Tag Archives: kent

Photo Album: Kate, Percy and Emily at Rochester

6 Jun

This photo is a partner to the one that I showed a couple of days ago.

Kate Trower, Percy Ebenezer Trower, Emily Nye (July 1950)

Here Ern (Henry Ernest Nye) has been replaced by Percy himself, flanked by his wife and sister-in-law. Presumably Ern is now the one behind the camera.

This was taken in July 1950 in Rochester, Kent. Percy described the visit is in his diary:

Tuesday with Doll & Ern went to Rochester, weather came out very bright but windy, it was a good ride, many years since we were there before.

It is very unusual to have an exact date for a photo, it was helped by having a location and a month and year on the back. This coupled with Percy’s diary tells me that the Tuesday in question was the 11th July.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Photo Album: Ern and Doll Nye

4 Jun

Here is a photo of the couple that I mentioned yesterday, Ern (Henry Ernest Nye) in the middle and Doll (Emily Nye) on the right.

Kate Trower, Henry Ernest Nye and Emily Nye (July 1950)

The woman on the left is Kate Trower, the wife of my 2x great-uncle Percy Ebenezer Trower and the sister of Emily Nye. The photo was taken in July 1950, almost certainly by Percy, in Rochester, Kent.

Both women were the daughters of John and Emily Standing. Just to make things a little more complicated another of their daughters, Beatrice Standing, was the second wife of my great-grandfather Henry John Trower.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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My Family History Week: Sunday 20th May 2012

20 May

There is nothing much to report this week except for an almost complete lack of family history activity. Whilst time has been an issue, as always, the main cause of this in-activity has been a lack of motivation.

I just haven’t really been inspired to sit down and do any family history this week. About the only positive thing that happened this week was the addition of three or four new relatives to my tree.

I realised that with a very small amount of work I would be able to add a seventh cousin. There was no real benefit to gained from doing this but it seemed like a fun thing to do at the time and nice to be able to say that I have a seventh cousin.

Challenging times: Sorting out Patrick Vaughan’s information

Given my current lack of motivation it seems unlikely that I am going get around to sorting out Patrick Vaughan’s information. It would probably be better for me to find another more interesting project (more interesting than sorting out files) to get me back on track.

Kent parish registers on familysearch.org

I made several attempts to access images of Kent parish registers on familysearch.org, hoping that at last I might be able to go back a bit further with my Gasson ancestors.

Unfortunately I was unable to view a single image for any of the parishes I tried, I don’t know if it was me or the website, but I tried nearly everyday with the same result. Maybe next week I will be more successful.

There is another potential distraction coming up this week with a change in the weather coming at last. Hopefully it will be dry and warm enough for me to contemplate at least one decent evening walk this week.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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News: Canterbury Cathedral records to go online at findmypast.co.uk

29 Jan

The most exciting news for me this week was the announcement from findmypast.co.uk that they are going to be digitizing parish records from the Archdeaconry of Canterbury.

Starting “in the coming weeks” the website will be adding the Canterbury Collection to its existing collection of parish register records. This has been timed to coincide with the temporary closure of their current home, Canterbury Cathedral Archives.

Initially the collection will consist of just browsable images, but the records will ultimately be transcribed and an index provided “later this year”.

I have written several times about my difficulties in researching in Kent, so this marks a great step forward for me. The county of Kent has been under-represented online until now and although most of my interests are further west nearer the Sussex border (the Archdeaconry of Canterbury covers eastern Kent) I am sure this is going to prove a valuable asset in my research.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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The Weald and it’s possible influence on my ancestors

6 May

Since starting to walk the High Weald Landscape Trail last weekend I have been thinking about where my ancestors came from, not on a village or parish level or even a county level but on a much broader geographical level.

A large chunk of the South-East of England is described as the Weald, broadly speaking it is the area of land that lies between the North Downs and the South Downs. It stretches from the edge Hampshire in the west, through West and East Sussex, and into Kent in the east.

A relatively large percentage of my ancestors were inhabitants of the Weald. Broadly speaking the two other types of terrain in Sussex are downland and coastal, neither of which seemed to be favoured by my ancestors, until more recent years when larger towns grew up on the coast offering employment and other opportunities.

For the genealogist there are no specific records for the Weald and no official boundaries. It seems to have been more defined by the landscape and this in turn defined the type of industry/employment that was possible.

I have often laughingly remarked that the South Downs have formed a boundary that stopped my ancestors falling into the sea, but now I wonder if there is some truth to this. Have the South Downs, and for that matter the North Downs, provided boundaries to the migration of my ancestors?

Perhaps not physical boundaries, the South Downs have several valleys running through them and tracks passing over them, but maybe psychological boundaries. Was it too bold a step to swap the clay of the Weald for the chalk of the Downs? I think it would be interesting to look closer at the movement of some of my ancestors and see if there are any patterns in their movement.

It is also interesting to consider the cases of my ancestors that slipped across the border from Kent to Sussex and vice versa. For them there probably was no border, it was all part of the Weald. The landscape and way of life would have been familiar to them and their ancestors regardless of which side of the border they were on.

I certainly need to do some more research on the Weald. Perhaps it is not going to directly affect my family history, but it is where my personal roots belong as well as those of many of my ancestors. I certainly owe it to them to find out more about where they lived in a much broader sense.

Copyright © 2011 John Gasson.

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The death certificate of Thomas NICHOLLS

16 Apr

The death certificate for Thomas NICHOLLS arrived yesterday, and the question that stills needs to be answered is whether this is my Thomas NICHOLLS?

Looking at the columns one by one it seems that it is a good match, but I still have doubts.

According to the certificate Thomas NICHOLLS died on the 21st February 1848 in Blean, Kent. My Thomas NICHOLLS was last recorded at Blean at the baptism of his daughter Eleanor on the 27th June 1847 and by the 1851 census his wife was recorded as a widow. So the date and place fit with the known facts and don’t rule it out.

Not surprisingly the name and sex entries match. I did search for other variants of the name NICHOLLS and there didn’t seem to be any other likely matches, so whilst this conforms with the known facts it is not in itself conclusive.

Thomas’ age is recorded as 30 years and the only other record of his age is that in the 1841 census where he is recorded as being aged 20. If the enumerator record his age correctly then this should mean he was between 20 to 24 years old in 1841. This would mean that about seven years later in 1848 Thomas would be between 27 and 31 years old. So the age of 30 years when he died fits the known data, but once again is not conclusive due to the limited and potentially inaccurate data previously available.

The certificate records his occupation as “Plate Layer on the Rail[way]“. In 1841 my Thomas is recorded as an excavator, which I have taken to mean that he was working on the construction of the Redhill to Tonbridge Railway. It seems quite plausible that he had progressed to a slightly more skilled job within the railway. Again this seems a good match but the description on the 1841 census could be misleading.

The cause of death was Typhus Fever (not certified). I have nothing to compare this with so it is of no use in my comparison.

The informant on the certificate is a bit of a mystery, it is recorded as Mary Osman who was from Blean and present at the death, and she made her mark in the form of a cross rather than signing a name. I have no idea who Mary Osman was so I will need to investigate Mary further, but for now this doesn’t rule out that this was by Thomas but it does help prove it either.

The date of registration was the 25th February 1848, four days after his death, which is not unusual and the registrar looks to have been Hammond Hills. Neither fact is really relevant to my research, but are included for completeness.

So all in all the facts seem to fit, but it is hard for me to accept it as conclusive. The good news is that there is nothing that rules this Thomas NICHOLLS out, like being too young to have been married and had children, but there is equally nothing that provides a positive connection with the existing data.

Deep down I think that this is the right certificate and will probably use this as a starting point for further research, but until I can find more evidence there will always be an element of doubt in my mind. I will cautiously pursue this branch of my family tree, but be mindful of the fact that at some stage in the future further evidence may come to light which means it will need to be pruned back.

Ordering the death certificate of Thomas NICHOLLS

10 Apr

I have written several times recently that I need to order the death certificate for my 4x great-grandfather Thomas NICHOLLS. This is because I need to find his age when he died and from that when he was born.

The problem is that I don’t really know enough about him and his death to order a certificate with any certainty, and please don’t take offence, but I don’t like wasting my money on other people’s ancestors.

I know he died between the 1841 census and the 1851 census, and the baptism of his youngest child was in June 1847, so in theory this narrows the date range down a bit. The fact that the place of this baptism was Blean, Kent points to two likely death registrations in the Blean Registration District.

The first is in Q1 1848 and the second is in Q4 1849. Whilst searching the Blean parish registers I found a burial on the 21st October 1849, but unfortunately the age at death was not clear. It looked like it was measured in days not years, but I couldn’t be certain.

So once again I left with a dilemma, which one (if either) of these two certificates is the one I want and when I do get one do I have enough information to be certain that I have ordered the correct one.

I guess there is only one way to find out, get out my credit card and order one of them.

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