Tag Archives: hemsley

My top-ten surnames revisited

4 May

Fifteen months ago I produced a list of the top-ten surnames in my family tree, for fun really more than anything, however it did highlight an imbalance in the names in my family tree.

I thought it was about time I had another look at the most common surnames in my family tree, so I fired up my copy of Family Historian and Microsoft Excel and produced an updated list (the number of individuals with the surname is shown in brackets):

  1. TROWER (139)
  2. GASSON (123)
  3. MITCHELL (94)
  4. HEMSLEY (75)
  5. BOXALL (53)
  6. KINGHORN (49)
  7. FAIRS (45)
  8. GEERING (39)
  9. HAYBITTLE (36)
  10. WREN (31)

This is much “better” than last time, the top four names are the surnames of my grandparents. The HEMSLEY surname was way down at number ten last time, so it is good to see that I have done enough work to push it higher up the “chart”.

The HAYBITTLE and WREN surnames are both new entries. I remember doing some work on the HAYBITTLEs, but I don’t remember doing much work on the WRENs but I suppose I must have done.

Copyright © 2011 John Gasson.

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Ancestral Profile: Henry Charles HEMSLEY (1854-1931)

25 Apr

Henry Charles HEMSLEY was my 2x great-grandfather and was the son of Henry and Charlotte HEMSLEY of the Gun Inn/Farm in Blackboys, Sussex. He was baptised on the 2nd April 1854 at St. Thomas à Becket Church in Framfield, Sussex. He appears to have been the eldest of eleven children born to Henry and Charlotte.

In both the 1861 and 1871 census Henry Charles is living with his parents and younger siblings at Gun Inn/Farm, in 1861 he is shown as a scholar and in 1871 he is recorded as farmer’s son, presumably this means he was working on the family farm.

Henry Charles HEMSLEY married Caroline RUSSELL (daughter of Thomas and Caroline RUSSELL) on the 10th November 1877 at St. Thomas à Becket Church. The marriage was after banns and both were recorded as being of full age. On the marriage register entry Henry Charles is recorded as farmer.

Together the couple had nine children, all were baptised at St. Thomas à Becket Church, Framfield.

  1. Charles William HEMSLEY (baptised 26th January 1879)
  2. Albert Ernest HEMSLEY (baptised 27th June 1880)
  3. Henry Herbert HEMSLEY (baptised 31st December 1882) [my great-grandfather]
  4. Minnie HEMSLEY (baptised 29th March 1885)
  5. Elizabeth Annie HEMSLEY (baptised 26th June 1887)
  6. Frank HEMSLEY (baptised 29th September 1889)
  7. Harry HEMSLEY (baptised 31st January 1892)
  8. Walter HEMSLEY (baptised 25th February 1894)
  9. Enorah Caroline HEMSLEY (baptised 26th April 1896)

The family lived in various locations within the parish of Framfield, some of which I haven’t pinned down yet. In the 1881 census they are living in Muddles Lane, by 1891 they are at Pound House, Framfield and by 1901 they are living in School Lane, Blackboys.

The baptism of Enorah Caroline in 1896 has the family living at Mountfield Farm. By the time of the 1911 census Henry Charles and Caroline are living in nearby Buxted, Sussex at Stone House Farm with their children Harry and Walter.

Across the census and baptism entries Henry Charles is described variously as a farmer, farm labourer and labourer. It seems unlikely that he ever owned any land but he may well have been a tenant farmer from time to time as well as working for other land owners.

Henry Charles’ wife Caroline died in 1912 whilst they were still living at Buxted. Henry Charles himself died on the 24th June 1931, aged 77 years. His entry in the National Probate Index (shown below) reveals that he was living in the nearby town of Uckfield, Sussex (at 50 Alexandra Road).

HEMSLEY Henry Charles of 50 Alexandra-road Uckfield Sussex died 24 June 1931 Probate Lewes 10 August to Charles William Hemsley bricklayer and George Ralph smallholder. Effects £825 19s. 5d.

The first of the executors was his son but I am not sure who George RALPH was, but Henry Charles’ daughter Elizabeth Annie had married a William RALPH in 1912, so he may have been related through this marriage.

Although I haven’t checked the details in the parish register or found a headstone yet I believe that Henry Charles was buried in Framfield churchyard where his wife was also buried.

Copyright © 2011 John Gasson.

Creative Commons Licence

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

Who are this happy couple?

16 Mar

This is a lovely photo, but like so many family photos there are no clues as to who the couple are or when and where it was taken.

I am not 100% certain that it is the couple’s wedding day yet, I need to do some more work on that, but it seems likely to me that this was the occasion. There may be clues in the clothing that would enable me to narrow down a timescale for the photo. The background doesn’t offer many clues, except that it was a rural location.

This photo however might embody a much deeper mystery. It has been suggested that the young woman is my grandmother’s adopted sister (or possibly her half-sister or step-sister). My grandmother Annie HEMSLEY was as far as we know an only child, but she grew up with a “sister”.

No-one seems to know exactly what the relationship was, was she adopted and if so was it official or unofficial? It has been suggested that she might be the illegitimate daughter of one of my great-grandparents siblings, but in truth she might not even have been related.

Annie’s father died young and her mother re-married, so it is conceivable that the “sister” might have come from her step-father’s family. The possibilities are almost endless.

To make matters worse no-one seems to be certain of their names. Her first name was said to be Minnie, the same as my great-grandmother (Minnie DRIVER) and her husband was possibly Fred or Stan. Perhaps the best clue is the fact that they had a garage (possibly a specialist Jaguar garage) in East or West Meon in Hampshire. If I remember the story correctly the couple did have a son.

They are such a lovely couple that I would really like to find out who they were and what became of them. So if you recognise the photo or any of the names then let me know. There are no prizes, only my eternal gratitude.

The remains of a family bible

5 Mar

This is one of the documents that I had scanned by Ancestry.co.uk at Who Do You Think You Are? Live last weekend. To call it a document seems a bit grand for this scrap of paper. It is remarkable that so much has survived at all, admittedly it is the only part of the original bible that appears to have survived.

It is the back of this scrap of paper that is the interesting part and the reason why it has (only just) survived and why it has ended up in my hands.

There is not a lot of information, but the entry “Annie born September 22nd 1916″ refers to my grandmother Annie HEMSLEY, so I thought that this might be from a HEMSLEY bible, but looking at some of the names it seems that it was actually a DRIVER bible. The last entry “Grandfather Died October 19th 1920″ refers to Thomas DRIVER, the grandfather of Minnie DRIVER, who was my great-grandmother and who was presumably the writer of this information.

The most interesting entries are those for Asher and Kate (brother and sister of Minnie) and the dates that they went (separately) to Canada. Asher went first and Kate twelve years later, I don’t know if either were married by the time they went or whether Kate was going to live with her brother. It looks like there is going to be plenty of work to do with those two.

I am not quite sure what I am going to do with the original now, it really needs proper conservation, but that is probably going to cost too much. For now it is stored in an acid-free pocket awaiting a decision.

Whilst I am deciding what to do with it my next step is going to be to transcribe the data and see if I can tie-up all the names on the page with the names in my database, and see if I need to add any of the dates to my family tree.

Personal Genealogy Update: Week 39

26 Sep

Oh dear… the weeks seem to be flying by quite quickly now, I really must go back to my New Year’s Resolutions and have a laugh at what I thought I was going to achieve this year and see if there is any chance that I might complete some of them.

It has been quite a good week, with a good mix of family history activities. I deliberately sat down and added some more people to my database, and it felt really good. There were two distinct families, the KINGHORNs in Carlisle, Cumberland and the HEMSLEYs in Sussex. I seem to be getting drawn towards Carlisle again, at the back of my mind I still have the idea of visiting Carlisle and doing some research (once their new archive centre is open).

I managed to get quite a bit of organising, not of my family history (which I like to think is quite well organised already) but of all the other stuff in my life and in particular the stuff perched on my computer desk. It is a great weight off my mind, it gives me a bit more space and a bit less to worry about, plus a bit more money (I discovered a cheque that I had forgotten all about).

I have also spent some time looking at my to-do list. It is quite interesting to see how my focus has shifted over the months, and there are several things on the list that I could probably spend some time on now, and some that need to be more focused, but that is generally how it works. I think I will be doing a bit more of a thorough overhaul in the coming week, I am sure there will be a few things that I have forgotten to knock off.

I have a couple of other projects that seem to be nearing the stage where I actually need to start doing things rather than just scribbling notes and thinking about. Now is the time for action, or it should be but I will probably find some way to procrastinate for a few more weeks.

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