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Why Edward Gasson is also interesting

26 Apr

A couple of days ago I wrote about Jane Linfield who after the death of her first husband David Burtenshaw married my 3x great-uncle Edward Gasson.

Edward himself is already of interest to me because his birth in 1860 is one of the few clues to his father’s brief time serving in the Metropolitan Police.

His father Thomas Gasson (my 3x great-grandfather) served with the Metropolitan Police for a few years around 1860. I still don’t know the exact dates, but the family were up in Middlesex in the 1861 census and possibly were there for a couple of years either side of that date.

Apart from the 1861 census and the birth of Edward the only other possible bit of evidence I have is an entry in the Metropolitan Police Order Book for 1861 (TNA MEPO 7/22) which records that P.C. 265 Gasson was dismissed for being drunk on duty. I can’t say for certain that this is my Thomas Gasson, but the date would fit.

I am naturally interested in finding out more about Thomas, because someone serving in the Metropolitan Police makes a welcome change from the typical agricultural occupations of my ancestors.

I had hoped to be able to learn something more from Edward’s baptism record and perhaps one day I might, if I can ever find it. As more and more records are indexed and put online there is a chance that it might turn up eventually.

I have long known that Edward’s birth certificate could be a key piece of evidence, hopefully this would give me an address for Thomas and his wife Harriett. I am not quite sure where I might be able to go after that, but in this business every little piece of information helps.

It is for this reason that there has been an entry on my to-do list for several years, reminding me that I need to order a copy of Edward’s birth certificate. I think it might be about time I got my credit card out and ordered that certificate.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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I tried not to get sucked in, honestly I did

24 Apr

I was getting along quite nicely with updating my to-do list when I succumbed to temptation and decided that I ought to try to clear one of the items. It looked so simple:

Add step children of Edward and Jane (BURTENSHAW?) GASSON from 1881 census RG11/1063 folio: 74, page: 13

Of course I couldn’t just add census events for the two children, for starters I had to add them into my family tree in the first place. They were step-children so that meant Jane had probably been married before, so there was another husband to add as well. The fact that she had married Edward Gasson (my 3x great-uncle) was a clear indication that her first husband had probably died as well.

In short there was a whole lot more work involved in that single item than I had first envisaged.

It wasn’t particularly difficult work, after all everything was focused around the parish of Bolney, Sussex which I have some experience of and a useful set of parish register transcriptions. Although it was more work than I had intend it was quite an interesting little diversion, and to be honest I am pleased that I did it.

Jane Linfield had married David Burtenshaw in Bolney in 1873, they had three children Edith Jane (born 1874), William (born 1876) and Alice Louisa (born 1877), although only two of those were on the 1881 census.

William Burtenshaw was baptised on the 28th June 1876 and sadly was buried on the 1st July 1876. The age given in the parish register (according to the transcription) was just 38 hours. I think that is the first time I have ever seen anyone’s age recorded in hours.

That wasn’t the end of the sadness for Jane. The third child, Alice Louisa, was baptised on the 15th July 1877 and although she was recorded as the daughter of David and Jane Burtenshaw, the occuption given (presumably for Jane) was widow. David Burtenshaw had been buried at Bolney on the 4th July 1877.

It was such a sad story, albeit on the edge of my family tree, but well worth the time invested.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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My Family History Week: Sunday 22nd April 2012

22 Apr

It was a good week, although admittedly most of the family history happened towards the end of the week. There wasn’t really anything new this week, no new databases plundered just sorting out what I already have and a little bit of updating from things like the census and BMD indexes.

Challenging times: Processing Framfield burial records

The thirty-eight Framfield burial records that I captured at East Sussex Record Office have been recorded on my spreadsheet and all but ten of these have been included in my family history software. The ten individuals who didn’t get included weren’t in my database yet and I successfully resisted the temptation of going too far down the road of trying to find out who they were.

I am sure that they will eventually fit in somewhere, but I can wait until that time comes rather than go chasing after them.

East Sussex Record Office information

As well as clearing the Framfield burials I have also finished recording all the other records that I captured at the ESRO have also received a similar treatment. Some records fitted neatly into place in my family tree and others didn’t, but like the burials they will eventually find a home somewhere down the road.

It is great to have these papers off my desk and captured digitally, it is not that I don’t have enough papers on there already.

Future Challenges

I am not sure what my challenge will be this week yet but it probably ought to be either sorting out the information I have for Patrick Vaughan or finishing off updating my to-do list.

I now have the urge to get some of my family photos identified, but before I can do that I really need to get them sorted into some sort of order. I need to do some research into what is going to be the best method for organising them.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Grandmother in Minnie’s photo album

17 Apr

It is about time that I got around to telling the rest of the Finding Minnie story, or at least the story so far. You might remember that last time I wrote about contacting my newly found third cousin and how she thought she might have some photos of interest in her grandmother’s photo album.

She was right, they were definitely of interest because they showed my grandmother and great-grandmother along with Minnie herself and several other children.

It is fortunate that Minnie had the foresight to write names and dates in the photo album. How often do you see that? It is fortunate because I wouldn’t have recognised my grandmother in most of these, as I don’t recall ever seeing any photos of her as a child before.

There was one photo however which was unmistakably my grandmother. It was uncanny, the face looking back at me, that smiling face which I had seen so many times as I was growing up, but which I hadn’t seen since she passed away in 1999.

Annie Hemsley (dated 1927)

Apart from seeing that wonderful smiling face again it was great to see my grandmother as a child (she would have been ten or eleven when this photo was taken). I only remember her as an old woman and here she was enjoying herself climbing a tree, just being a child.

I can’t help but think see wasn’t really dressed for climbing trees, more likely dressed for going to school or church, but then children will be children, and it was just so wonderful to see her being a child.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Personal Research Update: Sunday 15th April 2012

15 Apr

There were really only two things that I worked on this week, completing the challenge that I set myself last week and working on processing all the information that I collected last month at the East Sussex Record Office. I didn’t specifically do anything about updating my to-do list or on Finding Minnie.

East Sussex Record Office information

I did a little work on some Brighton marriages that I collected at East Sussex Record Office, but got side-tracked with one of the Trower marriages. Unfortunately the groom Abraham Trower wasn’t in my family tree, so I decided that I ought to add him, but that meant I also had to add his father as well (and his many siblings) and this took much longer than I had intended, in fact I still haven’t finished this.

This Brighton branch of the Trower family is something I have neglected, although in typical fashion I do have some more information already but haven’t added it my database yet. I think this is an important branch of the family and although I am not quite in the position to start a one-name study I do think that I need to put in some more work on this branch.

Challenging times: Updating facts without sources

I am pleased to say that I have successfully completed the challenge I set myself on Monday to make sure that all the facts in my database have at least one source attached (several have more than one). I am glad I that I have got that out of the way, although to be honest it wasn’t really that difficult, but it did involve actually making decisions on how I was going to record things, something that I have put off for too long.

Part of this involved re-visiting some of my US relatives and assessing what further work I need to do. What I really need to do at this stage is work through all the information that I have gathered over the years and make sure it is all recorded in my database. I have gathered lots of bits of information over the years (like census images and newspaper extracts) but have not actually done anything with them yet.

Future Challenges

Re-visiting some random parts of my family tree has given me many ideas for things that still need to be done. I am conscious that I am not getting out to record offices often enough, but I don’t feel quite so bad now because I realise that there is still much to be done with the information I already have and that I still have a lot of information that I haven’t processed yet.

So I think any futures challenges need to be related to processing what I already have, there is much to do in that respect on so many parts of my family tree, but really it ought to initially be focused on Patrick Vaughan and Finding Minnie but I think I need to go through all my files and folders and making sure everything is up to date.

I probably need to make sure I have my to-do list updated as well because I know the process of going through my files will generate new to-do items and I need a solid foundation on which to build upon.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Challenging times: Updating facts without sources

9 Apr

On top of everything else I ought to be doing with my family history this week I have decided to set myself a new challenge.

A couple of months ago I used a query on Family Historian which shows all the facts in my database without sources, this brought up a list of entries, around 25 in number, which I didn’t think was too bad for a database of 1700+ individuals. In the intervening weeks I have nibbled away at the list so that yesterday the list was down to twenty.

Yesterday evening I decided it was time to tackle the remaining twenty entries, so this week I am going to attempt to clear the list. Last night I cleared another five entries so it is now down to fifteen.

Most of these entries on the list shouldn’t cause too much of a problem (I could probably do it in an evening), most of them are where I have either got carried away and forgotten to add a source or I have merely added a temporary fact, such as a birth year and place from the census, with the intention of putting in a more detailed entry later but never got round to it.

There are a few foreign entries which need a bit more thinking about because I lack the experience of citing those sources, however I never said that the source citations had to be perfect, just functional.

Hopefully by this time next week I will have this little list cleared and if it proves to be a helpful motivational exercise I might see if I can find a similar challenge for next week.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Personal Research Update: Saturday 7th April 2012

7 Apr

I really need to find a more catchy name for these regular posts…

To be honest I haven’t done a great deal of family history this week, the main reason was because I spent some time planning a short-break (with a family history connection) for later in the year, on top of that the family history that I did do was not really what I had planned either.

As unlikely as it may seem the 1940 US census has also provided another distraction, not the actual census itself mind you, but the free 1940s-era collection on Ancestry.co.uk (750 million records from 139 different collections free until 11.59 BST on the 10th April 2012).

I am sure I am not alone in having the odd relative here and there that ended up in the US, in my case there are two that stand out, the Allcorns and the Eades (both connected through my Trower ancestors). So I took the opportunity to capture a few more images and bits of data, and will try to gather a few more bits and pieces before the offer runs out.

I already have a fair bit of data on these two families sitting in folders on my hard drive (some of this dating back to November 2007), but I haven’t really done anything about processing the information. I must get this information sorted and add some items to my to-do list for when opportunities like this spring up.

Talking of my to-do list, I haven’t really done any work on updating it this week, but I have done a little bit more work on processing the data from my visit to the East Sussex Record Office, but still have much to do on that front.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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