Tag Archives: driver

Yet another lesson learnt the hard way

5 Feb

Having come to the conclusion that Patrick Vaughan (the second husband of my 2x great-aunt Kate Allison) was not English, due to a lack of any trace of him in the British Army WW1 Records or any civilian records, I had no option but to move on and hope that something else would turn up that might give me a clue as to where he had come from.

Had the newly married couple had any children? When and where did Kate’s children get married? When and where did Kate and Patrick die? All questions which should have been easily answered by the GRO BMD Indexes.

Apart from Minnie Gladys Allison, whom had started this research off, I could find no trace of any of the Allison family or Kate and Patrick Vaughan in the indexes, or any combination of the names.

It was then I remembered a rather tatty piece of paper in my possession, a couple of pages from a family bible that gave a few details about the Driver family. I wrote about this piece of paper before, but had largely neglected to follow-up the information written on it. One piece of information on there suddenly took on new significance.

Suddenly it all made sense, this was why I couldn’t find any trace of the family in England, she had gone to Canada, presumably with her new husband and children. Once again I had found the information I was looking for right under my nose.

Last year when I wrote about the tattered remains of this family bible I had even commented on the fact that Kate and her brother Asher had gone to Canada, but had never followed up on the information.

It wasn’t as if I actually needed to do the research at the time and find them in passenger lists, just putting a note in my database that would have reminded me that the bible said she had gone to Canada could have saved me many hours of fruitless searching when the time came.

Yet another lesson learnt the hard way, but at least I was back on the trail of Kate, Patrick and family.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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What happened next to Kate Allison?

30 Jan

With the widowed Kate Allison (who I could confidently call my 2x great-aunt) and presumably her five children back in Uckfield Registration District, it seemed only natural that she should turn to her family for help.

Maybe the Allison family were even living with my great-grandparents (Minnie and Henry Herbert Hemsley) in High Hurstwood, Sussex, but whether they were or not it makes perfect sense for my great-grandparents to help out and even “adopt” one of her daughters.

But maybe the picture I had built in my mind of the poor, helpless Kate, unable to look after her family wasn’t being fair, perhaps I shouldn’t be making that assumption. Sure it seemed like she had given up at least one of her children to be looked after by her sister and brother-in-law, but I still wasn’t sure whether that was the end of the story.

One other possibility was that after she had moved back to Sussex Kate herself had died and the children had been left orphans. I shouldn’t automatically assume that Kate simply couldn’t cope.

There was no sign in the GRO Indexes that Kate had died, not under the name of Kate Allison anyway, but what I did find was a marriage for Kate Allison in Q4 1917 in Uckfield Registration District. I knew I needed to get a copy of the marriage certificate to clear away any remaining doubts that I might have had about her identity.

The certificate that arrived showed that Kate Allison married Patrick Vaughan at High Hurstwood on the 25th December, the certificate said the year was 1918, but the marriage had been indexed in the last quarter of 1917. Hopefully that will turn out to be a clerical error, with the certificate having the wrong year, but filed in the correct year and quarter, but I still have to check that out.

The details for Kate were what I had expected, she was a 40-year-old widow living in High Hurstwood and her father was Thomas Driver, this time still alive and kicking despite what had been recorded at her first marriage.

Interestingly Patrick Vaughan was a widower, his age was given as 43 years old, he was living in what looked like Seaford (not many miles away on the Sussex coast) but the handwriting was a bit dodgy so I couldn’t be certain. His occupation was given as Soldier Sapper and his father was Thomas Vaughan a labourer. I wasn’t totally surprised to find Patrick was a soldier, after all the majority of the male population were fighting in the Great War, so that wasn’t unusual.

Then my brain started filling with the questions:

  • Was Patrick the father of the unfortunate Georgina Allison who was born and died in 1916?
  • Was Seaford his real home or was he merely stationed there?
  • Did Patrick survive the First World War? And did his service record survive the Second World War?
  • What happened to the children of Kate’s first marriage, is this why Minnie was “adopted”?
  • Did Patrick have any children from his previous marriage(s)?
  • Who were the two strangers who were witnesses to their marriage?

With access to many First World War service records on Ancestry.co.uk I knew that I should at least be able to answer a few of these questions. I hoped for Kate’s sake that this marriage would see her enter a new settled phase of her life, after several years of dramatic changes, but only further research would tell.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Why should I be bothered about those two strangers at my great-grandmother’s wedding?

28 Jan

The widowed Kate Allison had returned to Uckfield Registration District sometime between the death of her husband Robert Cecil Allison in 1914 and the birth (and death) of an illegitimate daughter Georgina in 1916.

This pretty much confirmed that she was my 2x great-aunt, but the final confirmation came when I looked back at the marriage certificate of my great-grandmother Minnie Driver. Four years after the death of her first husband (my great-grandfather Henry Herbert Hemsley) Minnie re-married Robert Farlow in High Hurstwood, Sussex.

Just under four years ago I ordered a copy of their marriage certificate to confirm some details and make sure that I had the right husband (Moses Farlow). When I looked again at the certificate I realised that I had undeniable proof that Kate Allison was my 2x great-aunt.

Until I had started on this search for my grandmother’s “adopted” sister the two witnesses were unknown to me, and to be honest they weren’t that important to me. I mean why should I be bothered about those two strangers at my great-grandmother’s wedding?

Actually that is not strictly true, I knew I should try to find out who they were, but they were a low priority. Four years ago there were plenty more important people to work on and fewer records online, so they never really got the attention they deserved.

Of course the importance of the two witnesses should not be measured by the importance they have to me (are they my relations?) but by the importance that they had to my relatives.

I am sure you can guess where I am going with this, one of the witnesses on the marriage certificate was Kate’s daughter, Minnie Gladys Allison the adopted “sister” I had been searching for along.

Her name had been sitting in my records all along, it felt like I had gone full circle, but without making that journey I probably wouldn’t have realised the significance of the name on the marriage certificate.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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And then Kate went home

26 Jan

It seemed likely that the death of her husband Robert Cecil Allison towards the end of 1914 was the reason why Kate’s daughter Minnie had been “adopted” by my great-grandmother. There was however unfinished business, what had happened to Kate herself and the rest of her children?

In 1911 census the couple had three children and between 1911 and 1914 there was a good chance that the may have had one or two more before Robert’s death.

Searching the GRO Birth Index brought up another two children with births registered in Tendring Registration District, bringing their total number of children up to five:

  1. Katie Evelyn Allison (birth registered Q1 1904)
  2. Robert Cecil Allison (birth registered Q1 1906)
  3. Minnie Gladys Allison (birth registered Q1 1908)
  4. Herbert L Allison (birth registered Q2 1911)
  5. Nora M Allison (birth registered Q3 1913)

Presumably they were all born in Beaumont, Essex (I don’t have the money to spare for their birth certificates) but the biggest surprise came from an unexpected birth registration in Uckfield Registration District.

In Q1 1916 the birth of Georgina Allison was registered in Uckfield Registration District with the mother’s name of Driver. Not only had Kate returned home (or at least to the same registration district as she was born) but also she was having a child over a year after her husband had died.

Tragically there is also a death registration in the same quarter for Georgina, so although her life was short I was left wondering what story that pair of birth and death certificates would tell.

Presumably Kate had returned home with her children in search of support after the death of her husband, but whether it was soon after his death or after she found out she was pregnant. That was a mystery for another day though as the only way I could see of finding out would be through the records of her children’s education. Local school admission registers would hopefully tell me when the family arrived back in Sussex.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Meanwhile… back in Beaumont

24 Jan

I hadn’t entirely convinced myself that Kate Allison of Beaumont, Essex was my 2x great-aunt, but it seemed to be the most likely possibility.

How she came to be in Essex was still a mystery, as was the reason why her daughter Minnie was “adopted” by my great-grandmother. I was obvious I still had unfinished business in Beaumont.

In the 1911 census they looked like a perfectly normal family. Looming ahead of them of course was the First World War, which was to tear apart so many families. Was this the case with Kate and her husband Robert?

Searching the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website failed to find Robert Cecil Allison, so at least it appeared they had been spared that fate. A follow-up search of the First World War records on Ancestry.co.uk also failed to find Robert. It seemed unlikely that he could have escaped service altogether, but that seemed to be case.

I turned my attention to the GRO Death Index and found the answer there. In Q4 1914 a death was registered for the 34 year old Robert Cecil Allison in the Tendring Registration District. The National Burial Index confirmed that the burial was in the parish of Beaumont, Essex on the 27th October 1914. I had no doubt that this was Kate’s husband.

I had found the likely cause of the upheaval that had caused Minnie to be “adopted”. Kate became a widow at the age of 34 and with a young family to look after things must have been a struggle, presumably she had been unable to support herself and her children and presumably her sister (my great-grandmother) had stepped in to help bring up at least one of the children.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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