I had hoped to go down to Chichester today, to do some research at the West Sussex Record Office and the public library, but it became obvious early in the week that I wasn’t going to be prepared in time, so I decided to postpone to visit (probably until next weekend).
To be honest I wasn’t really too disappointed, it was a good excuse for me to stay in bed. Many weeks of getting up early nearly every morning have taken it’s toll and I really couldn’t face another early start. Besides there were plenty of other things that I wanted to do.
Top of those lists of things to do was a visit to Shoreham Postcard Fair, at Shoreham by Sea, West Sussex. So after a lazy start to the day I took the bus to Brighton and then Shoreham, and spent some more of my hard earned money on postcards.
Shoreham Postcard Fair is a fairly small postcard fair, probably twenty or so dealers, and not all postcards, some coins, stamps and cigarette cards. There was plenty to keep me occupied for several hours, and I came away with another eleven postcards for my growing collection, including some great bargains from one dealer’s 50p box.
The great thing about Shoreham Postcard Fair is that it is pretty convenient for me to get to, just two bus rides. Unfortunately it means passing through the crowded city of Brighton. Perhaps it is just me getting older, but I am starting to get very “crowd intolerant”. I am really starting to go off buses packed full of passengers and crowded pavements (and as we get nearer to Christmas it can only get worse), so I was very pleased to get back home, put my feet up and study my new postcards.
Continuing the West Dean theme to my blog posts this week, here is a delightful postcard of West Dean, Sussex. You will probably get fed up with hearing about West Dean over the next few weeks, but I make no apologies, as it is one of the key places in my family history.
Not only is the picture delightful, so crisp and clear, but the card itself has lots of helpful features for the collector who wants to find out more about who published it and when. With reference to my earlier post about two West Deans in Sussex, there is no confusion which one this is, because the publisher has included a place as well as his name.
The publisher and photographer was Albert Henry Morey of nearby Chichester. The postcard was sent from West Dean on the 5th August 1914 (to an address in Watford), but from reading the description on the Sussex Postcards website (where there are some fantastic examples of his other work) it sounds like they may have been available several years earlier.
The picture is taken on the road from Chichester to Midhurst, looking roughly in an easterly direction. The large building on the right-hand side of the road is a pub, The Selsey Arms. I really must pop in next time I am in West Dean, as I have never been inside even though the bus stop is right outside. When I do I am sure I will be following in the footsteps of many of my ancestors.
Last week got off to a slow start, or rather it got off to a very quick start and before I knew it I was half-way through the week and hadn’t really achieved much. This spurred me into action and although I didn’t really achieve a great deal I did come to a decision about yet another new project that I want to start.
My recent visit to West Dean, Sussex has brought the project into focus, but it was something that I had been meaning to start for a long time. I had been intending to write a series of blog posts about the BOXALLs of West Dean remembered on the parish war memorial, the plan was for this to be in time for Remembrance Day this year.
There are six BOXALLs mentioned on the war memorial and at least four of them are related to me. My plan is to fill in some details on my family tree and hopefully identify my relationship to all six of the men, and provide some details on them and their service. So I am going to kill two birds with one stone, fill in some details on my family tree and generate some material for a few blog posts.
I have no doubt that I will still find other things to distract me whilst carrying out the research on this particular project, hopefully this focus will encourage me to get on with some research and I am already planning to visit the West Sussex Records Office and Chichester Library in the next couple of weeks. There is much I can do online as well, and there is a lot that I need to do before I go the WSRO.
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.
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.
Yesterday I went down to the West Sussex Record Office, with a handful of records to look-up. It was a successful visit and things went better than I could have hoped, even with the disruption on the trains (more engineering work).
I made some useful progress on proving that my 6x great-grandmother was “the old druggist” (more about that in a later post).
I found the exact burial place of my great-grandmother Dorothy May TROWER, something which has eluded me for years (more about that in a later post).
I have located the school admission record of Walter Henry BOXALL, part of what seems to be evolving into a project to document his life and death.
I also picked up several baptism records that I needed, not really critical for my research, just distant relations not ancestors.
It is a little worrying that a lot of the records on my to-do list are parish registers, which have still not been deposited by the parish church at the record office. I am starting to build up quite a list of registers that I check every visit to see if they have arrived yet. Soon I will have to start bothering local vicars for access to the registers.
Whilst out in Chichester at lunchtime I picked up a second hand copy of a book called Goodwood Country in Old Photographs, which includes a photo of one of my 3x great-grandmothers as well as at least two other relations, but probably more. I must say thank you to my (distant) cousin Lisa who told me about this book.