Tag Archives: bolney

Following the female line for a challenge

29 Jun

I got a bit distracted yesterday while I was supposed to have been doing some work on John FAIRS. I strayed over to his wife’s family and attempted to head back on that line.

I guess I am not the only one that seems to spend a disproportionate amount of time on my male lines and neglecting my female lines. Every so often I have to have a purge to keep the right balance in my tree.

John FAIRS married Mary Ann WELLER at St. Peter’s Church, Henfield, Sussex on the 2nd March 1862. Mary Ann’s father was Thomas WELLER, a labourer.

Armed with her marriage entry and later census returns it was pretty easy to find Mary Ann in earlier census returns with her parents Thomas and Mary WELLER.

The family were living in Twineham, Sussex and it is here that Mary Ann was born, probably in the first couple of months of 1841. Her father gave his place of birth as Bersted (or North Bersted), Sussex and her mother was from West Grinstead, Sussex.

The problem is that I have been unable to find a marriage entry for Thomas and Mary. Their eldest child appears to have been John, born in 1817, so I would have expected to find a marriage entry some time just before that.

The Sussex Marriage Index from the Sussex Family History Group has one likely entry, Thomas WELLER and Mary NEWNHAM married in Bolney, Sussex on the 31st December 1816. Whilst this looks quite a reasonable match, Bolney is pretty close to Twineham, I am still not satisfied that this is the right marriage.

So I have inadvertently picked up another challenge, which is going to take a little bit more work for me to be 100% happy with the marriage. I think a birth certificate will probably prove matters once and for all, but finding Mary Ann’s certificate may not be quite so easy.

Madness Monday: George Thomas GASSON wasn’t just a lunatic

8 Jun

So far pretty much all I have written about George Thomas GASSON concerns his time at the asylum and his mental illness. I wouldn’t want you to think that George Thomas GASSON was just a lunatic, he was a normal son, brother, husband and father for a large part of his life. So to put my previous posts in some perspective here is a summary of what I also know about George Thomas.

George Thomas GASSON was born in Slaugham, Sussex on the 13th November 1853 and was baptised in the parish church on the 29th January 1854. His birth was registered under the surname GASTON, on the 25th December 1853 by his grandmother Mary MITCHELL, which presumably accounts for the incorrect spelling of his surname (I say incorrect because this is the only time I have seen him referred to as GASTON not GASSON).

He was the eldest child of Thomas GASSON (1830-1914) and Harriet MITCHELL (c1835-1904) who were married in the parish church at Slaugham, Sussex on the 17th September 1853. They went on to have twelve children in total, eight boys and four girls.

Around 1859-60 Thomas, Harriet and their three children at the time (George Thomas, Margaret and Alfred) moved to Edmonton, Middlesex whilst Thomas was briefly in the Metropolitan Police. The family are there for the 1861 census and had another child there (Edward, registered Q3 1860). Before long the family were back in Sussex (probably Slaugham), as their next child, a daughter named Harriett was registered in Cuckfield District in Q1 1863.

It is not clear when George Thomas left the family home, he was certainly with his parents during the 1871 census, when the family was in Slaugham, and sometime around 1874-75 the family moved to Bolney, Sussex. It was in Bolney that George Thomas married Mary Ann WALDER at the parish church on the 30th December 1876.

George Thomas and Mary Ann’s first child, George, was born in 1877 (baptised on the 29th April 1877) about the same time as George Thomas’ youngest brother Michael. George Thomas and Mary Ann had fourteen children in total, including in 1893 my great grandmother May GASSON. The youngest was Harold, born in 1898. During this time they were living in Bolney, in the 1881 census at Bee Houses and in 1891 at Chatesgrove.

I have been unable to trace any record of George Thomas’ schooling, if there was any. His working life was spent as a labourer, although there is no evidence that shows where and for whom, presumably he was an agricultural labourer working on one of the farms in the parish.

A couple of their children had died before George Thomas was admitted to the asylum, Edward in 1894 (aged 15) and Albert Henry also in 1894 (aged just 3 months). One son was killed during the First World War, William James (in 1915). The youngest Harold served in the navy during the First World War, but I have been unable to discover where and with whom the others served.

After George Thomas was admitted to the asylum the family seems to have drifted eastwards, firstly to Cuckfield (Cuthedges in 1901) and then to Hurstpierpoint (Gorewood Green in 1911). It was in Hurstpierpoint that Mary Ann died in 1935 aged 78, although she was buried back in Bolney churchyard.

As far as I can tell the majority of their children married, with a couple of exceptions (my great grandmother being one of them) and many went on to have large families (at last count I had positively identified 34 grandchildren).

My latest postcard: Bolney Church

3 Jun

This wonderful card is the latest addition to my postcard collection, just arrived today from an eBay seller, the church of St Mary Magdalene, Bolney, Sussex.

St Mary Magdalene, Bolney, Sussex

St Mary Magdalene, Bolney, Sussex

There are too many of my ancestors connected with this church to list them all, but several generations of GASSONs and WALDERs were baptised and married here, and of course many of them buried here as well.

The card was posted in Bolney, but the date is not easy to read, it looks like 1915, but I can’t be sure. It was sent to Master H. Holden (possibly Hobden) of 111 Church Road, Burgess Hill, Sussex by his father. The simple message reads “We are having a nice walk about here this afternoon”.

A challenge for the weekend: update

15 May

I made a start last night on adding 3x and 4x great grandparents to my family tree. I’ve only added four individuals so far, but three of those were direct ancestors, so it is off to a good start.

I started with my WALDER ancestors from Bolney, Sussex because I knew they would be quite easy to trace. I hadn’t realised quite how easy!

The 1881 census entry for Bee Houses, Bolney, Sussex was a genealogists dream come true. On census night there were four generations of the family in the house. Talk about making life easy for me!

In complete contrast I can’t find any of my WALDERs in the 1871 census, so that is one I need to make a note of and come back to later when I have more time.

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