Tag Archives: british newspaper archive

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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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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Making the News: Death announcement of Thomas Kinghorn

10 May

It was only one sentence, but finding the death announcement for my 4x great-grandfather Thomas Kinghorn in the Carlisle Journal (for Saturday 11th May 1833) adds a few more useful snippets of information.

Here, on Tuesday week, Mr. Thomas Kinghorne, Crosby Street, aged 52.

“Here” presumably means Carlisle and Crosby Street is a new address for Thomas, although his son George and family were living in Crosby Street in the 1841 census. There might be some rate books or such like that would tell me more about the residents of Crosby Street.

The “on Tuesday week” part is a little vague. It is not particularly clear to me which Tuesday it refers to, does it mean a week before the next Tuesday (the 14th May) or a week before the previous Tuesday (the 7th)?

Knowing from the parish register for St Cuthbert’s Carlisle that Thomas was buried on the 4th May helps to clarify what was meant. It has to be the week before the previous Tuesday, which gives a date of death of the 30th April 1833.

Obviously this is four years before the start of civil registration so I am not going to be able to get a death certificate for Thomas. The only other possible place where his date of death might be recorded is on a gravestone if one has survived or if there was one in the first place.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Making the News: Henry Wright of Alton, Hampshire

7 May

You never know what you are going to find when you start delving into newspapers. The article below, from the Hampshire Advertiser of Saturday 23rd March 1889, has to one of the most bizarre that I have come across in my searches.

ALTON, MARCH 23.

A PROVIDENT WIFE.-A man named Henry Wright, formerly a chimney sweeper at Alton, has made a fortunate discovery. His wife died a few days ago, and preparatory to selling his furniture to a local dealer he inspected an old chest of drawers, when, to his surprise, he discovered, concealed behind a piece of board let into one of the drawers, two purses, one of which contained £200, and the other £60 in gold. At one time Wright kept a lodging-house, and it is supposed that his wife accumulated the money then.

Henry Wright and his “provident” wife were my 3x great-grandparents, all the facts fit with what I know. He was at one time a lodging-house keeper and later on a chimney sweep and his wife Sarah died in Alton in 1889.

Quite why Sarah should have felt the need to hide £260 from Henry is a mystery, unless she was frightened he would drink or gamble it all away. Perhaps the rainy day that she was waiting for never arrived?

I can see that it might have been hidden for safe-keeping (perhaps a distrust of banks), but could you really forget that you had put away that sort of money? Based the retail price index £260 in 1889 would be worth £22,400 today, not the sort of money that would be easy to forget.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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My Family History Week: Sunday 6th May 2012

6 May

It was another good week, although most of what I did wasn’t really what I had intended, but it was interesting and varied, which certainly helps keep me motivated.

Challenging times: Sorting out Patrick Vaughan’s information

I have to confess that I didn’t get very far with sorting out all the stuff that I have on Patrick Vaughan. I did make a start, but was almost immediately distracted by another part of the Finding Minnie story that needed sorting out.

One day I will get around to telling the story of these relations of Minnie Allison and answering the question Who Was Daisy Denyer? The information I has bundled up with that of Patrick Vaughan, so it made sense to get that sorted out at the same time.

There were two reason why I chose to start with this information, first I didn’t think it would take too long and secondly it was all English so I wouldn’t have any problem entering and sourcing the information, whereas Patrick’s was Irish, Scottish and Canadian and that would take some time to work out my source citation.

Thomas Acock of Malvern, Worcestershire, England

I decided that I would also like to clear a couple of items from my to-do list as well this week. Both of these items involved Thomas Acock who married my 4x great-aunt Anna Trower.

Anna was his third wife, so I wanted to include some details from these previous marriages in my database and I wanted to expand on the information that I had on their descendants.

I was able to delete these two entries from my to-do list although I really need to add a new one that will remind my to keep a look out for the parish registers for Malvern so that I can verify the work that I have done.

Upgrading Family Historian

Version 5 of Family Historian (my genealogy software of choice) has been out several weeks and this week I finally got around to paying for and downloading the update.

As expected everything went smoothly and I think the only thing I had change was the default project on opening, all my other settings were exactly the same.

This is just the sort of upgrading I like, whilst the core of the program looks and behaves the same as before there are several new features that are waiting to be explored. I had a quick play with the new fan charts and can see I am going to be having some fun with them in the future.

British Newspaper Archive

Part of the reason I didn’t get very far sorting out the Patrick Vaughan stuff was because I decided to take the plunge and buy a few credits for the British Newspaper Archive.

It has taken some getting used to and some of the image quality is dreadful, but there are more stories of interest than I had first imagined, but finding them has proved a big challenge requiring some careful searching. Capturing the information proved to be a bigger challenge in many cases, and my Print Screen button has not seen such use for many a year.

I still have a few credits left and a few hours to use them, so I will make the most of them to try to uncover more of what my relatives got up to.

Future Challenges

There is no question, no excuses, next week I must carry on sorting out the Patrick Vaughan information. I know that with the searching of the British Newspaper Archive I have gathered even more information to be sorted, but I will try to put that to one side for now and work on Patrick.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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