Tag Archives: driver

A puzzling group photograph

21 Apr

Of all the photographs in my collection this is probably the most distressed, but it is also one of the most interesting. I just wish I knew more about it.

There are a couple of people in this photo who look familiar, the woman on the front-left could be my great-grandmother Minnie Driver/Hemsley/Farlow and the young woman on the front-right could be my grandmother Annie Hemsley.

The old man at the back might be my great-grandmother’s second husband but I less sure about that. Also the woman with the large black hat looks familiar, but I am not sure from where.

That still leaves plenty of other people to be identified, including the little boy at the front. Of course there is also the location to be identified, a lovely rural backdrop with farm buildings and a haystack.

Using the digital image I need to put in some work on cleaning up the photo and then attempt to put a date to the photo, to see these are the people I think they might be.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Finding Minnie: taking stock

2 Mar

I have to admit that my Finding Minnie project has got a little out of hand and has grown way beyond my original expectations.

I was a little surprised at first to find my research taking me into Essex and away from my comfort zone in Sussex, but now I have left that comfort zone way behind and I am now trying to get to grips with research in both Ireland and Canada (with plenty of research still left to do in England).

I have no idea where or when this project is going to end. I have already achieved my initial goal of finding out who Minnie was, but instinctively I have just carried on investigating.

Taking a short break has given me chance to review what I actually want to find out and how it is going to happen. My attention has now turned to finding out what happened to Minnie’s mother Kate and the rest of Minnie’s siblings after they arrived in Canada, and also about the life of Kate’s second husband Patrick Vaughan.

I know this process is going to take some time, so whilst I get to grips with Irish and Canadian research I want to return much closer to home and find out more about my grandmother and my great-grandmother who brought up Minnie.

I also want to find out more about the village of High Hurstwood in East Sussex, where they were all living. I can find very little information online about the history of the village, so it will be quite interesting to see what I can find out and it could possibly evolve into a one place study in the future.

One of Kate’s brothers also emigrated to Canada, so as I am starting to explore Canadian research it would be a good time to find out some more about him and his family as well. There is also another brother who I haven’t been able to trace yet, I have a suspicion that he might also have emigrated to Canada so now would be a good time to find out more about him.

Now I see this project more about investigating this particular generation of the Driver family, so I may have to come up with a new name for the project.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Revisiting the outgoing passenger lists in search of Kate

11 Feb

Having failed to find a record of my 2x great-aunt Kate Vaughan leaving England for Canada, I turned my attention to the other end of the journey and found a passenger list on Ancestry that showed Kate and four of her children arriving in Halifax, Nova Scotia on the 27th September 1919 aboard the White Star liner R.M.S. Baltic.

Armed with this information and the fact that they had sailed from Liverpool, I knew I ought to now be able to find a record of Kate and her family leaving England in the outgoing passenger lists on Findmypast.

Knowing the name of the ship made it pretty easy to narrow down the search, searching by ship name brought up a list of ships and selecting Baltic then brought up a list of years, clicking on 1919 brought up a list of sailings for that year. In the list was a departure on the 19th September 1919, the same date that had been recorded on the remaining fragment of the Driver family bible.

The bible had been correct all along, if only I had been able to search on that exact date I could have saved myself a lot of searching. I wasn’t quite out of the woods yet though, I still had to find Kate and her children in the passenger list, but at least now I only had 47 pages to go through.

I clicked through page after page, scanning the list of names for something that looked like the surname Vaughan. I hadn’t been able to find Kate in a person search, so I was looking for something that might have been mis-transcribed.

I wasn’t until I neared the end of the list that I realised I was getting closer and more pieces of the story began to fit together. The last few pages included the hand-written words across the top “Canadian military dependants forwarded by Can. Govt.” This made perfect sense and confirmed my suspicions, Kate’s husband Patrick Vaughan had been a Canadian soldier and the family were now travelling to Canada to join him.

Sure enough there was Kate, or at least it had to be Kate, the handwriting was not clear and the surname was spelt wrong, but it looked like Vaghan P Mrs. Disappointingly it didn’t list each child, but only gave the number of adults and children in the party, three adults (Kate and her two eldest children) and two children.

Although the passenger list didn’t give me any further information I had at last confirmed when Kate left England and that I needed to be looking in the Canadian archives for a record of Patrick Vaughan’s army service and to find out what became of Kate and her family after they settled in Canada.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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At last, proof that Kate did go to Canada

9 Feb

The tattered remains of the Driver family bible told me that my 2x great-aunt Kate Vaughan went to Canada on the 19th September 1919, but I couldn’t find any record of her leaving England in the passenger lists on Findmypast.

I had found no trace of Kate and her family (except Minnie) in England and furthermore the bible had proved correct in the past so I felt sure Kate had gone to Canada, it was just that I couldn’t find her.

I knew that my best bet would be to try to catch Kate as she got off the ship at the other end. Of course I didn’t know for certain that the other end was Canada, what date she would have arrived and on which ship or with whom she arrived, but using the information in the family bible would give me a starting place.

Fortunately Ancestry have a collection of Canadian Passenger Lists and so the search began again. What name would she be under? Did she travel with her husband? Did she have her children with her?

This time I was more successful. It was quite straightforward to find Kate because she was travelling with her four children. Having said that it wasn’t all plain sailing because a couple of the children were not under the names I would have expected. In fact none of the children had the surname I would have expected, they were all listed under the surname Vaughan, whilst strictly speaking they should have been under the surname Allison.

The family consisted of Kate Vaughan (Housewife, aged 42) and Kate Vaughan (aged 15), Cecil Vaughan (aged 13), Lawrence Vaughan (aged 8) and Nora Vaughan (aged 6), and they arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia aboard the Baltic on the 27th September 1919.

At last I had confirmation that Kate and her family had gone to Canada, but there was also confirmation that Minnie hadn’t gone. This was the first time it really struck home, Minnie had been left behind. Perhaps I would never find out the reason why, but sitting there looking at that list of names on my screen I couldn’t help but think it must have been an incredibly traumatic thing to do for all concerned.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Kate went to Canada, so why can’t I find her?

6 Feb

The tattered remains of the Driver family bible gave me the clue that I needed as to what became of my 2x great-aunt Kate Vaughan and her family. It claimed that she went to Canada on the 19th September 1919.

Whilst the words scribbled on the front page of a bible were a good clue, they need to be verified and also I needed to confirm who else went with Kate to Canada.

It seemed likely that her daughter Minnie Allison had not gone and thus ended up being adopted by my great-grandmother, but had Kate’s other children also emigrated with their mother? Hopefully finding the passenger list for that journey would provide some answers.

Findmypast.co.uk has outgoing passenger lists covering the period 1890 to 1960, so in theory it should have been relatively easy to find at least Kate among the lists, but of course it wasn’t.

Despite trying all the combinations I could think of I couldn’t find Kate. I knew I couldn’t rely on her giving the correct age, so keep that aspect of the search pretty open, but there were plenty of different names she could be travelling under. I assumed she was travelling under the name Vaughan, but when she didn’t turn up under that name I wondered whether she might have been using the name Allison or Driver.

Whichever name I used I couldn’t find Kate, or for that matter her husband Patrick or any of her five children. Unfortunately there was not an option to search by a departure date, only the year of departure otherwise that would have saved me some time.

I began to wonder if the information in the bible could be relied upon had the writer got the correct year and what if it wasn’t Canada she went to, but completely the opposite side of the world? Perhaps it was a different Kate? So far I had found the bible to accurate, so I felt I shouldn’t give up on it just yet.

I remembered the title of a podcast from The National Archives I had listened to a couple of years ago Every journey has two ends. If I couldn’t find Kate leaving England then perhaps I would have more  success finding her arriving in Canada.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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