Tag Archives: mystery

A puzzling group photograph

21 Apr

Of all the photographs in my collection this is probably the most distressed, but it is also one of the most interesting. I just wish I knew more about it.

There are a couple of people in this photo who look familiar, the woman on the front-left could be my great-grandmother Minnie Driver/Hemsley/Farlow and the young woman on the front-right could be my grandmother Annie Hemsley.

The old man at the back might be my great-grandmother’s second husband but I less sure about that. Also the woman with the large black hat looks familiar, but I am not sure from where.

That still leaves plenty of other people to be identified, including the little boy at the front. Of course there is also the location to be identified, a lovely rural backdrop with farm buildings and a haystack.

Using the digital image I need to put in some work on cleaning up the photo and then attempt to put a date to the photo, to see these are the people I think they might be.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Who are this happy couple?

16 Mar

This is a lovely photo, but like so many family photos there are no clues as to who the couple are or when and where it was taken.

I am not 100% certain that it is the couple’s wedding day yet, I need to do some more work on that, but it seems likely to me that this was the occasion. There may be clues in the clothing that would enable me to narrow down a timescale for the photo. The background doesn’t offer many clues, except that it was a rural location.

This photo however might embody a much deeper mystery. It has been suggested that the young woman is my grandmother’s adopted sister (or possibly her half-sister or step-sister). My grandmother Annie HEMSLEY was as far as we know an only child, but she grew up with a “sister”.

No-one seems to know exactly what the relationship was, was she adopted and if so was it official or unofficial? It has been suggested that she might be the illegitimate daughter of one of my great-grandparents siblings, but in truth she might not even have been related.

Annie’s father died young and her mother re-married, so it is conceivable that the “sister” might have come from her step-father’s family. The possibilities are almost endless.

To make matters worse no-one seems to be certain of their names. Her first name was said to be Minnie, the same as my great-grandmother (Minnie DRIVER) and her husband was possibly Fred or Stan. Perhaps the best clue is the fact that they had a garage (possibly a specialist Jaguar garage) in East or West Meon in Hampshire. If I remember the story correctly the couple did have a son.

They are such a lovely couple that I would really like to find out who they were and what became of them. So if you recognise the photo or any of the names then let me know. There are no prizes, only my eternal gratitude.

A postcard puzzle to ponder

1 Aug

I picked up this postcard in Exeter whilst on holiday, I wouldn’t normally have bothered with it, but there were a couple of things about it that appealed to me, which meant I just had to have it.

Church Street, Steyning (front)

The subject of the card is not particularly rare, but I do have a personal connection with it. Church Street, Steyning is probably best known as the home of Steyning Grammar School where I went to school for several years.

This in itself wouldn’t normally be enough to make me buy it, as I said it is not particularly rare to find a postcard of Church Street and I don’t think this is a particularly good picture either. What really caught my attention was the addressee and message.

Church Street, Steyning (back)

Just in case you couldn’t read the message on the front, here it is again, but the right way round this time.

Church Street, Steyning (message)

This is what intrigued me. A card of Steyning, Sussex was being forwarded by George Coleman of Hove to a gentleman in Belgium, in 1903. Why?

What business was George Coleman in? Why did he have a stamp made with his details on? Does this mean he forwarded a lot of postcards? Was he involved in publishing postcards? Was this being sent as a sample of his work? And who was the gentleman in Belgium? What did he want with a postcard of Steyning?

Perhaps one day I will find some answers. Next time I am at the Brighton History Centre I will do some digging in some local directories and see if I can find an entry for George Coleman, that will at least give me somewhere to start.

Car sharing mystery

14 Jul

My last couple of posts have mentioned my grandfather Charles Percy GASSON (1910-1992), and it is ironic that although he is one of the few people in my family tree that I actually knew, he is also probably the person who has provided me with the most challenges in my research.

One of those challenges concerns the two photos on this page. The story (as told by my father) goes that my grandfather (the one on the right) and his friend bought a second-hand car between them, but that is where the story ends.

Charles Percy GASSON and friend with car

When I saw these photos and heard the story loads of questions entered my mind:

  • What type of car was it?
  • Where were the pictures taken?
  • When were the pictures taken?
  • What was the friend’s name?
  • How did they know each other?
  • How much did the car cost them?
  • Where did they get it from?
  • What did they do with it?
  • When did they dispose of it?
  • How did they dispose of it?

Of all those questions only the first has been answered, I believe it is a Bullnose Morris Oxford. I think the date would be between July 1924 (when he left school in Greenwich*) and December 1936 (when he married back in Sussex).

Charles Percy GASSON (sitting in car)

Closeup of UNKNOWN with carSo here is my plea, has anyone seen this man, or recognise any of the buildings in the background. Unfortunately not enough of the number plate (US: license plate) is visible to make out the number, so no clues there either.

*This is another mystery, why did he leave Lewes, Sussex to go school in London (or thereabouts)?

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