Tag Archives: henfield

Time never stands stills in genealogy

26 Jan

Whilst going through my files and getting everything up to date I turned my attention to the SUMMERFIELD family. The family connection is through another TROWER, this time it was Martha, who was sister of Mercy and Mary, who I have mentioned many times already.

It didn’t seem that long ago that I last did some research on James and Martha (although I see it was back in May 2008 that I visited Felbridge, Surrey in search of gravestones), but so much more information is available online now in such a short time, that my research has been left behind.

Starting with their marriage, although James was from Rusper, Sussex and Martha was from Henfield, Sussex the marriage took place in London (it looks like Martha must have been working up in London). Previously I only had the GRO BMD index reference for the marriage, but now of course the London Parish Registers are available on Ancestry.co.uk, including the entry for James and Martha.

The 1911 census has added even more information to their stories. In 1911 they were living in Newdigate, Surrey with their two children Sidney Ambrose (born 1894) and Raymond James (born 1907). The census also revealed that there had been another child who had died by the time of the census, so I have added the task of find him/her to my to-do list.

The eldest son Sidney Ambrose was killed during the First World War, although apparently not whilst on active service. Fortunately his service record survived and is now available on Ancestry.co.uk, although as you can see below it didn’t escape unscathed.

Burnt Documents

It is not going to be easy to pick out the details from these scraps of paper, but it is going onto my to-do list. Hopefully I can find out the details surrounding Sidney’s death.

There are still the updated GRO BMD indexes to search on Ancestry.co.uk, hopefully they will enable me to find descendants of the surviving son Raymond James (possibly even living descendants), another item for the to-do list.

I was surprised that so much more needs to be added to my family tree in such a short time, and it worries me what else needs updating. It also makes me think I need to establish some sort of regular review, either once each new database goes online or after a fixed period of time.

Searching for Mercy TROWER in Chichester

23 Jan

I didn’t want to get out of bed this morning (which is unusual for me), but I had promised myself a visit to the West Sussex Record Office so I made the effort and dragged myself out of bed and took the bus and train down to Chichester, West Sussex.

There weren’t really any specific goals for this visit, it was more about double-checking the information regarding Mercy TROWER (making sure I hadn’t missed anything in my previous searches) and extracting some burials from the Framfield bishops’ transcripts.

I just can’t get Mercy TROWER off of my mind, so I double-checked the banns of marriage for Henfield, Sussex along with the burials for Henfield, in case there was a record of a STEADMAN being buried.

I also checked the National Probate Calendar for STEADMANs, STEDMANs and STEEDMANs between 1882 and 1892 for any sign of a possible husband, but with no success.

I extended my search to her son Ernest John TROWER trying to find banns for his marriage in 1913. I am hoping his marriage entry will give me the name of his father, but so far I have not been identify where the marriage took place. I will probably have to order a copy of his marriage certificate if I am ever going to find out.

Who were the parents of Ernest John TROWER?

14 Jan

As well as the death certificate for Mercy STEADMAN I also ordered a birth and marriage certificate for two other individuals, just to try and fill in a few gaps in my database. The birth certificate was for Ernest John TROWER, it arrived the day after Mercy’s death certificate.

Ernest John TROWER was one of the individuals in my database that wasn’t actually linked to my tree. I knew he was related to me but not exactly how. He was shown in the 1891 and 1901 census as the grandson of Henry and Jane TROWER, my 3x great-grandparents.

I have yet to find a baptism entry for Ernest and the only clue to his parents identity was the presence of Martha TROWER, one of the daughters of Henry and Jane, in the same household in the 1891 census.

The birth certificate answered part of the question, it identified his mother, but there was no mention of a father. Ernest John TROWER was born on the 14th October 1884 at Harwoods Farm, Henfield, Sussex. The birth was registered by his mother, Mercy TROWER.

I was speechless, Mercy TROWER, the same Mercy TROWER whose husband is proving so illusive. That was not what I had expected at all and adds a whole other dimension to the mystery.

Was Ernest the son of the unknown STEADMAN, who Mercy may or may not have married, was he the son of George BARLEY who may or may not have married Mercy, and whose banns of marriage I have found, or did Mercy have a relationship with another man.

One thing is clear, the whole story of Mercy TROWER has suddenly become a lot more complicated and lot more interesting. I am going to have to do some serious work on this family if I am ever going to get these relationships sorted out.

Tombstone Tuesday: Jane TROWER

12 Jan

I wrote about Jane TROWER yesterday and the fact that I am missing several census entries for her.

At least I know when she died and where she was buried, because here is a photo of her headstone at the cemetery in Henfield, Sussex.

Gravestone of Jane TROWER

This photo was taken nearly two years ago in March 2008, on a bright spring morning, when the weather was obviously much better than it has been here recently.

Jane’s headstone is next to that of her parent’s and somewhere nearby in an unmarked grave is her brother Luther TROWER. In fact within ten metres of this headstone two other members of the same family are buried. Jane’s brother Abraham and his wife, and her sister Anne and her husband.

Another 3x great-aunt with some missing years

11 Jan

Three daughters of my 3x great-grandparents Henry and Jane TROWER of Henfield, Sussex have been causing me some concern. In truth I had forgotten about my problems with them, except for Mercy TROWER, until I started searching in the 1911 census.

Fortunately the disappearance of Mary TROWER has been more or less solved now, with the discovery of her marriage to Emanuel MARX. Mercy is still a bit of a puzzle, but I am hoping to resolve that in the very near future.

The other daughter that has given me some problems is Jane. Jane TROWER was born in 1862, apparently in Henfield. I have entries for her in the 1871 and 1881 census, but then she disappears (or at least I can’t find any trace of her) until her death, somewhere in the Horsham Registration District in 1922.

She actually died on the 16th December 1922, or at least that is the date recorded on her gravestone in Henfield Cemetery. It stands next to that of her parent’s Henry and Jane, so I am certain that it is the correct one.

So it doesn’t look like she married, so that is not the reason why I can’t find her in the 1891, 1901 and now the 1911 census. Interestingly I didn’t find an entry for Jane TROWER in the Henfield burial records, so perhaps she was buried under another name, I am going to have to double check that, make sure there was no other Jane buried around that time.

To be honest I had forgotten about Jane, I had a start and end to her life and that seemed enough, but it is now bugging me that I don’t know what happened in the middle. My brain has already started try and fill in the gap.

Did she marry and then divorce? Did no-one know her married name? Did the stone mason make a mistake? Did she leave the country and only come back later in life? Did she spend time in prison, or an asylum (it is Madness Monday after all)?

It looks like the only source left to turn to is her death certificate, I think once I have resolved my problems with Mercy TROWER I will move on to her sister and order a copy of her death certificate to examine for clues.

Introducing the HAYBITTLE family

5 Nov

I have spent a couple of evenings this week filling in the gaps in the HAYBITTLE family. My 3x great-grandparents Jane HAYBITTLE and Henry TROWER married in Henfield, Sussex on the 3rd November 1847. Together they had thirteen children including my 2x great-grandfather Ebenezer TROWER.

Jane HAYBITTLE was from the neighbouring parish of Ashurst, Sussex and was the daughter of John and Harriet HAYBITTLE, she baptised in Ashurst on the 16th December 1827.

Jane appears to have been one of nine children, although the youngest died as an infant. John HAYBITTLE and Harriet WOOD were married on the 8th November 1823 in nearby Steyning, Sussex although both were born in Ashurst.

John appears to be the youngest child of Thomas HAYBITTLE and Mary DALE, who were married in Washington, Sussex on the 13th May 1776. It looks like they had seven children in total, the first six being baptised in Ashington, Sussex and the last one, John, was baptised in Ashurst, Sussex.

It appears that some time between 1795 and 1800 the family moved from Ashington parish to Ashurst parish, which is not a great distance, about four or five miles. As well as the children of John and Harriet being baptised in Ashurst, there are a couple of other HAYBITTLE families, Thomas and Barbara and William and Ann, who were probably also the children of Thomas and Mary HAYBITTLE.

For this work I used the following sources: Census returns on Ancestry.co.uk, Ashurst parish register transcriptions from the Parish Register Transcription Society and the Sussex Marriage Index CD from the SFHG. The parish register entries will need checking at a later date for accuracy.

I have gone back a little bit further than I needed to for my Christmas Tree Project, but I feel I have a good understanding now of where my HAYBITTLE family came from and good base from which to carry out further research at a later date.

More maps for my collection

30 Oct

These are my latest finds from my local Oxfam shop. Three Ordnance Survey maps of Sussex dating from around 1948-9. Not particularly old or in top condition, but they were real bargains, or at least I think so, at £1.99 each

Three maps

The scale of all three is the same,  1:25,000 (about 2½ inches to one mile), which is detailed enough to show the locations and outlines of larger buildings and farms. Most of the farms are named as are many of the country roads.

The one on the left is of the Haywards Heath area. Not so many places of ancestral interest here, apart from the asylum and the village of Cuckfield.

The middle one covers an area from Washington and Thakeham in the west to Bramber and Partridge Green. This includes part of Henfield, where the TROWER family were, Ashurst (home to the HAYBITTLES) and part of West Grinstead, showing some of the places where the FAIRS family lived.

The one on the right covers many ancestral villages: Cowfold, Twineham (showing the location of Ridden’s Farm, believed to be home to my WELLER ancestors), Bolney, Slaugham and Warninglid.

Whilst I don’t expect to actually discover much new information from these maps, there is always a chance of finding the location of a previously unidentified family home, that has since been demolished or changed its name.

The real interest comes from studying the maps and comparing with the present-day maps, seeing how things have changed. For example, one thing that immediately stood out was the number of trig points on these old maps, and how few of them survive today.

They had a few others in the shop, from the same series, if they are still there on Monday I may well get another couple, although these were the only ones of real family interest for me. Although I think I need to make a list of the ones I already have because I am starting to build up quite a collection.

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