Tag Archives: burstow

In praise of Horley Library

23 Nov

Last Tuesday I spent a very productive few hours in the public library at Horley, Surrey. Horley Library is not the first place I would think of going to for family history research or for anything else for that matter.

I normally pass through Horley on the train from Horsham to London and barely give it a second thought, but hidden amongst the shops in the town centre is a wonderful library, which has a fantastic local history centre tucked inside it.

I think a large part of this is due to the presence of a very active local history society in the town, the Horley Local History Society, which covers not only Horley, but the surrounding area as well.

The local history centre contains many local and family history reference books, as well as transcriptions and indexes for a variety of local records such as parish registers and monumental inscriptions. Many of these are as a result of the hard work of the members of the local history society.

Most of my time was spent on the microfiche reader, looking at parish registers for Horley, Burstow and Charlwood. It was really a case of checking the accuracy of information and getting the full details for records gathered from other indexes such as the Surrey Baptism Index and the International Genealogical Index.

This short trip to Horley has saved me from having to make a trip to the Surrey History Centre at Woking, which has saved me a few pounds, probably the equivalent of another birth, marriage or death certificate.

As it is so close, and as I seem to have several branches of my tree in the area, I am certain I will be visiting again before too long and making new discoveries that will push those branches of my tree back even further.

Update on the will of William HOLMAN

17 Nov

On Saturday morning, whilst sitting on the train on the way to Winchester, I transcribed the will of William HOLMAN, my 5x great-grandfather.

Most of it was quite straight forward, but in taking the time to go through the will word by word I did pick up on a couple of mistakes.

The National Archives had the will indexed as being the will of William HOLMAN, farmer of Burstow, Surrey. When I looked at the word farmer it didn’t seem right. In fact I am pretty certain that William wasn’t a farmer but a farrier.

The second mistake was mine, in my earlier post about William’s will I said that his nine sons and six daughters inherited one guinea each upon his death. However on reading the will again I discovered that they inherited the one guinea each after the death of William’s wife Elizabeth.

Both of these may seem quite minor points, but could make a big difference further down the road in my research.

William HOLMAN’s will

13 Nov

Last night I downloaded the will of William HOLMAN, farmer of Burstow, Surrey from The National Archives, via their DocumentsOnline service.

I am certain that this William HOLMAN is my 5x great-grandfather, and the will has laid to rest my fears about two William and Elizabeth HOLMANs in Burstow, Surrey around the same time, so it was well worth spending £3.50 of my money on.

Although the will only mentions one wife (Elizabeth), it does also mention bequests to nine sons and six daughters. It also mentions another son (Thomas), who stood to inherit everything after the death of Elizabeth. By my reckoning that gives me 16 children in all, so it looks like William was married twice, both times to a woman called Elizabeth. Panic over!

The nine boys were Joseph, William, John, Benjamin, Stephen, James, Anthony, Richard and Robert. The six girls were Elizabeth, Sarah, Mary, Judith, Peggey and Catherine (my 4x great-grandmother). All of them were left the sum of one guinea each. These names don’t all tie-up exactly with the baptisms I have, but the majority do, so I am convinced this is the right family.

I need to take some time now and sit down and transcribe the complete will, I find it takes quite a bit of time to get used to the handwriting, but once I get back into the right frame of mind it is usually quite easy.

Hopefully I can get to have a look at the Burstow parish registers soon, and check for the burial of the first Elizabeth and William himself, the will was dated the 11th September 1807 and proved in London on the 4th March 1808, that should help me find his burial.

All in all this is looking like quite a happy ending to a worrying scenario that was forming in my mind about my HOLMAN ancestors, but I needn’t have worried. Why do I always suspect the worst of my ancestors and assume they were trying to give me a headache?

Things could get messy in Burstow

12 Nov

I was filling in gaps for my Christmas Tree Project last night, and it was going quite well, I was mainly focusing on Sussex baptisms, and added several 5x great-grandparents as I was going along. Then I started looking at some Surrey baptisms.

I was working on Henry GASSON and Catherine HOLMAN, who married in Burstow, Surrey in 1814. I have their ages and places of birth from the census, so it wasn’t too difficult to find their baptisms on the Surrey Baptism Index CD from the West Surrey Family History Society.

Henry GASSON was born in Charlwood, Surrey around 1786, he was baptised in Charlwood on the 11th February 1786. He was the son of John and Ann GASSON/GASTON. Catherine HOLMAN was born in Burstow, Surrey around 1795, she was the daughter of William and Elizabeth HOLMAN and was baptised in Burstow on the 12th July 1795.

The worrying thing was that when I looked for other children of William and Elizabeth HOLMAN in Burstow, I found another 16 children. That seemed rather a lot, not impossible, but rather unusual. Some of the names were duplicated, and there was a group of four children all baptised on the 21st October 1790. The baptism dates ranged from 1765 to 1795.

Further information came from checking the Surrey Marriage Index CD (also from the WSFHS) that I bought at Woking a couple of weeks ago. William HOLMAN married Elizabeth STREAP at Burstow on the 17th October 1764, and then on the 1st January 1779, a William HOLMAN married Elizabeth HUGGETT.

This could be a serious problem, I am hoping that I can find a burial for an Elizabeth HOLMAN before 1779, and the first William married another Elizabeth, otherwise I am going to have a devil of a job picking out which pair of William and Elizabeth HOLMANs had which children.

I really need to have a look at the original parish registers on microfilm/fiche, to check the accuracy of the index and look for other clues. Interestingly there is a will on The National Archives DocumentsOnline for William HOLMAN, farmer of Burstow, Surrey. That has got to be worth spending £3.50 of my money on.

Will my search for the GASSON ancestral home be grounded?

11 Aug

I was looking at map today for Surrey place names that have come up in connection with Henry and Catherine GASSON: Horley, Burstow and Charlwood.

I knew where Horley was because I pass through it on the train to London (and I briefly visited their library several years ago). I was familiar with Charlwood too, having done some unconnected research in the parish register previously (and I knew that it had moved from Sussex to Surrey in 1974).

Burstow was a new location to me, slightly to the east of the other two, but from the map it looked quite pleasant (quite a few fields to the east of it). Perhaps it might just be far enough from the M23 to escape the roar of traffic, but I doubt it.

There is one other fly in the ointment, Gatwick Airport. Right between the three places is Gatwick Airport. I am sure that I will find my ancestor’s home has long since been bulldozed and the fields they once worked are now covered in tarmac. That would be just my luck!

Only time will tell if my gut instinct is correct, but at least if I am asked where my ancestors come from I will be able to tell them it was Gatwick Airport, which will probably mean more to most people than Burstow, Charlwood or Horley.

Looking at the confusing mess surrounding Henry and Catherine GASSON

10 Aug

I started looking into my GASSON research this evening, the earliest ancestors I have on my family tree for this line are Henry and Catherine GASSON, my 4x great grandparents.

I do know who Henry’s parents are (from someone else’s research) and I have a copy of his father’s will, but it is such a complicated situation (three wives) that I haven’t got around to putting the details in my tree and checking all the facts, but I am sure you will hear more of them in the future.

What interests me about Henry and Catherine is that they are the generation that moved over the border from Surrey into Sussex. From the details of their children’s births it seems to have been around 1830. At least four of their children (possibly more) were born in Surrey and then another five were born in Nuthurst, Sussex. The youngest child, Edward, is just one day old on the 1841 census and hadn’t been named.

Of all the children the only one I really know anything about is my 3x great grandfather Thomas. He was one of the Sussex children. The others are a bit of a mystery to me, so this is my first task for this family, find out some more about them.

The Surrey Marriage Index CD from the West Surrey Family History Society has Henry GAYSON marrying Catherine HOLMAN in Burstow, Surrey on the 16th March 1814. The 1851 gives Henry’s birth place as Charlwood, Surrey and Catherine’s as Burstow, Surrey. From some quick census searches on ancestry.co.uk and on the IGI it looks like Horley, Surrey is going to be a good place to start looking, several individuals which look like good matches have turned up from there.

It all seems more than a little confusing at the moment. I think I need to get this generation sorted out and clear in my mind before I try and go back any further. So back to some basic genealogy I think. Starting with extracting everything I possibly can from the 1841 and 1851 census returns for Henry and Catherine.

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