Tag Archives: death

Genealogy gold discovered in a newspaper

21 Apr

Sometimes it is worth taking a chance and searching for things which you don’t really expect to find. Such was the case last week at the Brighton History Centre, when I had an hour to spare in Brighton and wanted to check a local newspaper for details of the sale of the Gun Inn at Blackboys in Framfield, Sussex.

I had a date for the sale and wanted to find out who had been the auctioneers responsible, so I could see if there might be a sale catalogue for the Gun Inn languishing in an archive somewhere. I found the advert I was expecting (although not as much information as I had hoped) and a brief report the following day confirming that the sale took place.

The sale was as a result of the death of Henry HEMSLEY my 3x great grandfather who was the owner, occupier and licensee of the Gun Inn. I thought that as I had the microfilm loaded into the reader and I knew the date of Henry’s death from his headstone, that I might as well check to see if there was a mention of his death or burial.

To be honest I wasn’t expecting to find anything, perhaps a brief notice about his death or maybe something longer if his cause of death had been unusual. There didn’t really seem much chance of find anything more than a few sentences.

What I found was a report of his funeral that had so much detail in it that it will probably take me several weeks to actually process it all. I don’t think I have ever seen a newspaper report for one of my ancestors that goes into such detail, come to think of it, I don’t think I have ever found the report of a funeral for any of my ancestors.

I don’t think I have the space to bore you with all the details in this post, but if you are interested you can have a look at my transcription as a pdf. Over the next couple of days I will highlight some of the information that makes it so valuable to my research.

Mercy TROWER: what to do next

7 Feb

Having described what I already know about Mercy TROWER and what I want to find out, so now it is time to think about how I am going to do it.

To be honest I am not really sure what more I can do, it seems like I have checked every likely record to find a possible marriage, or two possible marriages for Mercy.

I have ordered her son’s marriage certificate, that may give me the name of his father, who may have been the STEADMAN that Mercy was supposed to have married, if not there is another man in her life that I will need to find out about.

The absence of any marriages in England and Wales (according to the GRO indexes) could suggest that the marriage took place elsewhere. There is no obvious sign of Mercy in any online passenger lists, but it may have been that she didn’t travel that far, so possibly Scotland or Ireland.

My searches of the GRO indexes have been confined to searching on FreeBMD. I need to actually check the indexes images in case something was missed in the transcription process, but I doubt it very much.

Likewise I should check with the local register office, just in case the marriage never made it into the main GRO index. The problem is that I don’t really know where the marriages might have taken place. It would guess it would have been in Sussex, in either Henfield or Brighton.

I could search for the death of a STEADMAN between 1884 and 1891, but the number of death certificates I would need to buy would be too expensive. Although I could start locally (Steyning Registration District) and work outwards, but the odds of finding the correct record are not good.

The only way I would know if I had found the right one is if Mercy (or another TROWER) was the informant, but of course I could find the right STEADMAN and not know it was the correct one if someone else had registered the death.

So, I think I will do three things in my attempt to solve the mystery surrounding Mercy’s life:

  1. Wait for the marriage certificate of Ernest John TROWER to arrive, and hope it provides more clues.
  2. Check the GRO index images to make sure Mercy’s marriage wasn’t missed in the transcription process.
  3. Search the local papers (Sussex Daily News and West Sussex County Times) from 1882 to 1891 to see if there is any mention of Mercy and either of her possible husbands.

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.

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