Tag Archives: christmas tree project

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.

Weekly Genealogy Preview (for week 46)

8 Nov

Last week wasn’t too bad, it got quite a bit of research done (the HAYBITTLE family) and a pleasing amount of filing sorted (US census images for the EADE and ALLCORN families).

  • I need to make sure I have everything prepared for a visit to the Hampshire Record Office next Saturday in search of Susannah POCOCK.
  • For my Christmas Tree Project I think I need to create a list of facts that I need to find, so that I can work through them without getting distracted.
  • I think this week I will concentrate on sorting all the George Thomas GASSON paperwork in my stuff to sort folder. I have been putting it off for far too long.
  • I have several people to search for on the British Army WW1 Service Records on Ancestry.co.uk now the records are complete.

Christmas Tree Project update – fill in the gaps

2 Nov

I still have four missing people, hopefully I should find at least one of them this week when the marriage certificate for Henry SHORNDEN and Sarah LAY arrives, but nothing should be taken for granted with that family. Two other from Hampshire will probably have to wait a couple of weeks, before I can do any more work on them down at Winchester.

Now my focus has turned to filling in the gaps with the ancestors I have already located and think about what I want to display on my finished chart. For each individual I would like to have a date and place for each of the following events: birth, baptism, marriage, death and burial. Also I would like to find a census entry for them in every census for which they were alive.

For display purposes I would also like some sort of general sentence that describes where they lived and another describing what they did for a living. This will probably have to be hand written (or hand typed), summarising information contained in many different sources rather than using the residence and occupation attributes. I haven’t decided about education yet, I probably don’t have enough information at the education of my ancestors to make it worth including.

Last week I downloaded a query from the Family Historian User Group query store (thank you to whoever upload that), which reports which census years are present for each individual. I then modified it to show all the birth, baptism, marriage, death and burial information I want, plus restricted it to only include me and six generations of my direct ancestors. I then saved the output as a tab-delimited text file and opened it up in Microsoft Excel.

The result was slightly surprising and rather disappointing, the query had worked without any problem, it was just that there were an awful lot of holes in my data. I added in a few formulas at the bottom of the data and came up with some statistics on how complete my data was based on the 123 individuals I have already found.

Marriage data was the best, I have 85% (105 out of 123) of the marriages for my direct ancestors, and I know at least one couple were never married, so that is never going to be 100%.

Birth dates are at 65% and birth places at 63%. The low figures I think are due to the fact that I have not entered a birth date or place when I already have a baptism record, rather than assume that the person was born just before the baptism and in the same parish I have left it blank. I need to see if I can find other data to confirm place of birth from the census and the GRO Indexes.

Baptism data is surprisingly low at 42%. I thought I had found more baptism records than that, as that is where much of my early research was focused.

There is quite a discrepancy between the date of death (53%) and place of death (45%). This discrepancy is largely due to me not assuming that the person died in the same parish as they were living previously or where they were buried. This is never going to be 100%, at least not whilst I am still alive!

Perhaps the most surprising figure of all is that for burials, I only have dates and places for 28% of the individuals. Like baptisms I would have expected to have found more, but I guess I haven’t really been killing off my ancestors and burying them as diligently as I should have. Again this is never going to be 100% whilst I am still alive.

I haven’t paid too much attention to the census data. I will save that for once I have established birth and death (or baptism and burial) dates for as many as possible, although in some cases the census data helps find when an individual died leaving their spouse behind.

Now I need to stop analysing and start researching, I want to have as much data as possible in place for the end of November, so I can spend the first couple of weeks in December tweaking the chart and getting it printed.

Weekly Genealogy Preview (for week 45)

1 Nov

This wasn’t a good week for research, but a good week for organising. Another chunk of my stuff to sort folder has been sorted. I have ordered the marriage certificate for Henry SHORNDEN and Sarah LAY, and have discovered I am missing quite a bit of data on the ancestors I already have in my Christmas Tree Project.

  • Continue working on my stuff to sort folder, I cleared quite a bit last week, and I think this week I will try and sort the few United States census pages that I printed out a few years ago.
  • For my Christmas Tree Project I need to start filling in some of the gaps in my research, probably by trying to find all the GRO Index references for birth, marriages and deaths that I am missing.
  • I should get the marriage certificate for Henry SHORNDEN and Sarah LAY this week. That should be interesting and may well generate some more follow up work.

Is Susannah POCOCK going to spoil my Christmas?

27 Oct

At the moment it looks like Susannah POCOCK (my 3x great grandmother) could be the one person that spoils my Christmas Tree Project.

Susannah married William MITCHELL on the 16th January 1832 at New Alresford, Hampshire. From the census (1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881 and 1891) I have a date of birth around 1807-08 and a place of birth of Micheldever, Hampshire.

Neither the Hampshire Genealogical Society Baptism Index or the International Genealogical Index (which includes the baptisms for Micheldever) have a baptism for Susannah at the right time or place.

So basically I seem to be stuck, there doesn’t appear to be a baptism in all Hampshire for Susannah POCOCK. There is one in neighbouring Sussex that is a good match, but I have no reason to connect the two.

The question I have to answer is why did Susannah believe that she was born in Micheldever? There are several possibilities:

  • Maybe she was born there, but she was never baptised.
  • Maybe she was born there, but her parents were non-conformists and the baptism records are held elsewhere.
  • Maybe she wasn’t born there, but that was where she grew up.
  • Maybe her surname wasn’t POCOCK.

I probably need to head back down to Winchester again and the Hampshire Record Office. I would like to find out if there was a POCOCK family in Micheldever between 1808 and 1832.

There is a couple in New Alresford, Hampshire in the 1841 census who could be Susannah’s parents, they would have been about the right age when Susannah was born.

This couple, Richard and Mary POCOCK, are probably my best hope for finding Susannah’s parents, but based purely on the fact that Susannah was living in New Alresford when she married, so it is quite likely that her parents were also living there.

According to the 1841 census Richard was born in Hampshire, but he died in 1843, so I can’t tell any more than that. Mary on the other hand survived until 1870, so I have more information, she was born in Lambeth, Surrey, so I possibly need to be looking for Susannah’s baptism in Surrey.

Weekly Genealogy Preview (for week 44)

25 Oct

Last week was mainly about consolidation. Very little was actually added to my family tree whilst I spent my time planning some next moves for finding the last of my 4x great grandparents. This week I need to get those plans documented and ready to implement over the next few weeks.

  • Continue working on my stuff to sort folder, last week I discovered a collection of parish register transcriptions that weren’t on my spreadsheet, so that will be my focus this week.
  • Prepare a plan for identifying the parents of Susannah POCOCK, ready for a visit to Hampshire Record Office.
  • Decide whether I should order a copy of the marriage certificate for Henry SHORNDEN and Sarah LAY or whether to try and locate a copy of the parish register.
  • Start working on Phase II of my Christmas Tree Project, by preparing a query in Family Historian to identify the gaps in my research for all my ancestors.
  • Prepare for a visit to the West Surrey Family History Society Family History Fair at Woking, Surrey next weekend, to make sure I get the most out of the day.

Where has the week gone?

23 Oct

It’s already Friday, I can’t believe it, this week has just flown by and it feels like I haven’t achieved half of what I wanted to do this week.

It feels like I haven’t done much family history at all this week, and if I just measured my achievements by what I have added to my family tree, then I probably haven’t achieved very much at all.

I seem to have spent a lot of time on trying to locate the individuals missing from my Christmas Tree Project. I suppose it was not so much locating them, but devising strategies to locate them.

I must try not to measure success or failure in the terms of how many people are added to my tree in a given week, but the progress I am making in my research as a whole.

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