Tag Archives: finding minnie

Contacting my newly found cousin brings rewards

13 Mar

In the end I decided I had put off for too long getting in touch with my third cousin. I had to find out if she was Minnie’s grand-daughter and if she was did she know why Minnie got left behind when her mother and four siblings emigrated to Canada in 1919.

I suppose I had been worried about how my contact would be received, if was indeed contacting the right person. Would it be ignored? Would I be told in no uncertain terms to get lost? There were no end of things that could go wrong, but of course there wasn’t really, it was just me worrying needlessly.

I received a reply to my initial email which confirmed that she was Minnie’s grand-daughter, and provided a couple of photos of Minnie and her husband, as well as filling in a few details.

I thought I could see similarities between the couple in the new photo (on the right) and the wedding photo (on the left) that had started this project a couple of months before, but that might just have been wishful thinking on my part.

My newly found third cousin also mentioned a photo album which had belonged to her grandmother, which she thought might have some photos of interest.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
Creative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License
.

What became of Minnie Allison?

12 Mar

My grandmother’s “adopted” sister (in reality her cousin) had seemingly been left behind in England when her mother and four siblings emigrated to Canada in 1919, to be brought up by my great-grandmother Minnie Hemsley (as she would have been then).

I had been focusing very much on the Canadian side of things and neglecting Minnie. I knew she had married as it was her husband’s name that had enabled me to find her in the first place, and her death registration had led me back to her birth in Essex, but what had happened in the intervening years?

Through the GRO BMD indexes I was able to discover that Minnie and her husband had a son, that son had married and had a daughter. This opened up the prospect that somewhere out there was a living descendent of Minnie, who through Thomas and Ellen Driver (Minnie’s grandparents) would be my third cousin.

The electoral rolls, on CD and online at 192.com enabled me to pin down where the family had been living until quite recently, whether they were still there was another question. Naturally the daughter had grown up and left home, but if I was right she was still in roughly the same area, what is more I thought I had found also found her contact details online.

I knew I ought to get in touch with my third cousin, after all she might be able to fill in some of the gaps in the story and perhaps she would know why Minnie was left behind whilst the rest of the family went to Canada, but for some reason I didn’t make contact straight away.

I kept telling myself that I needed to get all the facts together first, but in reality it was probably because I didn’t want to make a fool of myself if she wasn’t my third cousin. In the end I figured that I didn’t really have anything to lose, but plenty to gain if I was correct.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
Creative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License
.

Personal Research Update: Friday 9th March 2012

9 Mar

It has been quite a good a week for my family history. I am pleased with what I have achieved, although I would have liked to have done more. Much of what I did involved working with collections which were unfamiliar, which was quite rewarding as not only was I learning about my relatives, but also learning about new areas of research.

Finding Minnie

I have managed to pull together a few bits of information on Patrick Vaughan and his family. I really wanted to try to find out where Patrick came from and how he ended up in Canada, before then trying to find out what happened to him and Kate after their marriage and the move to Canada.

I have managed to put together a very basic timeline for Patrick, from his birth and marriage in Ireland, then over to Scotland and from Scotland over to Canada. Now I need to find further evidence and fill in some of the gaps.

High Hurstwood, East Sussex

I have spent a bit of time thinking about what I should do with High Hurstwood. I want to find out more about the village where my grandmother was born, but I am not sure about whether I want to (or have the time to) go into great detail and start a one-place study or just concentrate on some aspects of its history.

Apart from indecision, the other problem I have at the moment is defining exactly what makes up High Hurstwood. It is an ecclesiastical parish in its own right, and has been for about 140 years, but it is also part of the larger Buxted Civil Parish.

Probably what I am looking for is a way to be able to define it as a community, which may or may not be limited by administrative boundaries. If I can get that idea clear in my head then I might be able to start making plans (and decisions).

The Family History Half-Hour

This week I have failed to actually carry out the idea of a family history half-hour. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but I forgot to actually set aside that time for family history. Obviously I am going to need to set myself up a reminder, so that I know the half-hour is about to start. Hopefully next week I can give it a proper trial.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
Creative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License
.

Georgina Allison – a brief life

8 Mar

On a couple of occasions I mentioned that my 2x great-aunt Kate Allison had a sixth child whose life was tragically short.

At the time Georgina Allison was born her mother Kate was a widow, her first husband Robert Cecil Allison had died about sixteen months earlier in October 1914, and she didn’t marry her second husband Patrick Vaughan until December 1917.

I knew from the GRO indexes that Georgina had a short life, her birth and death being registered in the same quarter in 1916, but I felt I should get copies of the two certificates to fill in some details.

It was odd, but I felt the need to learn what happened to Georgina. There was the feeling that she needed to be remembered and that I was probably the only living person who knew of her brief existence.

At first glance she seems an insignificant part of my family tree, but I felt I had got to know this family so well over the weeks that I had been “Finding Minnie” that I felt I owed it to them not to just skip over her.

Georgina Allison was born on the 10th February 1916 at Quarry Cottages, Land End, High Hurstwood, Sussex. Her birth was registered by her mother Kate Allison (formerly Driver) on the 13th March 1916. The certificate makes no mention of her father or his occupation.

Sadly Georgina died on the 30th March 1916, at Lane End Cottage, High Hurstwood. The death was registered by her mother on the following day, again no mention was made of her father. The cause of death was recorded as premature birth and this was certified by George Lucas M.R.C.S. of Uckfield, Sussex.

Thus ended poor little Georgina’s short life. Aside from a burial record and a possible baptism record this is probably all I am ever likely to find out (it seems unlikely that there would have been a gravestone, but I will check when I next visit High Hurstwood).

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
Creative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License
.

Patrick Vaughan, you’re a hard man to pin down

5 Mar

My 2x great-aunt’s second husband Patrick Vaughan is proving to be a hard man to pin down. I put this down to two things:

  1. He never stayed in same place for long
  2. His age seems to vary from document to document

Both of these things make me wonder if I have the right man, or even the same man.

I am used to some of my relatives moving about a bit, usually from parish to parish or over the border from one county to another. Patrick on the other hand seems to have hopped from country to country. From his birth in Ireland across to Scotland , then emigrating to Canada. He came back across the Atlantic to England (and possibly mainland Europe) for the First World War, before returning to Canada where he seems to have lived out the rest of his life.

Or at least this is what it looks like. It is hard to be certain because of the variations in his ages across the various documents. The first time I came across Patrick Vaughan was on his 1917 marriage certificate, where his age is recorded as 43, giving a year of birth around 1874. Back in Canada his attestation record from 1916 gives an “apparent age” of 44 years and 2 months, from his date of birth of 17th March 1872.

I think I have found him living in Scotland in 1891 and 1901, his place of birth is correct, but the 1901 census gives his age as 39, which pushes his year of birth back to around 1862. His age in the 1891 census is not clear, it might say 29, but it is not good enough to really be sure.

Going back to Ireland the only likely baptism in the right county and right parish is in 1857. Losing a few years here and there is not a big deal, but it does mean that when he signed up to serve in the First World War in 1916 his year of birth was 15 years out, and he would in fact have been around 59 years old not 44. Interestingly his description does describe his hair as grey.

There are just enough similarities between the Patrick’s on these different records to make me think they are the same man, but not quite enough for me to be 100% certain that they are.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
Creative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License
.

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.
Creative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License
.

Taking a short break from Finding Minnie

20 Feb

My most recent posts aboutFinding Minnie have generated some interest and useful information about Patrick Vaughan and the Canadian Expeditionary Force, but now I need to take a short break, both from writing about and researching the story.

The main reason of course is Who Do You Think You Are? Live at the end of the week. I need to take some time to get myself organised and prepared for this three day family history extravaganza.

Another reason for the break is the need to get all the material that I have gathered so far processed and recorded, before it all gets buried as more information comes to light. The story seems to be heading in so many different directions it is getting harder and harder to keep track of it all.

I still have lots more to write about Minnie, Kate and Patrick, but I also still have a lot more research to do. I can see this particular project lasting for many months to come, and it seems to be growing almost on a daily basis as new avenues of research open up.

I also have a lot more to learn about a couple of particular subjects, namely Canadian and Irish research. WDYTYA Live will hopefully provide some useful opportunites to expand my knowledge on at least one of those, but I need to make sure I am prepared to take advantage of those opportunities this coming weekend.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
Creative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License
.
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 119 other followers

%d bloggers like this: