son after my William but he died suddenly, perhaps before he had even been given a name or baptised. Stuck for a name for the burial register they used the name William. Either that or the vicar simply made a mistake.

Perhaps one day I will find further evidence (there is no sign of a will for William’s father) to be able to prove the relationship one way or another. For now I can only acknowledge the presence in my database of this fly in the ointment.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Making the News: Burglary of the residence of Mr William Trower

21 May

This is one of the most surprising articles I found in my recent trawl of the British Newspaper Archive. It comes from the 10th September 1850 edition Sussex Advertiser and concerns my 4x great-grandfather William Trower and the residence in question was almost certainly Harwoods Farm in Henfield, Sussex.

HENFIELD.

BURGLARY.-On the morning of Sunday, the 1st inst., the residence of Mr William Trower, near New Inn, was broken into by four men, disguised in masks and with muffled shoes. The most violent threats and imprecations were used by the villians against Mr Trower and his wife, whom they awoke for the purpose of demanding where their money was. They remained in the house nearly two hours, and after ransacking it in every part, regaled themselves with some home-made wine they found on the premises. On leaving they took many articles of clothing and provisions, and it is hoped that the property, most of which can be identified, may lead to the detection of the ruffians.

I detect a hint of sensationalism in this story and a touch of humour with the ruffians regaling themselves with some home-made wine, although of course there is a serious crime underlying the story, which I have not been able to follow-up on yet. I would love to find out if anyone was ever brought to justice for the crime.

What is particularly surprising to me is that my 4x great-grandparents had anything worth considering stealing. I have always envisaged them being a fairly poor family, albeit a family that had their own farm, but maybe I need to look again at that picture I have of them.

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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Making the News: The four Hemsley brothers from Framfield, Sussex

15 May

Probably the most unusual article I discovered on my recent trawl of the British Newspaper Archive concerned four probable relatives from Framfield, Sussex.

SHOOTING.

To the Editor of the Sussex Advertiser and Surrey Gazette.

MR EDITOR,- Will you favor me with an odd corner in your paper for the following:-

  Four brothers, named Hemsley, living at Framfield, gave a challenge to shoot with any four brothers in the county, out and home. I accepted the challenge on behalf of four brothers, in Lewes, named Baker, and tossed with the Hemsleys’ backer for the choice of the first match, which I won; and it was arranged between us to come off in Lewes.

  Strange to say, the boasting challengers have shewn a white feather, and decline the trial of skill!

  Now, Sir, will you allow me space to say, that on behalf of the Bakers, I publicly challenge the Hemsleys to shoot a match (out and home) at six birds each man; or to make a match (out and home) with a larger number of men on each side if they prefer it.

  If they decline this, I recommend them to boast less for the future, and not give a challenge they do not intend to fulfil if accepted.

WM. EAGER.

Southover, Lewes,
7th March, 1851.

This letter was published in the Sussex Advertiser on the 11th March 1851. Unfortunately I couldn’t find out whether any match did take place or who the boasting Hemsley brothers actually were. It is quite likely that they were relatives, most of the Hemsleys in Framfield seem to have been related to me in one way or another.

Without any more information I am not going to be able to do much more with this article, but it is a lovely glimpse into life 160 years ago nonetheless, which admittedly doesn’t paint the Hemsleys in a very good light.

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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