Tag Archives: finding minnie

Challenging times: Sorting out Patrick Vaughan’s information

30 Apr

I have been taking a bit of a break from Finding Minnie and Patrick Vaughan whilst I get a bit of family history housekeeping done. Now it is the turn of Patrick Vaughan to be on the receiving end of that housekeeping.

If I am ever going to move forward with my research on Patrick and Kate Vaughan then I really need to get all the material that I already have into some sort of order.

I have gathered quite a lot of information from Ireland, Scotland and Canada like passenger lists, census returns, marriages and baptisms, but I haven’t actually input them into my family tree yet.

This week I am going to concentrate on Patrick Vaughan get everything sorted and updated. That means:

  1. Setting up dedicated sub-folders for digital image downloads
  2. Making sure all the digital images are correctly named and in the correct sub-folders
  3. Making sure all the information is entered into my family tree

As well as needing to make sure I have solid foundations to move forward I also want to be able to tell the story of Patrick’s life before he married my 2x great-aunt, hopefully system generated reports will provide the framework for this.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Grandmother in Minnie’s photo album

17 Apr

It is about time that I got around to telling the rest of the Finding Minnie story, or at least the story so far. You might remember that last time I wrote about contacting my newly found third cousin and how she thought she might have some photos of interest in her grandmother’s photo album.

She was right, they were definitely of interest because they showed my grandmother and great-grandmother along with Minnie herself and several other children.

It is fortunate that Minnie had the foresight to write names and dates in the photo album. How often do you see that? It is fortunate because I wouldn’t have recognised my grandmother in most of these, as I don’t recall ever seeing any photos of her as a child before.

There was one photo however which was unmistakably my grandmother. It was uncanny, the face looking back at me, that smiling face which I had seen so many times as I was growing up, but which I hadn’t seen since she passed away in 1999.

Annie Hemsley (dated 1927)

Apart from seeing that wonderful smiling face again it was great to see my grandmother as a child (she would have been ten or eleven when this photo was taken). I only remember her as an old woman and here she was enjoying herself climbing a tree, just being a child.

I can’t help but think see wasn’t really dressed for climbing trees, more likely dressed for going to school or church, but then children will be children, and it was just so wonderful to see her being a child.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Personal Research Update: Friday 30th March 2012

30 Mar

It has been two weeks since I wrote my last update, and they have a relatively productive couple of weeks, beginning with a visit to the East Sussex Record Office. Since then my focus has pretty much been on processing the information gathered at the record office and trying to get my to-do list into a better condition.

Finding Minnie

To be honest I haven’t done a lot on my Finding Minnie project this last fortnight, apart from processing what I discovered at the record office. I still haven’t ordered a copy of Patrick Vaughan’s service record, which I can do now as I am sure I have the right man.

Apart from ordering the service record my other priority is to enter all the data that I already have for Minnie, Kate and Patrick (and his first family). I have made a start on this, but need to get this finished.

To-Do List

I have spent a fair bit of time worrying about my to-do list, and in some respects this has been a distraction, but I feel it is important to have a useable to-do list.

I have done a bit of work on updating the list, and this has inevitably lead me off in different directions as I revisit some of the items to see if they can be completed yet or if I have already done them.

I know I need to be more methodical with this review and once I have done my first pass through I need to go through a bit more carefully and double-check everything.

High Hurstwood, East Sussex

Again I haven’t put much more thought into the idea of a one-place study on the village of High Hurstwood, East Sussex. Whilst I was at the record office viewing the parish registers I did wonder whether one day I will be transcribing them.

My current thinking is that it would be a worthwhile project to take on, but also that I don’t have the time at the moment. If I can put aside a tiny bit of time each week to work on it then it might be feasible.

The Family History/ Book Reading Half-Hour

This pretty much fell by the wayside this week, the week before wasn’t so bad, but I really need to try to get back in the routine of turning of the computer and picking up a book instead.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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More about Georgina Allison

29 Mar

I have previously written about the tragically short life of Georgina Allison, the illegitimate daughter of my 2x great-aunt Kate Allison, and I knew that there would be very little more to uncover about her brief life.

However, that didn’t stop me trying when I went to the East Sussex Record Office a couple of weeks ago. Baptism and burial records would probably be the only other records available and as the burial register is presumably still in the hands of the Vicar at High Hurstwood the only record left was the baptism register.

Fortunately there was an entry for Georgina in the baptism register, she was baptised on the 23 March 1916, just seven days before she died.

Interestingly she is named as Georgina Whitney. It is not clear whether the Whitney part was meant to be her surname (Georgina Whitney) or whether it was her middle name (Georgina Whitney Allison). Both her birth and death were registered under the name Georgina Allison.

Either way I think it is a pretty big clue to her father’s name and if I were a betting man I would put money on her father being George Whitney, but that is pure speculation because only her mother is named and her occupation given as laundress.

Just to make sure there could be no ambiguity, the vicar (Thomas Constable) has written the word “illegitimate” under her mother’s name where her father’s name should be.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Investigating Patrick and Kate’s marriage

20 Mar

I had two specific questions about Kate Allison and Patrick Vaughan’s marriage to answer yesterday when I visited the East Sussex Record Office.

  1. When did it take place?
  2. Was this Patrick Vaughan the one from Canada?

When did it take place?

Although I have a copy of the marriage certificate, the date on the certificate doesn’t match the date in the GRO index. I know this doesn’t make that much difference in the whole scheme of things, but I don’t like uncertainty so I wanted to confirm with the original parish register what was the correct date.

As I suspected the certificate was incorrect, the marriage took place on the 25th December 1917 and not 1918 as the marriage certificate states. It doesn’t really change anything, but just provides a useful reminder that mistakes do occur even in the “official” records.

It could have been a different story if there had been a child born between the two dates, it could have been the difference between legitimacy and illegitimacy.

Was this Patrick Vaughan the one from Canada?

Everything pointed to Patrick Vaughan that married Kate Allison as being the same one who joined the Canadian Expeditionary Force in June 1916, but before I would put my hard-earned cash on the line and order a copy of his service record I wanted to be certain. It occurred to me one evening in the bath that I could compare the signature on the marriage register (not on the marriage certificate) with that on the attestation form and hopefully confirm they were the same man.

I don’t have a copy of the marriage register entry to show you, so you will have take my word for it. Although the two signatures are not exactly the same they are similar enough for me to be happy that they are the same man.

This is quite a relief as I have spent a fair bit of time and money over the last few weeks downloading records from Scotland and Ireland for Patrick and his first marriage. Now I have no excuse for not ordering a copy of Patrick Vaughan’s service record.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Use It or Lose It – A visit to East Sussex Record Office

19 Mar

It’s that time of year again. My holiday year runs out at the end of the month and if I don’t I use my last couple of days holiday then I will lose them. What better excuse than that to indulge in some family history research.

It was a beautiful day today, if a little chilly to start with, and I wondered whether I should have been walking rather than shutting myself away in East Sussex Record Office. The journey down to Lewes, East Sussex gave some splendid views of the South Downs. The short grass and low sun highlighting the curves and texture of hill-side, if I had been wearing my walking boots instead of my shoes then the day would have been completely different.

East Sussex Record Office

I can’t remember the last time I visited the East Sussex Record Office or any other archive for that matter, although I am sure looking back through my blog posts would tell me. Looking at my to-do list it was obvious that I hadn’t been to an archive for a long time.

There were a couple of high priority items for this visit concerning Finding Minnie, checking the marriage entry for Kate Allison and Patrick Vaughan and checking the baptism register for High Hurstwood.

After that the plan was to collect as much other data as possible and clearing as many items from my to-do list along the way.

One thing that became obvious whilst I was preparing for this visit was that my to-do list is not really up to the job, something that I am going to have to take another look at in the near future. At least I have a better idea of what is needed now.

I was quite pleased with myself when I used my Family Historian software on my netbook to quickly create an ad hoc to-do list for Brighton marriages to check. It would be very easy to do this with many other facts, but things could easily get out of hand. The question is not so much what don’t I know, but what do I want to find out.

All in all it was a good day, the record office was quiet (a shortage of staff and users) and I have come away with several pages of baptisms, marriages and burials for High Hurstwood, Framfield and Brighton that need processing and one important piece of evidence about Patrick Vaughan that will enable me to move my research forward.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Personal Research Update: Friday 16th March 2012

16 Mar

Once again I have had a good week. Pretty much all of my research was in Scotland or Canada, and I am really enjoying investigating some slightly different records. I still can’t believe how far this research project has taken me, it will soon be four months since I started Finding Minnie and there is no sign of it coming to an end.

Finding Minnie

Finding Minnie was more about finding Patrick Vaughan this week, with some success. I have now found Patrick Vaughan travelling to Canada in 1910, presumably for the first time. He is on his own, leaving his first wife behind in Scotland (she is in the 1911 Scottish Census).

Interestingly Patrick is travelling to Taber, Alberta, which suggests he knew where he was going and possibly already had a promise of work. Patrick’s son Cornelius also travels to Canada a few months later, also destined for Taber.

Cornelius returns to England in 1914 (although I haven’t found an entry in the passenger lists yet), maybe to serve during the First World War and returned to Canada again in 1919 at the end of the war.

I need to find out whether Patrick’s first wife ever joined him in Canada and more importantly when and where she died. Was Patrick actually a widower when he re-married in 1917?

High Hurstwood, East Sussex

I haven’t put much more thought into the idea of a one-place study on the village of High Hurstwood, still the problem is with defining what constitutes High Hurstwood.

I really need to get hold of a decent digital map (maybe Google Earth), on which I can draw some boundaries and see just what is involved. I know if I do start this study then I want it to be just as much about places as well as people, so perhaps the one name study will be just a part of it.

The Family History Half-Hour

I decided at the beginning of the week to transform the family history half hour in to a book reading half hour. Having bought a couple more books last week I decided I really need to make some time to read them and the stacks of books I already have waiting to be read.

This week I have been switching off the computer about half an hour early and picking up one of the many books waiting to be read. As most of the books are related in one way or another to family history you could still say that it is a family history half-hour.

The only drawback to this has been that on a couple of occasions I have found myself nodding off. Perhaps this is beneficial in a way as it is obviously a sign that I should turn the light out and go to sleep, a sign that I probably would have missed if I had been staring at a screen.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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