Tag Archives: hemsley

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.

A string of HEMSLEY probate entries

6 Sep

On the whole my ancestors weren’t very helpful when it came to leaving wills, perhaps it was the case that by the end of their lives they didn’t have anything left to leave, either way I don’t have many wills for my ancestors. There is however one exception, the HEMSLEY family.

Whilst searching the National Probate Calendar on Ancestry.co.uk I have discovered a string of four entries in the calendar for my direct HEMSLEY ancestors, from the Framfield area of Sussex. The first is for my great-grandfather Henry Herbert HEMSLEY, because he died suddenly and prematurely (aged only 38 years old), there was not a will so this refers to letters of administration.

HEMSLEY Henry Herbert of Stone House Cottage High Hurstwood Buxted Sussex died 1 July 1921 Administration Lewes 15 August to Minnie Hemsley widow. Effects £82 7s. 7d.

Next up is Henry Herbert’s father Henry Charles HEMSLEY (my 2x great-grandfather), who died almost ten years after his son.

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.

Then we come to Henry HEMSLEY, the father of Henry Charles and my 3x great-grandfather. I have already ordered a copy of his will in my search to find out more about Henry and his beerhouse the Gun Inn.

HEMSLEY Henry of the Gun Inn Blackboys Sussex died 10 January 1914 Probate Lewes 6 February to Joseph Hemsley farmer and George Hemsley gardener. Effects £106 12s. 4d.

Finally we come to Samuel HEMSLEY, Henry’s father and my 4x great-grandfather. I know very little about Samuel because my research has more or less stopped at his son and the Gun Inn, but no doubt I will go back further eventually.

HEMSLEY Samuel. 21 December. The Will of Samuel Hemsley late of Framfield in the County of Sussex Labourer deceased who died 9 March 1867 at Framfield aforesaid was proved at Lewes by the oath of Henry Hemsley of Framfield aforesaid Sawyer the Son the sole Executor. Effects under £20.

As usual there are some useful little snippets of information amongst these basic entries, especially the more recent ones which give addresses. I will need to go to East Sussex Record Office to see if I can follow the chain back any further.

At least I know I have some more wills that I can order after the current batch have arrived, and it will also be interesting to see how many of the siblings of my ancestors also left wills. As you can see most of them didn’t have much to leave, so I wonder why they felt the need to write wills?

Personal Genealogy Update: Week 36

5 Sep

Last week was quite a good week for genealogy. I have been finding plenty of things to keep me occupied. There has been very little structure or logic, just picking off records or individuals as the mood takes me. This is certainly not a very efficient way of work (sometimes meaning I am going over old ground again) but it seems to be working for me at the moment.

I must be careful not to fall into the trap of doing nothing whilst waiting for things to arrive. I have orders out for copies of wills and a marriage licence allegation, and the danger is that I will use the fact that I am waiting for them to arrive as an excuse not to do any work.

I have discovered a batch of Framfield marriages which I had transferred to my spreadsheet, but I have not added all the details to my database. Most of these are HEMSLEYs and I have several marriages where the HEMSLEY is not on my database. There were lots of HEMSLEYs in Framfield, Sussex and I would imagine that all of them are relations, it is just that they haven’t been connected yet. That is one job for this week, connect them all up, in particular the ancestors and descendants of Trayton HEMSLEY.

I need to get down to some scanning this week, mostly postcards, but a few other family history bits and pieces. I am going to have to think of a way of getting more postcards on this blog, also I am still thinking about creating a database of my postcards, partly for my own reference and partly to enable them to be shared easier. This is the problem with going to the Picture Postcard Show, it fills me with all sorts of ideas, which I don’t have the time to carry out.

I might also restart the research I was doing on one of the local postcard photographers. I also want to start compiling a guide for dating British postcards, mainly for my own reference because I have yet to find a comprehensive guide to the many features of postcards that allow the approximate date to be worked out.

Satisfying my curiosity – ordering the wills of my ancestors

27 Aug

The recently released National Probate Calendar on Ancestry.co.uk has tempted me into ordering copies of four wills, three of which I wouldn’t have even thought about ordering for a long time, the other one I probably would have ordered in the near future.

I don’t think any of these four wills are actually going to solve any particular research problems, but they should hopefully satisfy my curiosity.

  • John FAIRS (my 3x great-grandfather) of Henfield, Sussex who died in November 1915. John FAIRS was an agricultural labourer and if the cross on his daughter’s wedding certificate is anything to go by he was not well educated. So why was his estate valued at over £982? Where had this wealth come from?
  • William TROWER (my 4x great-grandfather) of Henfield, Sussex who died in January 1875. William TROWER was a farmer, almost the last of several generations to farm and live at Harwoods Farm in Henfield. I will be interested to see if the TROWER family were still owners of the farm.
  • Henry HEMSLEY (my 3x great-grandfather) of Blackboys, Sussex who died in January 1914. Henry HEMSLEY was the licensee and owner of the Gun Inn, and the attached farm. This is the will I would probably have ordered quite soon, in the process of trying to find out everything I can about the inn.
  • Henry WRIGHT (my 3x great-grandfather) of Alton, Hampshire who died in August 1895. Henry WRIGHT was originally known as Henry SHORNDEN and he moved from Kent to Hampshire for some reason, I don’t really expect find answers as to why he changed his named and moved to Kent, but I would like to find out as much as I can about his life.
    If nothing else these wills are going to give me plenty of work to do as I process this lot, but it is also going to force me to get my act together when it comes to recording all the details in my database, in fact it might be worth starting now and deciding how all the information should be recorded.

Whilst I am waiting for them to arrive I should probably also write a post on how to order copies of wills, and how easy it is if you live in the UK and have a cheque book, otherwise things start getting a little more difficult.

Personal Genealogy Update: Week 28

11 Jul

Family history took a bit of a back seat last week, I did do some work on the HEMSLEY family of Framfield, Sussex but my job hunt took priority. The end result was that I start full-time work again on Tuesday.

This changes things some what. I have become used to being pretty flexible about my research and to some extent my walking, being able to do pretty much what I wanted when nothing was happening with my job hunt.

I now need to re-think my family history plans. I won’t be able to get to the archives so frequently, and will have to balance visits to the archives with the desire to go walking. It is not a big deal really, it just means going back to how things were at the end of last year. It probably means that I will need to be a bit more organised and plan ahead more carefully for visits to the archives.

This week I am going to have a review of my research and the projects I have been working on, and see which ones I am going to be able to pursue from home and which are going to need to be put on hold for a while.

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