Tag Archives: burial

Where did Vernon Alphonso GASSON get his name from?

21 May

One of the curious records that I transcribed at the West Sussex Record Office a couple of weeks ago was the baptism of Vernon Alphonso GASSON. He was the son of John and Alice Catherine Maud GASSON and was baptised at the parish church in Slaugham, Sussex on the 8th September 1907.

Now don’t get me wrong, but the name Vernon Alphonso doesn’t strike me as an English name, let alone a Sussex one. So where did he get it from?

I thought that Alice Catherine Maud might not have been from England, but her name doesn’t sound particularly exotic. This was further confirmed when I checked FreeBMD for a marriage, Alice’s maiden name was MITCHELL (they were married in Q3 1906 in Cuckfield Registration District).

So I have no idea where the name Vernon Alphonso came from, it certainly doesn’t appear to be a family name. Sadly Vernon Alphonso died in 1910 and was buried in Slaugham on the 26th November.

There must have been some confusion when it came to filling in the 1911 census because Vernon is included with his parents and their other son, Jack. The entry clearly shows that John and Alice had two children, one of whom had died.

I guess I will never know where the name Vernon Alphonso came from, but the one thing I must find out is who John GASSON was, or rather which John GASSON this is. He is probably the son of my 3x great uncle Edward GASSON, but I need to get a copy of the marriage entry/certificate to make sure.

Impromptu visit to the West Sussex Record Office

8 May

Today I made an impromptu visit to the West Sussex Record Office. I had nothing else planned for today, the weather forecast was not too good so I had decided not to go walking, so last night I printed off my to-do list ready for a visit.

West Sussex Record Office

My to-do list has been growing rapidly as I go through my digital files, and although I hadn’t planned on doing any more research until I had got most of my digital files sorted out, I felt it would be beneficial to get to an archive and do a bit of proper research, if not for my research then at least for my sanity.

The record office closes for lunch on a Saturday, so it split the day quite nicely. In the morning I worked on parish registers and in the afternoon I worked on wills.

The morning went quite well. I was able to pick up several baptisms and burials that I was after from Slaugham, Sussex (mainly GASSONs) and several others dotted around the county that I needed, including the baptism of my mother, but curiously not those of her younger brothers.

The afternoon wasn’t too bad, but I continue to be disappointed by the number of my ancestors that didn’t leave wills. I did however have some luck with my direct PIERCY ancestors. I found wills for both George PIERCY (my 6x great-grandfather) and Thomas PIERCY (my 7x great-grandfather).

Although I wasn’t really prepared for a visit, with my growing to-do list it wasn’t likely that I would come away empty handed, but I was pleasantly surprised at how successful my visit was.

The Funeral of Henry HEMSLEY: The Floral Tributes

29 Apr

As well as detailing the chief mourners at the funeral of Henry HEMSLEY, my 3x great-grandfather, the newspaper report also provided a list of some of the floral tributes at the funeral.

I can only imagine the newspaper reporter standing over the grave with his notebook scribbling down the names and messages on the bouquets and floral displays. I wish I knew who it was I had to thank for capturing all of this information, if only he had owned a camera as well.

To dear father, from Joy and Ada

In loving memory of dear father, Nellie and Ernest

Mr. and Mrs. G. Hemsley, in affectionate remembrance of our dear father

From Mr. and Mrs. Jeffery and son, in affectionate memory of our dear father

In affectionate memory to our dear father, from Emily and Will

In loving remembrance, from Ben and Esther

In affectionate remembrance of dear grandfather, from his loving great-grandchildren, Albert and Cecil

In loving memory of dear granddad, from Harry and family

In affectionate remembrance, from Mr. Lewis Wren and family

In kind remembrance of dear granddad, from Lily Stevens

In loving remembrance, from Tom, Annie, and family

A token of respect to the oldest license holder, from his friends in the Trade at Uckfield, George Benn, J. H. Elliott, A. E. Hill, M. Tourle, J. Webber, A. Waight, and F. White.

Once again there is some useful genealogical information contained amongst the messages and names, and an interesting mention of some of his fellow licensees.

The Funeral of Henry HEMSLEY: The Chief Mourners

28 Apr

Last week I mentioned the discovery of a newspaper report of the funeral of my 3x great-grandfather, Henry HEMSLEY at Framfield, Sussex on the 15th January 1914. The amount of information contained in the report was quite remarkable.

One of the most valuable features was the list of chief mourners at the funeral, which appears to be an almost complete list of Henry’s descendants. Not only does it give the names of the mourners, but it also gives their relationship to Henry.

Mr. H. Hemsley (son)
Mr. and Mrs. Buckley (son-in-law and daughter)
Mr. and Mrs. Jeffery (son-in-law and daughter)
Mr. and Mrs. B. Hemsley (son and daughter-in-law)
Mr. and Mrs. T. Hemsley (son and daughter-in-law)
Mr. and Mrs. J. Hemsley (son and daughter-in-law)
Mr. and Mrs. G. Hemsley (son and daughter-in-law)
Mr. and Mrs. E. Winter (son-in-law and daughter)
Mr. M. Stevens (son-in-law)
Mr. C. Wren (brother-in-law)
Mr. C. Hemsley (grandson) and Mrs. Hemsley
Mr. E. Hemsley (grandson) and Mrs. Hemsley
Mr. Bert Hemsley (grandson) and Mrs. Hemsley
Miss M. Hemsley (granddaughter)
Mrs. Ralph (granddaughter) and Mr. Ralph
Mr. W. W. Buckley (grandson)
Mrs. Westgate (granddaughter) and Mr. Westgate
Mr. J. Buckley (grandson)
Miss C. Buckley (granddaughter)
Mr. H. Jeffery (grandson)
Miss A. Hemsley (granddaughter)
Miss N. Hemsley (granddaughter)
Mr. W. Hemsley (grandson)
Miss G. Winter (granddaughter)
Miss O. Hemsley (granddaughter)
Mr. A. Hemsley (grandson)
Master W. Hemsley (grandson)
Miss Ivy Hemsley (granddaughter)
Miss Lily Stevens (granddaughter)
Mrs. Tapp (niece)
Mr. Tapp (nephew)
Mr. G. Wren (nephew)
Mr. and Mrs. L. Winter (nephew and niece)

I am sure don’t need to point out what a valuable piece of information this is. I now have a list of the children that had married, or those who hadn’t (or whose spouse had died). Going one step further than that I can also see many of Henry’s grandchildren as well.

It is going to take a while to go through this list and confirm the details and enter them into my family tree. Some of the information I already have, some will confirm what I previously suspected and some is completely new to me.

The amount of information contained in this report is really quite staggering and it makes me wonder just how the newspaper reporter went about collecting all this information?

Ellen NICHOLLS: a confession

10 Apr

I have written before about Ellen NICHOLLS and how she was causing problems in my research. In brief, the problem was that I had a baptism record for Ellen which was in the right place, with the correct spelling of her name, but the baptism was too early compared to other records. I had found no marriage record that would give me her father’s name.

I had accepted this baptism as the correct one, my justification was that her father died not long after her birth, and I have no idea where Ellen was in the 1851 or 1861 census, certainly not with her mother. I saw this as a good enough reason for Ellen not to know her exact age.

I have to confess that there was another reason why I accepted this baptism record as correct.

I wanted to have her father Thomas NICHOLLS as my 4x great-grandfather. His occupation was given as excavator, and to me this sounded like he was building the local railway. I wanted to be able to say that one of my ancestors helped build part of England’s railway network.

What is more he may have died whilst building the railway. That one of my ancestors lost his life helping to build part of England’s railway network was something that really appealed to me.

Of course this is not the way to build a family tree. We can’t pick and choose our ancestors, but in my defence I would say that the baptism was a pretty good match for my Ellen NICHOLLS.

What I discovered at the Centre for Kentish Studies today has left one branch of my tree looking decidedly unsafe. I was looking for a burial record for Thomas in the Chiddingstone parish registers, but what I found was a burial record for Ellen instead. The age was correct, she was just two years and nine months old, she was buried on the 7th February 1844.

I was gutted that I had made a fundamental mistake, I was feeling guilty and ashamed that I had been caught out. My desire to have a railway navvy in my family tree had lead me down the wrong route.

Fortunately I had not done any further research beyond trying to find out what had happened after Thomas’ death, so I haven’t wasted much time and effort on the wrong people.


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