Tag Archives: birth certificate

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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It is reassuring to know that I was right

20 May

Without wishing to sound too smug, it is reassuring to know that my theory was correct. The birth certificate for Andrew WELLER arrived in the post today confirming what I thought was the case, but I was just not quite confident enough to accept without seeing further evidence.

Andrew’s mother is listed as “Mary Weller formerly Newnham”, which is just the answer I was looking for. It is a shame that I had to pay £9.25 for the privilege of getting that one piece of information, it is not as if I really wanted or needed the rest of the information on the certificate, but I suppose now I have his birth certificate I really ought to find out what actually became of him (he is my 4x great-uncle after all).

More importantly this mean I can happily say that my 4x great-grandmother was Mary NEWNHAM and she married Thomas WELLER in Bolney, Sussex on the 31st December 1816. The census records that Mary was from West Grinstead, Sussex, so she is almost certainly the daughter of James and Sarah NEWNHAM of West Grinstead and she was baptised there on the 7th August 1796.

Now I can start work on the NEWNHAM family line with the resources I already have access to, so will hopefully be able to add a couple more generations without too much difficulty.

For anyone who might be interested in the full details from the certificate (and because I have finally worked out how to do tables) here they are:

No. 104
When and where born Thirteenth of August 1838 Twineham
Name, if any Andrew
Sex Boy
Name and surname of father Thomas Weller
Name, surname and maiden surname of mother Mary Weller formerly Newnham
Occupation of father Agricultural labourer
Signature, description and residence of informant Thomas Weller Father his X mark Twineham
When registered Sixteenth of August 1848
Signature of registrar Billy Ho[ward] Registrar
Name entered after registration [left blank]
Copyright © 2011 John Gasson.
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Finding Mary’s maiden name

10 May

In theory it ought to be quite easy to find the maiden name of my 4x great-grandmother Mary, the wife of Thomas WELLER. I actually have a pretty good idea of what it is (NEWNHAM), but I just want to make sure before I explore the NEWNHAM line too far.

The reason it should be easy is because Thomas and Mary WELLER had three children (out of a total of twelve) who were born after the start of civil registration in 1837, so their birth certificates should give Mary’s maiden name.

The problem comes mainly from my reluctance to part with any money for a certificate unless I am certain it is the right one and making sure I get the best value for money. In this case that would mean getting the certificate for my 3x great-grandmother Mary Ann WELLER, because although I have no particular need to know her exact date of birth, if I am going to pay for a certificate it might as well be for a direct ancestor and not one of their siblings.

I have baptism dates for all three of the children concerned and know from the census where they were living and where they were baptised (Twineham, Sussex) so again in theory it should be a simple matter of checking the GRO Indexes and ordering the certificate.

Of course it is not that simple, no birth registration seems to exist for a Mary Ann WELLER, there is a Mary WELLER but not where I would expect it (Cuckfield Registration District) but in a neighbouring registration district. Close, but not close enough for me to risk my hard-earned £9.25 on.

So my next choice would be George Henry WELLER, the first and second name should be enough to make sure I get the correct certificate, more so than his brother Andrew. FreeBMD was a little uncertain about the page number, so I checked the image, several images in fact (on Ancestry, Findmypast and TheGenealogist) but I can’t make it out either.

Fortunately George’s brother Andrew WELLER turns out to be my saviour, the volume and page number are readable and the date and place match up. If truth be known I am not really interested in Andrew (apologies if he is your ancestor) but his certificate is the only one that I can safely order. The irony is that I already know his date of birth from the baptism register so I don’t even need to know that part of information.

Copyright © 2011 John Gasson.

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It may have been a complicated theory, but I think it was correct

15 Mar

Last week I described a rather complicated theory about the birth of Ellen NICHOLLS my 3x great-grandmother. I took a chance and ordered one of the two likely birth certificates. The certificate arrived yesterday and it looks like the gamble paid off.

The unnamed girl was born on the 27th March 1847 in Blean, Kent. Her parents were Thomas NICHOLLS and Martha NICHOLLS formerly DRAPPER, the parents were the two that I had hoped for.

The birth was registered a whole month after she was born, so I find it very hard to explain why they still did not have a name for their daughter a whole month after she was born.

I am pretty confident now that my theory is correct, Thomas and Martha had three children (all daughters) and my Ellen NICHOLLS was born in Blean and not Chiddingstone, Kent. The unnamed girl is almost certainly the 4-year-old Ellen NICHOLLS living with her uncle and aunt James and Jane BARNES.

I need to check the parish registers for Blean to see if the unnamed girl was actually baptised there, and whether she had been given a name then. Also I need to check if her father Thomas was also buried there. Then I need to get into the parish registers for Chiddingstone to confirm that Jane BARNES was actually Martha’s sister.

There should be plenty of DRAPPERs in the Chiddingstone parish registers that need extracting and entering into my database, hopefully including Martha’s parents and her marriage. I am not sure where Thomas comes from, but hopefully the marriage entry should give me enough clues to make a start tracing his parents.

Ellen NICHOLLS: a rather complicated theory

9 Mar

Ellen NICHOLLS, my 3x great-grandmother, has so far been one of my trickiest ancestors to track down. I wrote yesterday about what I do know, which is mainly that she and William GEERING had some children and some years later she died.

From the census I have a date and place of birth (c1847, Chiddingstone, Kent) and back in 2009 I put together a family tree which looked plausible, until I discovered that the Ellen NICHOLLS I was looking at died aged 2 years and 9 months. Clearly not my 3x great-grandmother.

Oddly enough though I think I still have the correct pair of parents. They are Thomas NICHOLLS and Martha DRAPPER, who married in Q1 1840 in the Sevenoaks Registration District. Chiddingstone is in Sevenoaks Registration District, but I haven’t actually requested a copy of the marriage certificate or searched for the parish register entry yet. I don’t want to start heading down that road until I am happy that I have the correct set of parents, although it is nice to know that a certificate (with fathers’ names) is waiting to be ordered once I am certain.

I already have a fair bit of information on Martha’s family because she and Thomas are living with them in 1841, on the census is Martha’s father (George) and at least five siblings. Thomas is listed as an excavator, which suggests to me that he was working on building the railway from Redhill to Tonbridge.

Thomas and Martha had two children Ellen (in 1842) and Mary (in 1845), both baptised in Chiddingstone, unfortunately Ellen was buried at Chiddingstone on the 7th February 1845. That wasn’t the only tragedy, because by the time the 1851 census comes around Martha is a widow, and she is working as servant in Penshurst, Kent, without any sign of children.

Her daughter Mary turns out to be living with a family by the name of COLLISTER in Bletchingly, Surrey. She is shown as a nurse child of John and Mary COLLISTER. In Q3 1849 both John COLLISTER and Mary Ann DRAPPER were married in Godstone Registration District (hopefully to each other) and I suspect that Mary Ann is Martha’s sister.

Also in 1851 there is an Ellen NICHOLLS living with James and Jane BARNES in Seasalter, Kent. Ellen is shown as the niece of James and Jane, and once again I suspect that Jane is another of Martha’s sisters. James BARNES and Jane DRAPPER were both married in Q4 1841 in Sevenoaks Registration District.

I believe this Ellen NICHOLLS is my 3x great-grandmother, in 1851 her age is given as 4 years, which would mean she was born around 1847. Her place of birth is given as Blean, Kent which doesn’t fit quite so well. I seems to me quite likely that the second Ellen NICHOLLS was named after her deceased older sister.

It also seems reasonable that given the upheaval in the early years of her life that she was not really aware of where she was born or even who her parents were. Her sister Mary was born in Chiddingstone, but not Ellen herself although she may have known that her mother’s family at least came from Chiddingstone.

The big problem with this is that there is no birth registration in the GRO indexes in Sevenoaks or Blean Registration Districts for Ellen NICHOLLS around 1847. There are however two registrations for a female NICHOLLS, one in the first quarter and one in the second quarter of 1847 in the Blean Registration District. I am hoping that one of these girls will have Thomas and Martha as parents, even if they hadn’t decided on a name for their daughter yet.

Interestingly there is also a death registration for a Thomas NICHOLLS in Blean Registration District in Q1 1848, could this be the death of Ellen’s father? He must only have been in his late twenties when he died, so there must be an interesting story there.

There is lots of uncertainty in all of this, lots of ifs and buts, but it all goes together far too well. A lot of the relationships need proving but I feel I have enough evidence to build a very strong case that the 4 year old Ellen on the 1851 census is my 3x great-grandmother.

It would be very easy to use this information to go back from Thomas and Martha, but having been caught out once (with the death of the younger Ellen) I need to be 100% certain.

My next step is to get copies of the two birth certificates and hope that one of those has the names Thomas and Martha on it. Then I need to use that to try to find a baptism record, hopefully they would have settled on a name for their daughter by then.

Last night I ordered one of the certificates (the one from the second quarter of 1847) hoping that I strike it lucky with that one and save the cost of a second certificate. Now I need to wait patiently for the postman to bring it and hope that it brings the news I am after!

Ordering two BATEMAN certificates

9 Aug

Last night I ordered two certificates for my BATEMAN research, this is the first time since the price increase that I have ordered any, not really because of the price increase but because there weren’t any that I needed, now I have settled on two that I feel will help my research.

Birth certificate of William Joseph Henry BATEMAN

Although I have no doubts about who his parents were or where he was born, I would like to find out exactly where William was born. I know it was Brighton, Sussex, but even back in the 1880s that covered a wide area and several parishes.

If I can find the address, which was almost certainly his parent’s home then I should be able to find which parish they were living in, which should lead to a baptism record. If I can find William’s baptism then I will probably be able to find those of his two siblings who died as infants (and possibly their burials), thus saving me the cost of more certificates (or the possibility of ordering the wrong ones).

Marriage certificate of Henry BATEMAN and Dorothy Isabella KINGHORN

I already know roughly when my 2x great-grandparents married, it was Q4 1881, and I know it was in the Brighton Registration District, but once again I would like to find out some exact details. Once I know the parish I can look for baptisms of their children, because it might not be the same as that of William’s baptism.

There shouldn’t be any surprises with this certificate and the only new piece of information should be their address or addresses. I suspect they were probably already living together having both moved from Spratton in Northamptonshire, presumably when Dorothy became pregnant.

Both certificates should give me somewhere else to visit in Brighton and photograph. I already have one address in Preston (on the outskirts of Brighton) for them, 19 Yardley Street, so it will be good to be able expand my knowledge of their time in Brighton a little bit more.

GRO certificate price rise

2 Mar

I suppose it had to happen, I have always thought that £7 a certificate was remarkable value, in fact too good to true.

As has already been noted by various bloggers and on mailing lists, the GRO have announced a restructuring of their charges. This has simplified the range of price options, but also means a price increase in most cases.

Instead of spending £7 per certificate it will now cost me £9.25 and I suppose that is still quite good value, but no one likes having to pay more for the same service, myself included.

I can’t help wondering if we are going to be paying for the failure of the digitisation project, and I wonder whether if the project had been completed on time and within budget, this increase might not have been necessary.

I have to be realistic though and accept that as the press release says "GRO certificate services are self-financing and costs must be recovered to ensure taxpayers do not subsidise them". As a taxpayer I feel that I am certainly getting my money’s worth by making use of libraries and archives.

So, what will this mean to me?

I don’t think I will be rushing to get any extra orders in before the 6th April 2010. What will probably happen however is that instead of limiting myself to three certificates a month, I shall probably limit myself to two certificates a month after April.

I am in the fortunate situation that at the moment that I don’t think there are any certificates I actually need. Recently the certificates I have been ordering have been solving specific problems with relations rather than direct ancestors.

Also I am fortunate that I don’t feel the need to find exact birth, marriage and death dates for all my ancestors. I know that before 1837 I am probably not going to get an exact date anyway.

What effect will this price rise have on your research? Will you try and get your orders in before the 6th April? Will you order fewer certificates or carry on as normal?

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