Tag Archives: hemsley

My top-ten surnames

2 Feb

I was fiddling around with Family Historian last night and then in Excel, producing a list of the top-ten surnames in my family tree.

I thought this was going to be a mostly pointless exercise, purely for fun and curiosity, but it has highlighted an imbalance in my research, which I now wonder whether I should try and put right.

The top-ten surnames (really top-eleven surnames), with the number of individuals in my family tree, are as follows:

1.  TROWER (127)
2.  GASSON (104)
3.  MITCHELL (84)
4.  FAIRS (45)
5.  BOXALL (38)
6.  KINGHORN (28)
6.  VINALL (28)
8.  BATEMAN (27)
9.  GEERING (26)
10.  DRIVER (25)
10.  HEMSLEY (25)

The first three names are no surprise, after all they are the surnames of three of my grandparents, the surprising thing is that my fourth grandparent’s name is HEMSLEY, right down at the bottom of the list.

I don’t know quite why I feel that this imbalance is wrong, but I certainly feel I should invest some more time on it so that it moves up the chart. It wouldn’t be difficult to add lots more HEMSLEYs to my tree, but it needs to be done with purpose rather than just adding everyone I can find.

I am going to add the task of reviewing my HEMSLEY line to my to-do list, seeing what meaningful work I can do on the family. I am sure there are some interesting people and stories waiting to be discovered in Framfield, Sussex.

Picture Postcard Parade: Church and Lich Gate, Framfield, Sussex

7 Nov

This is another gem from the WSFHS Open Day and Family History Fair last weekend. The subject will need no introduction to readers of my blog. I have featured Framfield church several times because of its connection to my HEMSLEY ancestors.

Church and Lich Gate, Framfield

This card was published by J. Frisby of Uckfield, it was posted in Uckfield on the 14th November 1912. It was sent to Mr J. Bolton of 11 Commercial Street, Scarborough. The message is a little cryptic: Dont think we have forgotten you altogether. We heard about you having one of our set in the Church. What do you think of the Lytch Gate.

A couple of different postcards of the church can be found in my posts Framfield Church postcard – another new addition to my collection and Framfield Photos: Part Three – Framfield church then and now

Stretching the branches of my tree wider

21 Sep

I couldn’t resist a bit of follow up work on one of the pieces of information I picked up at the West Sussex Record Office on Saturday.

It was the marriage entry for Henry HEMSLEY and Charlotte WREN (my 3x great grandparents) in Framfield, Sussex on the 25th February 1853. I was already quite confident about the details, but this confirmed the father’s names for both parties, Samuel HEMSLEY and Benjamin WREN.

It was Charlotte’s side that I decided to follow as I already had some details for Samuel HEMSLEY. I did the usual thing of tracing Benjamin and his wife Charlotte (and their children) back through the census. This threw up a couple of surprises.

According to the census Benjamin was born in Framfield around 1803, and according to the 1841 census he was an inn keeper. In 1851 he was just shown as a farmer. Now the interesting thing is that Benjamin’s son-in-law Henry HEMSLEY was later to become licensee of the Gun Inn at Blackboys, was this the same inn? Was it passed down from Benjamin to his daughter and/or son-in-law?

When I visit the East Sussex Record Office I need to see what licensing records exist from Framfield parish and also see whether Benjamin WREN left a will.

The second surprise was with Benjamin’s wife Charlotte. I am pretty certain that her maiden name was THATCHER, what I am not sure about is where she was born. Charlotte survived her husband by about 30 years so there are more census records, but each census year gives me a different place:

1841 – Same county, so she was born in Sussex

1851 – Cleavedon, Somerset

1861 – Bristol, Somerset

1871 – Framfield, Sussex

1881 – Somewhere in Somerset, which I can’t read

So Somerset wins three votes to two. It looks like one of the branches of my family tree now stretches out to Somerset, probably somewhere around the Bristol area. I will probably have to try out the new 1881 census images on findmypast.com to see if I can read that place name for 1881.

So I still have more work to do, especially with such conflicting data, but either way I have added another two 4x great grandparents to my tree, bringing the total to 42 out of 64.

Blogging to you live from High Hurstwood, Sussex (well nearly)

19 Aug

This is the first time my new netbook has been out in the field with me, and although it is extra weight to carry, this is only a gentle walk today so it is not too bad.

I have made my way to Holy Trinity Church, High Hurstwood, Sussex first by bus (or rather buses) and then about an hours walk. I am sitting on a bench in the churchyard and this is the wonderful view I can see.

View from a bench at High Hurstwood, Sussex

View from a bench at High Hurstwood, Sussex

Holy Trinity is to my mind quite an unusual church because of it’s shape, all sorts of odd bits are sticking out here and there. I think quirky would be a good word to describe it. The photo from the front (below) will show you what I mean.

Holy Trinity Church, High Hurstwood, Sussex

Holy Trinity Church, High Hurstwood, Sussex

My route here took me past Stone House Cottage, just outside High Hurstwood itself, where my grandmother Annie HEMSLEY was born and where her father Henry Herbert HEMSLEY died. It is his gravestone that I am hoping to find here at Holy Trinity Church, although I have no idea whether he was buried or cremated here or not.

The other reason for visiting Holy Trinity is because my widowed great grandmother Minnie DRIVER (HEMSLEY as she was then) married Moses FARLOW here in February 1925.

From here I will head back along the Vanguard Way to Buxted and visit the church there and then probably along to Buxted Park and visit the church there, before making my way back to Uckfield to catch a bus back to Brighton and home.

[Just as I tried to send this post I discovered I had no mobile broadband signal, so it had to wait until I was back in Uckfield on the bus to send it]

A successful day at The National Archives

8 Aug
The National Archives, Kew

The National Archives, Kew

All in all I think was one of the best days I have ever had at The National Archives, it sure seems like it was a long day, but it was no longer than a normal day at work. I am sure I will sleep well tonight though.

The journey was pretty good, no delays on the trains. It was engineering work on the London Underground which made me change my mind and go to The National Archives today instead of the London Family History Centre.

I have already written about the successful morning I had, but the afternoon didn’t go quite so well. Despite my best efforts I could not find out any more about Wybrants KINGHORN.

I think the problem is that I don’t really know where to start looking. I thought this might be a problem, I don’t really know enough about the subject of criminal trials yet to get anywhere. I should have taken my time and read up a bit more before jumping in head first. Still at least I know where not to look now!

So I switched my attention to the HEMSLEY family and Gun Inn at Blackboys, Sussex. I have written about this place before, but haven’t really done much research into the place. One of the things I wanted to check whilst at Kew was the Valuation Office Field Books for Gun Inn.

These hold the details of a survey carried out as a result of The Finance (1909-1910) Act and provide some information on the property itself and it’s value. It doesn’t normal have much family information, really only the name of the owners and occupiers, however the entry for Gun Inn had the useful little note that it was sold at auction in July 1914 to T. HEMSLEY for £700. This coincides with the death of Henry HEMSLEY (my 3x great grandfather) and gives me some great clues as to where to look for more information (a local newspaper for details of the sale including the auctioneer, and then for records from that auctioneer if any survive), if I am lucky there may even be a sale catalogue in an archive somewhere.

After this I decided to take advantage of the free access to the 1911 census and look up Henry HEMSLEY. I hadn’t used the 1911 census at Kew before, but it was straightforward enough once I had found the link on their web page. At Kew you can search and view the pages free of charge and it only costs 20p to print an A3 page (I would rather have had a digital copy but I don’t think this is possible).

As I was getting ready to leave I was stopped by a member of staff, who asked if I was Mr Gasson. I thought I must have done something wrong or left something behind somewhere, but no, this was another Gasson, a distant cousin, who had seen my name on some of my document orders. We chatted briefly but I had to go and catch my train, but you can be sure we will be swapping notes before too long and establishing exactly what the family connection is.

Is there a doctor in the house, or perhaps a vet?

8 Jul

The death certificate for my great grandfather Henry Herbert HEMSLEY arrived in the post today, and it has left me more than a little confused.

He died on the 1st July 1921 at Stone House Cottages, Buxted aged 38 years. The informant was Charles William HEMSLEY his brother from Brighton.

Now I always been told that he had died from sunstroke or heatstroke, but the cause of death recorded on the certificate appears to be Septic Pleuro-Pneumonia (9 days). The certificate also records that there was no post mortem and the death was certified by E. H. Sweet MRCS.

Naturally I wanted to find out what septic pleuro-pneumonia was? What were the symptoms? How did it develop? Where did it come from? Is it something else I can add to my list of potential illness I might have inherited?

However nearly all the references I can find to the condition on Google relate to animals and mainly horses. Henry was a farm labourer, but I am sure that is just a coincidence.

What I really need to find is a doctor who is on call to answer genealogical queries about medical issues in plain English, rather than have me fumbling around in a specialised field which I don’t have the first idea about.

Does anyone know of such as doctor? And make it quick please, because I can feel a genealogy induced headache coming on!

In the shade of my family tree

2 Jul

You may have heard that Sussex and much of the south-east of England have been experiencing a mini-heatwave.

Although for us in England four or five days with maximum temperatures around 30°c is unusual, I guess for many of you it would just be described as a few days of warm weather, but we are just not used to it over here.

For me the impact has been minimal, the heat has made conditions uncomfortable at times. The worst probably being travelling home from work on the bus, something like being stuck in traffic in a greenhouse on wheels with virtually no air movement through the tiny windows, although the air outside wasn’t really any cooler.

I have given up the idea of doing any serious walking for a while, but as the hottest weather was during the working week I wouldn’t normally be doing much proper walking anyway.

I suppose I have spent a bit less time in front of the computer and more time in the garden in the shade. It has still been up around 25°c in our spare bedroom (my genealogy room) around 10pm, which is no doubt in part due to the heat generated by my PC.

On the genealogy side of things it has reminded me of my great grandfather Henry Herbert HEMSLEY of Framfield and Buxted, Sussex. The story has it that he died of sunstroke in 1921 at the age of 38. I think now might be a good time to order his death certificate and find out if the story is true or not.

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