Tag Archives: marriage

Where had Patrick Vaughan come from?

2 Feb

I had failed to find a service record for Patrick Vaughan (the second husband of my 2x great-aunt Kate Allison), moreover I had failed to find any trace of military service despite their marriage certificate claiming he was a soldier.

I was starting to smell a rat when I also failed to find any trace of him in the GRO Indexes and census returns. I had his name, age and father’s name from the marriage certificate, so theoretically it ought to be quite easy to track down details of his birth and what he had been up to before marrying Kate.

The marriage certificate also revealed that he was a widower, which was particularly interesting as Kate was a widow with five children, and I wondered if he had brought any of his children to the marriage, metaphorically speaking. I was still looking for reasons why Kate’s daughter Minnie might have been adopted by my great-grandmother.

But back to my search for Patrick. Obviously one or more of the facts on the marriage certificate might be wrong, but even allowing for some creativity on Patrick’s part I found it impossible to find any other trace of him in the census and no trace of his birth.

As far as I could tell there were two options, first that Patrick had lied about just about everything on the marriage certificate, which seemed incredibly unlikely, or the more plausible option that Patrick wasn’t English and was only in England because he was fighting for us in the First World War.

Another “foreigner” in my family tree would be interesting (I think I only have one other unless you include Ireland, Wales and Scotland as being foreign), but it would probably make researching him harder and push me out of my comfort zone (Sussex) again.

Once again I had to face the facts, this was the most likely option, but where had he come from?

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Searching for the service record of Patrick Vaughan

31 Jan

The marriage certificate of Kate Allison (my 2x great-aunt) and Patrick Vaughan showed that he was a soldier, which wasn’t surprising given that the year was 1917 (or 1918) and the vast majority of young men were fighting for King and Country.

More specifically the marriage certificate said that he was a sapper, so presumably this meant that he was serving with the Royal Engineers. This would help in my search for his service record.

The first step was to check the WW1 Medal Index Cards on Ancestry.co.uk, this gives the most complete list of men who served in the First World War, and it revealed just one Patrick Vaughan who had served in the Royal Engineers. Initially this Patrick Vaughan had served with the Liverpool Regiment before transferring to the Royal Engineers.

Based on this I transferred to the WW1 Service and Pension Records on Ancestry and was delighted to see that the record for Patrick Vaughan who served with the Royal Engineers had survived and was in among the service records. Not only had it survived, but it had survived in abundance, in total there were 58 pages about Patrick.

It soon became obvious that this wasn’t the Patrick Vaughan that I had been looking for, either that or he had been lying profusely when he attested or got married. This Patrick had been 28 years old when he enlisted in 1915, by no stretch of the imagination or slip of the pen could he be 43 years old a couple of years later when he married.

Amongst the 58 pages there was no mention of a wife, his next of kin was his sister, and there was a fair bit of correspondence with his sister because he died in 1918, seemingly taking his only life whilst recovering in hospital. It was such a sad story, but not one that I could stretch to fit into my family tree, things just didn’t stack up.

My only likely candidate had been disproved, but of course there were many reason why I could find no trace of his military service. Perhaps he wasn’t a sapper after all, perhaps he wasn’t even a soldier? Perhaps he was never entitled to any medals so didn’t show up in the records? Perhaps Patrick wasn’t his full name or his age wasn’t 43 years after all?

I had no choice but to give up searching for his service record, perhaps I would have more luck with finding him in civilian records. After all I had his name, age and the name of his father, that should make it relatively easy to find out more about him.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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What happened next to Kate Allison?

30 Jan

With the widowed Kate Allison (who I could confidently call my 2x great-aunt) and presumably her five children back in Uckfield Registration District, it seemed only natural that she should turn to her family for help.

Maybe the Allison family were even living with my great-grandparents (Minnie and Henry Herbert Hemsley) in High Hurstwood, Sussex, but whether they were or not it makes perfect sense for my great-grandparents to help out and even “adopt” one of her daughters.

But maybe the picture I had built in my mind of the poor, helpless Kate, unable to look after her family wasn’t being fair, perhaps I shouldn’t be making that assumption. Sure it seemed like she had given up at least one of her children to be looked after by her sister and brother-in-law, but I still wasn’t sure whether that was the end of the story.

One other possibility was that after she had moved back to Sussex Kate herself had died and the children had been left orphans. I shouldn’t automatically assume that Kate simply couldn’t cope.

There was no sign in the GRO Indexes that Kate had died, not under the name of Kate Allison anyway, but what I did find was a marriage for Kate Allison in Q4 1917 in Uckfield Registration District. I knew I needed to get a copy of the marriage certificate to clear away any remaining doubts that I might have had about her identity.

The certificate that arrived showed that Kate Allison married Patrick Vaughan at High Hurstwood on the 25th December, the certificate said the year was 1918, but the marriage had been indexed in the last quarter of 1917. Hopefully that will turn out to be a clerical error, with the certificate having the wrong year, but filed in the correct year and quarter, but I still have to check that out.

The details for Kate were what I had expected, she was a 40-year-old widow living in High Hurstwood and her father was Thomas Driver, this time still alive and kicking despite what had been recorded at her first marriage.

Interestingly Patrick Vaughan was a widower, his age was given as 43 years old, he was living in what looked like Seaford (not many miles away on the Sussex coast) but the handwriting was a bit dodgy so I couldn’t be certain. His occupation was given as Soldier Sapper and his father was Thomas Vaughan a labourer. I wasn’t totally surprised to find Patrick was a soldier, after all the majority of the male population were fighting in the Great War, so that wasn’t unusual.

Then my brain started filling with the questions:

  • Was Patrick the father of the unfortunate Georgina Allison who was born and died in 1916?
  • Was Seaford his real home or was he merely stationed there?
  • Did Patrick survive the First World War? And did his service record survive the Second World War?
  • What happened to the children of Kate’s first marriage, is this why Minnie was “adopted”?
  • Did Patrick have any children from his previous marriage(s)?
  • Who were the two strangers who were witnesses to their marriage?

With access to many First World War service records on Ancestry.co.uk I knew that I should at least be able to answer a few of these questions. I hoped for Kate’s sake that this marriage would see her enter a new settled phase of her life, after several years of dramatic changes, but only further research would tell.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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The marriage certificate of Thomas NICHOLLS and Martha DRAPPER

1 Apr

The marriage certificate of Thomas NICHOLLS and Martha DRAPPER arrived last Saturday whilst I was enjoying myself at Haywards Heath and to be honest I was a little disappointed by the result.

Most of what I knew was correct, the date was the 21st March 1840 not the 15th as I had expected, but that was really the important bit.  The important information was the name of the bride and groom’s fathers.

From the census I already knew Martha’s father was George DRAPPER (the certificate confirmed this) but it was Thomas’ father I was most interested in. He was named as James NICHOLLS, a labourer. This was a bit of a set back because I was hoping it was going to be Joshua. I had found a very likely looking baptism for Thomas (and several other siblings) in Blean, Kent but his parents were Joshua and Mary NICHOLLS.

Of course it is always possible that the marriage certificate was wrong, possible but unlikely. Unfortunately this little project is not working out quite as nicely as I had hoped.

I really need to find out a more exact birth date for Thomas. All I have at the moment is the 1841 census where he is recorded as 20 years old, but this may or may not have been rounded down correctly. The marriage certificate just gives both bride and groom as being of full age.

The next step is to investigate Thomas’ death, to pinpoint the date of his death and how old he was when he died and if I am “lucky” there might also be an interesting cause of death to follow-up.

‘C’ is for Confusion in Carlisle

1 Sep

I went to bed last night (slightly later than I had hoped) feeling very pleased with myself, I had managed to clear a name off my list of unidentified wives. Every time I opened up my family history software (Family Historian) the alphabetical list of names begins with a section of seventeen women whose surname is unknown, and it has been bugging me that I haven’t found out who they are.

I hadn’t really set out to try and clear any of them last night, I didn’t really know what I was going to work on, but I ended up picking the first name off the top of the list and looking again at trying to find out who she was. The first name on the list was Alice, the first wife of George KINGHORN the son of Thomas KINGHORN the mail guard (my 4x great-grandfather).

I think George is probably the only one of Thomas’ children to remain in Carlisle, Cumberland, the rest appear to have moved down to London. The marriage of George KINGHORN and Alice should have taken place in Carlisle, the other end of the country from me, which explains why I hadn’t got around to identifying her yet.

Having reviewed the data and available online databases I found that there was still not much chance of finding her maiden name, George KINGHORN is in FreeBMD, marrying in Q1 1840 in Carlisle Registration District, but none of the spouses on the same page are named Alice. The most likely scenarios seemed to be that this was another George KINGHORN and that my George married prior to the start of civil registration in 1837, or that Alice wasn’t her real name but a nickname.

With nothing better to do I thought I would work forward and fill in some more detail on the family. It appeared I didn’t have an entry for the family in the 1851 census, but this turned out to be incorrect. I had entries for everyone except George and Alice’s daughter Sarah KINGHORN, so I decided to go in search of her. It was then that things started slotting into place.

She was living in Wetheral, Cumberland, with her uncle Thomas CARR and his mother Sarah CARR. Could Thomas be the brother of Alice? Both Thomas and Alice CARR were baptised in Carlisle, the children of Thomas and Sarah CARR (according to the IGI). Things were looking promising. Even Alice’s age was about right, this had to be her, but when did she get married and why was she not showing up as marrying George KINGHORN.

Searching FreeBMD for Alice’s marriage brought up the same details as George, Q1 1840 and Carlisle Registration District, so why hadn’t I found her before? Looking closer I noticed she was listed as being on page 25C of the register whereas George was on page 25 (both were in volume 25).

Something is not quite right with the index, there are eight people listed on page 25 and only one on page 25c, I don’t know what that extra C means, but it does mean that there is an odd number of people getting married in Carlisle that quarter.

It also means that there is still an element of doubt in my mind, there is enough evidence for me to identify the Alice in my database as Alice CARR daughter of Thomas and Sarah CARR, but I won’t 100% until I have seen a copy of the marriage certificate or the entry in the parish register.

I have solved one mystery but uncovered another. What does the C in the page number in birth index mean?

Picture Postcard Parade: St. Peter’s Church, Brighton

30 Aug

This fine looking church is St. Peter’s Church, Brighton, Sussex. This is the church where my 2x great grandparents Henry BATEMAN and Dorothy Isabella KINGHORN married on the 9th November 1881, and probably had their son baptised here the following year.

St Peters Church Brighton

There are virtually no clues as to the publisher or age of this card, there is only the number 1973 on the front which is definitely not the year of publication, because the back of the card (shown below) is undivided which suggests a date prior to 1902.

St Peters Church Brighton (back)

St. Peter’s Church is a relatively modern church and still forms a prominent landmark in Brighton. It is great to have a personal connection to this wonderful building, which I have passed so many times on my way into and out of Brighton.

The marriage certificate of Henry BATEMAN and Dorothy Isabella KINGHORN

23 Aug

I ordered a copy of the marriage certificate for quite specific reasons. In the big scheme of things it was not that important, there were no big mysteries to be solved. If anything it was more about establishing my personal connection with Brighton, Sussex. It has always surprised my that Brighton has not played a bigger part in the lives of my ancestors, but so far my family connections with the city have been few and far between.

Personally I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with Brighton. It is the closest city to where I live, and as such provides many facilities that I need to access from time to time (such as the Brighton History Centre) and acts as a transport hub with buses and trains heading across the country, but Brighton is usually far too busy for my liking, especially at this time of year.

But that’s enough about me, back to my ancestors. Henry BATEMAN married Dorothy Isabella KINGHORN on the 9th November 1881 at St. Peter’s Church, Brighton, Sussex. Henry was 22 years old and he was a groom, nothing surprising there, every other record I have seems to have his as a groom, stableman or coachman.

Dorothy was 27 years old and had no occupation shown. Neither of them had been married before and the marriage took place after banns had been read. The only possible mystery comes from the name of one of the witnesses, Mary Ann WATKINS. I have no idea who she was or whether she was related to either Henry or Dorothy, but I guess if she is a relation I will discover her identity in due course. The other witness was Dorothy’s brother Graham (actually Abraham Graham) KINGHORN.

The only surprise was that they were both living at separate addresses. Henry was at 58 Hanover Street and Dorothy was at 47 Jersey Street. I had expected to find them living at the same address, but I guess I was wrong. It was my impression that they had moved together from Spratton, Northamptonshire to Brighton after Dorothy became pregnant, perhaps they were still trying to maintain at least some impression of decency and doing the right thing. In the 1881 census Dorothy’s brother Graham was living at 79 Hanover Street, which probably explains why they were in that particular part of Brighton.

This certificate has proved quite useful, I now have several things I need to do to follow up the information provided on the certificate:

  1. Visit St. Peter’s Church and get some photographs.
  2. Visit 58 Hanover Street and 47 Jersey Street and get some photographs.
  3. Search the parish registers for St. Peter’s Church for the dates of the banns.
  4. Search the parish registers for St. Peter’s Church for the baptisms of their children.
  5. Check Brighton street directories to see who else was living at 58 Hanover Street and 47 Jersey Street.

Also this certificate has given me a definite connection with Brighton, and one of it’s most famous landmarks, St. Peter’s Church. Every time I go past it on the bus, or get off of the bus there to make my way to Brighton railway station I will be able to look at it knowing that my 2x great-grandparents were married there.

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