Tag Archives: minnie allison

Contacting my newly found cousin brings rewards

13 Mar

In the end I decided I had put off for too long getting in touch with my third cousin. I had to find out if she was Minnie’s grand-daughter and if she was did she know why Minnie got left behind when her mother and four siblings emigrated to Canada in 1919.

I suppose I had been worried about how my contact would be received, if was indeed contacting the right person. Would it be ignored? Would I be told in no uncertain terms to get lost? There were no end of things that could go wrong, but of course there wasn’t really, it was just me worrying needlessly.

I received a reply to my initial email which confirmed that she was Minnie’s grand-daughter, and provided a couple of photos of Minnie and her husband, as well as filling in a few details.

I thought I could see similarities between the couple in the new photo (on the right) and the wedding photo (on the left) that had started this project a couple of months before, but that might just have been wishful thinking on my part.

My newly found third cousin also mentioned a photo album which had belonged to her grandmother, which she thought might have some photos of interest.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
Creative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License
.

What became of Minnie Allison?

12 Mar

My grandmother’s “adopted” sister (in reality her cousin) had seemingly been left behind in England when her mother and four siblings emigrated to Canada in 1919, to be brought up by my great-grandmother Minnie Hemsley (as she would have been then).

I had been focusing very much on the Canadian side of things and neglecting Minnie. I knew she had married as it was her husband’s name that had enabled me to find her in the first place, and her death registration had led me back to her birth in Essex, but what had happened in the intervening years?

Through the GRO BMD indexes I was able to discover that Minnie and her husband had a son, that son had married and had a daughter. This opened up the prospect that somewhere out there was a living descendent of Minnie, who through Thomas and Ellen Driver (Minnie’s grandparents) would be my third cousin.

The electoral rolls, on CD and online at 192.com enabled me to pin down where the family had been living until quite recently, whether they were still there was another question. Naturally the daughter had grown up and left home, but if I was right she was still in roughly the same area, what is more I thought I had found also found her contact details online.

I knew I ought to get in touch with my third cousin, after all she might be able to fill in some of the gaps in the story and perhaps she would know why Minnie was left behind whilst the rest of the family went to Canada, but for some reason I didn’t make contact straight away.

I kept telling myself that I needed to get all the facts together first, but in reality it was probably because I didn’t want to make a fool of myself if she wasn’t my third cousin. In the end I figured that I didn’t really have anything to lose, but plenty to gain if I was correct.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
Creative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License
.

Why should I be bothered about those two strangers at my great-grandmother’s wedding?

28 Jan

The widowed Kate Allison had returned to Uckfield Registration District sometime between the death of her husband Robert Cecil Allison in 1914 and the birth (and death) of an illegitimate daughter Georgina in 1916.

This pretty much confirmed that she was my 2x great-aunt, but the final confirmation came when I looked back at the marriage certificate of my great-grandmother Minnie Driver. Four years after the death of her first husband (my great-grandfather Henry Herbert Hemsley) Minnie re-married Robert Farlow in High Hurstwood, Sussex.

Just under four years ago I ordered a copy of their marriage certificate to confirm some details and make sure that I had the right husband (Moses Farlow). When I looked again at the certificate I realised that I had undeniable proof that Kate Allison was my 2x great-aunt.

Until I had started on this search for my grandmother’s “adopted” sister the two witnesses were unknown to me, and to be honest they weren’t that important to me. I mean why should I be bothered about those two strangers at my great-grandmother’s wedding?

Actually that is not strictly true, I knew I should try to find out who they were, but they were a low priority. Four years ago there were plenty more important people to work on and fewer records online, so they never really got the attention they deserved.

Of course the importance of the two witnesses should not be measured by the importance they have to me (are they my relations?) but by the importance that they had to my relatives.

I am sure you can guess where I am going with this, one of the witnesses on the marriage certificate was Kate’s daughter, Minnie Gladys Allison the adopted “sister” I had been searching for along.

Her name had been sitting in my records all along, it felt like I had gone full circle, but without making that journey I probably wouldn’t have realised the significance of the name on the marriage certificate.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
Creative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License
.

And then Kate went home

26 Jan

It seemed likely that the death of her husband Robert Cecil Allison towards the end of 1914 was the reason why Kate’s daughter Minnie had been “adopted” by my great-grandmother. There was however unfinished business, what had happened to Kate herself and the rest of her children?

In 1911 census the couple had three children and between 1911 and 1914 there was a good chance that the may have had one or two more before Robert’s death.

Searching the GRO Birth Index brought up another two children with births registered in Tendring Registration District, bringing their total number of children up to five:

  1. Katie Evelyn Allison (birth registered Q1 1904)
  2. Robert Cecil Allison (birth registered Q1 1906)
  3. Minnie Gladys Allison (birth registered Q1 1908)
  4. Herbert L Allison (birth registered Q2 1911)
  5. Nora M Allison (birth registered Q3 1913)

Presumably they were all born in Beaumont, Essex (I don’t have the money to spare for their birth certificates) but the biggest surprise came from an unexpected birth registration in Uckfield Registration District.

In Q1 1916 the birth of Georgina Allison was registered in Uckfield Registration District with the mother’s name of Driver. Not only had Kate returned home (or at least to the same registration district as she was born) but also she was having a child over a year after her husband had died.

Tragically there is also a death registration in the same quarter for Georgina, so although her life was short I was left wondering what story that pair of birth and death certificates would tell.

Presumably Kate had returned home with her children in search of support after the death of her husband, but whether it was soon after his death or after she found out she was pregnant. That was a mystery for another day though as the only way I could see of finding out would be through the records of her children’s education. Local school admission registers would hopefully tell me when the family arrived back in Sussex.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
Creative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License
.

Meanwhile… back in Beaumont

24 Jan

I hadn’t entirely convinced myself that Kate Allison of Beaumont, Essex was my 2x great-aunt, but it seemed to be the most likely possibility.

How she came to be in Essex was still a mystery, as was the reason why her daughter Minnie was “adopted” by my great-grandmother. I was obvious I still had unfinished business in Beaumont.

In the 1911 census they looked like a perfectly normal family. Looming ahead of them of course was the First World War, which was to tear apart so many families. Was this the case with Kate and her husband Robert?

Searching the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website failed to find Robert Cecil Allison, so at least it appeared they had been spared that fate. A follow-up search of the First World War records on Ancestry.co.uk also failed to find Robert. It seemed unlikely that he could have escaped service altogether, but that seemed to be case.

I turned my attention to the GRO Death Index and found the answer there. In Q4 1914 a death was registered for the 34 year old Robert Cecil Allison in the Tendring Registration District. The National Burial Index confirmed that the burial was in the parish of Beaumont, Essex on the 27th October 1914. I had no doubt that this was Kate’s husband.

I had found the likely cause of the upheaval that had caused Minnie to be “adopted”. Kate became a widow at the age of 34 and with a young family to look after things must have been a struggle, presumably she had been unable to support herself and her children and presumably her sister (my great-grandmother) had stepped in to help bring up at least one of the children.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
Creative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License
.

How did Kate Driver end up in Essex?

23 Jan

It seemed quite likely that the Kate Driver who married Robert Cecil Allison in Beaumont, Essex in 1903 was my 2x great-aunt but so far I hadn’t found any conclusive evidence.

The 1911 census told me that Kate Driver had come from Framfield in Sussex, but how had she made her way from Framfield into Essex, and not just the outskirts of London but deep into Essex, even today Beaumont looks like a remote village not far from the east coast of Essex.

Using the earlier censuses I hoped to be able to better understand how this Sussex girl had ended up in Essex, if indeed it was her.

The 1881 census finds the one year old Kate Driver living at Blackboys in Framfield, Sussex, not unsurprisingly she is living with her parents. In 1881 she was their only child, but she was the first of six.

In 1891 whilst the rest of the family (Thomas and his wife Ellen and four children) were living in Waldron, Sussex (just down the road from Framfield) Kate was in London. She was in Wandsworth, with her uncle and aunt (her mother’s sister). She was only 11 years old and there are no clues to whether she was just paying a visit or was a permanent resident with her uncle and aunt. She seems such a long way from home to be just visiting, especially on her own.

School admission records might reveal whether Kate was a permanent resident (and for how long), but if this was the case they probably wouldn’t reveal the reason she was away from home. Perhaps Thomas and Ellen couldn’t cope with all five children or perhaps they didn’t have the space or money. Perhaps I was reading too much into it, perhaps she was just on holiday.

Finding Kate in 1901 wasn’t easy, there wasn’t really any other options but the only likely option didn’t really match satisfactorily. There appears to be only one likely individual, a 26 year old domestic servant living in Wimbledon, London. Of course the age doesn’t match, Kate should have been 21 years old not 26, and her place of birth was given as Lewes, Sussex not Framfield, Sussex.

Of course Kate wouldn’t have filled in the census, that would have been down to her employer, so that might explain the discrepancies but I can’t help wondering whether there was some deliberate motive for inflating her age.

In less than three years Kate was getting married to Robert Cecil Allison in Beaumont, Essex, and although it is not such a great leap from London to Essex as it is from Sussex to Essex, it still seems hard to understand how Kate and Robert got together.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
Creative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License
.

Was this my Kate Driver?

22 Jan

I needed to find out from the marriage register entry whether the Kate Driver who married Robert Cecil Allison in Beaumont, Essex was my 2x great-aunt, this would make her daughter Minnie my grandmother’s cousin.

Unfortunately the marriage register image that I downloaded from the Essex Record Office website didn’t give the conclusive evidence that I had hoped for. If anything it added another mystery which I tried not to be distracted by, Robert’s father’s name and occupation were missing. Interesting but probably not relevant to my current research.

On the 26th November 1903 in the parish church of Beaumont, Essex, Robert Cecil Allison (22 years old) married Kate Driver (a 27 year old). Neither had been married before, Robert gave his occupation as horseman but Kate had no occupation.

This age for Kate pretty much ties up with the 1911 census, giving her a birth year around 1876/77, and of course this doesn’t agree with the Kate in my family tree who was born at the beginning of 1880 (I’m not sure of the exact date, but she was baptised on 28th March 1880). So I couldn’t rely on this as proof.

I have already mentioned that Robert’s father wasn’t named in the register, but fortunately Kate’s was. Her father was Thomas Driver, the name that I had hoped to see, the only fly in the ointment was that he was listed as deceased.

I knew that Thomas Driver my 2x great-grandfather was far from dead in 1903. Kate’s mother had died in 1899 but her father actually remarried in 1908 at the age of 51, and finally passed away in 1945 at the age of 88 years.

Had Kate not known that her father was still alive? Did she deliberately lie about her father to avoid any awkward questions at the wedding? Had she lost contact with her family and didn’t know whether he was still alive? Had there been some sort of falling out between Kate and her father?

Was I looking at the correct Kate Driver? Perhaps this wasn’t my Kate Driver at all, but that she came from Framfield, Sussex was too much of a coincidence to ignore.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
Creative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License
.
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 119 other followers

%d bloggers like this: