Tag Archives: newspapers

My Family History Week: Sunday 13th May 2012

13 May

It was another productive week, although once again I didn’t do what I had intended to do. Most of my family history time was spent re-visiting past research projects, mostly inspired by my brief foray into British Newspaper Archive.

Challenging times: Sorting out Patrick Vaughan’s information

For the second week in a row I have failed to do anything about sorting out all the information I have about Patrick Vaughan. I think this is probably because organising and sorting is just not as interesting as doing new research.

I already know all the information I have for Patrick Vaughan and whilst I know I need to have this all in order before I do any more research, it is just not as exciting as doing the new research.

I think I should try to make an effort next week to actually get it sorted. If I leave it another week I suspect it will never get done.

Luther Trower, Henrietta King and Joseph Brinton

These three individuals are the main characters for one of the most interesting stories lurking in my family tree. It is a story that I haven’t fully researched yet and I am hoping this year I will get around to telling that story.

I was reminded once again of this unfinished story by several newspaper articles, sadly the articles didn’t provide any new information, but they did spark an interest again.

I have done a bit of work this week on tracing what happened to some of the supporting cast and updated my database. I think the story is probably worthy of a book, not a big book, but a book nonetheless.

For that I know I will need some more background material, old photos and new photos, but before I get too carried away I ought to sit down and put together an outline for the book.

Thomas Kinghorn – the mail guard

Another newspaper inspired piece of work, which lead to his Ancestral Profile blog post this week. It also lead me to re-visiting the life of my 4x great-grandfather and his connections with Carlisle.

There wasn’t really any new research, just looking over what I already have and dreaming about the time when I get chance to spend some time at the Carlisle Record Office and what I would like to try to find out.

It occurred to me that unless I actually make plans to visit the record office it is never going to happen. No-one else is going to make those plans for me, I could wait for records to be digitised, but even then it might not be the records that I need.

I need to make some plans and do some research:

  1. How and when do I go there? and how much will it cost?
  2. What records do I want to check when I am there?
  3. Is it likely to be worth going?
  4. Would I be better off at the SoG Library or London Family History Centre?

I might try to work this out this week, the sooner I do it the sooner I might be walking through the doors of Carlisle Record Office.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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My Family History Week: Sunday 6th May 2012

6 May

It was another good week, although most of what I did wasn’t really what I had intended, but it was interesting and varied, which certainly helps keep me motivated.

Challenging times: Sorting out Patrick Vaughan’s information

I have to confess that I didn’t get very far with sorting out all the stuff that I have on Patrick Vaughan. I did make a start, but was almost immediately distracted by another part of the Finding Minnie story that needed sorting out.

One day I will get around to telling the story of these relations of Minnie Allison and answering the question Who Was Daisy Denyer? The information I has bundled up with that of Patrick Vaughan, so it made sense to get that sorted out at the same time.

There were two reason why I chose to start with this information, first I didn’t think it would take too long and secondly it was all English so I wouldn’t have any problem entering and sourcing the information, whereas Patrick’s was Irish, Scottish and Canadian and that would take some time to work out my source citation.

Thomas Acock of Malvern, Worcestershire, England

I decided that I would also like to clear a couple of items from my to-do list as well this week. Both of these items involved Thomas Acock who married my 4x great-aunt Anna Trower.

Anna was his third wife, so I wanted to include some details from these previous marriages in my database and I wanted to expand on the information that I had on their descendants.

I was able to delete these two entries from my to-do list although I really need to add a new one that will remind my to keep a look out for the parish registers for Malvern so that I can verify the work that I have done.

Upgrading Family Historian

Version 5 of Family Historian (my genealogy software of choice) has been out several weeks and this week I finally got around to paying for and downloading the update.

As expected everything went smoothly and I think the only thing I had change was the default project on opening, all my other settings were exactly the same.

This is just the sort of upgrading I like, whilst the core of the program looks and behaves the same as before there are several new features that are waiting to be explored. I had a quick play with the new fan charts and can see I am going to be having some fun with them in the future.

British Newspaper Archive

Part of the reason I didn’t get very far sorting out the Patrick Vaughan stuff was because I decided to take the plunge and buy a few credits for the British Newspaper Archive.

It has taken some getting used to and some of the image quality is dreadful, but there are more stories of interest than I had first imagined, but finding them has proved a big challenge requiring some careful searching. Capturing the information proved to be a bigger challenge in many cases, and my Print Screen button has not seen such use for many a year.

I still have a few credits left and a few hours to use them, so I will make the most of them to try to uncover more of what my relatives got up to.

Future Challenges

There is no question, no excuses, next week I must carry on sorting out the Patrick Vaughan information. I know that with the searching of the British Newspaper Archive I have gathered even more information to be sorted, but I will try to put that to one side for now and work on Patrick.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License
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Personal Genealogy Update: Week 45

7 Nov

Last week was a good week, for once I think I accomplished pretty much everything that I had set out to achieve. Admittedly I had set my goals pretty low, but if that is what it takes then so be it.

It was mostly a week of scanning. At long last the four wills that I received several weeks ago have been scanned, along with all the newspaper articles from last weekend and the weekend before. I am really pleased to have got them all captured digitally at last.

I haven’t thrown away the originals of the newspaper articles yet, because I haven’t quite finished transcribing them all, but this week I will get them finished and bin the paper copies. Then I can make a start on transcribing the wills, but because I paid good money for those I won’t be getting rid of the paper copies any time soon. I didn’t attempt to scan any bits of the large Ordnance Survey maps that I bought from the West Sussex Record Office, but I might give that a try this week.

I am not sure what else I am going to do this week, I think I might have a bit of a look around and see what other pieces of paper I have that need scanning and transcribing. I also need to have a look in my “current projects” folder, most of the projects are no longer current, they still need completing but I don’t know when I will get around to it, so I might as well have a bit of a purge and see what I need to keep and what I can throw away.

TWG Unplugged: A Tale of Two Cities

30 Oct

The two cities in question were Brighton and Chichester, both of which I visited today name of family history. I began the day with a leisurely start and took the bus down to Brighton and then took the train along the south coast to Chichester.

First stop was the Brighton History Centre so that I could spend a couple of hours looking through local newspapers. Brighton History Centre has a great selection of local newspapers on microfilm (and a few originals) and among them is my personal favourite the Sussex Daily News. It was published between 1870 and 1956 and I could quite happily have spent all day scrolling through the pages.

I had several dates in mind, events that I wanted to check and see if they were reported, and I am pleased to say that the Sussex Daily News didn’t let me down. There was another mention of the BOXALL’s diamond wedding anniversary, with a few more bits of information that weren’t included in the one that I found last weekend. Then there were another couple of articles that relate to other family lines (GASSON and DUNFORD), one of which was particularly saddening.

Another report that I was looking for described an event that was captured on one of my latest postcard purchases, this was a bit of background research for a future blog post but quite an interesting story. A surprise find was an article about the bells at Bolney Church which I think have a connection with one of my ancestors as well. All in all a very rewarding visit.

The reason for my visit to Chichester was to visit the West Sussex Record Office. This time though it wasn’t for research, it was so I could buy some more of their bargain Ordnance Survey maps. It felt a bit odd not actually going into the search room but just spending an hour or so browsing through the piles of maps. I added another 10 maps to my collection, this time though they weren’t really ancestral places but other places of interest, many of them on the South Downs.

Another successful day, quite relaxing in many ways as I wasn’t trying to cram in too much, just taking it easy and enjoying myself in the sunshine. Next week, weather permitting, I will get back to some walking.

Personal Genealogy Update: Week 42

17 Oct

Last week was a good week. I managed to get quite a bit of work done, discovered a couple of other stories to follow up and best of all, the four will copies arrived in the post on Thursday.

Having written about the delays with the issuing of copies of wills, the four wills I had ordered towards the end of August have arrived. I haven’t studied them in great detail yet, but like I suspected there doesn’t appear to be any major revelations contained within them. This week I have to get them scanned and transcribed and see what information I can extract from them.

Most of my work has has been focused on the BOXALL family of West Dean, and I have made good progress on tracing the six BOXALLs on the West Dean war memorial, although two of them are proving rather tricky to track down. The other four are definitely related to me, but this week I need to try and pin down the final two.

I now also want to investigate the story that James and Caroline BOXALL, my 2x great-grandparents, had 27 children. I only have details of 12 children and the 1911 census records that they had 13 "Children Born Alive", but four had died. I am going to have to do some careful analysis of some baptism and burial records and birth and death registration indexes, to see if I can identify any of the missing children.

I need to spend some time looking in local newspapers, possibly for birth announcements, but more likely for obituaries of James and Caroline and also for their wedding anniversaries. I also need to check the local newspapers for a mention of the six BOXALLs on the war memorial, and of course any mention of the dedication of the war memorial itself.

My hope is to visit Chichester next weekend and spend several hours on a microfilm reader and in the archives. So this week I need to create a list of dates and subjects to look up in preparation for my visit. I also want get the four wills scanned, although I don’t think I will have time to get them all transcribed during the week, whilst I am scanning them I need to scan the latest batch of postcards as well.

More about Thomas KINGHORN’s “dreadful accident”

9 Sep

Long time readers of my blog might remember me writing about my 4x great grandfather Thomas KINGHORN and the accident he was involved in whilst working as a guard on the mail coaches.

I haven’t given up on the idea of finding out more about Thomas KINGHORN and the accident. Ideally I would like to be able to find out where the accident occurred so that one day I will be able to go and visit the spot where my 4x great-grandfather nearly lost his life.

Having recently joined the Surrey library service I have been able to take advantage of free access to the 19th Century British Library Newspaper Collection. I had previously found a brief mention of the “dreadful accident” in The Times newspaper and it seems the story was widely reported across the country.

The source of the various different articles appears to have been a report from Moffat, Dumfriesshire, Scotland which was possibly first published in the Carlisle Journal, which is not part of the collection, but it does appear to have been reprinted, possibly in full, in the Caledonian Mercury.

The report in the Caledonian Mercury (published in Edinburgh, Scotland) on the 29th October 1808 contains much useful additional information, naming several of the key figures involved in the rescue who are not mentioned in any of the other reports as far I am aware.

MOFFAT, Oct. 26.-We had yesterday a most dreadful storm of wind and rain, and the rivers in the neighbourhood came down in torrents, such as have never been seen by the oldest people here. Among other damage occasioned by it, we are sorry to state that a shocking accident has happened to the mail coach from Glasgow to Carlisle. At the bridge over the river Avon, about nine miles from this, at Howcleuch, betwixt nine and ten o’clock last night, the coach had just got about half way over, when the bridge gave way in the middle of the arch, and the coach, passengers, horses, &c. were instantly precipitated in the river, a fall of about 30 feet. There were four inside and two outside passengers. The two outside passengers, and two of the horses were killed upon the spot, and the other passengers made a miraculous escape with their lives; though we are sorry to say they were all very considerably hurt. The coachman and guard were also much hurt; the former had his arm broken, and was otherwise much bruised, and the guard received a severe contusion on the head.

The other coach from Carlisle to Glasgow, was narrowly prevented from falling into the same precipice. It was coming up just about the time the accident happened, and, from the darkness of the night, and the rate the coach necessarily goes at, must inevitably have gone into the river, at the same breach in the arch, had not one of the passengers who escaped given the alarm.
"By the exertion of the coachman and guard of the other coach, the passengers who survived (a lady and three gentlemen) with the coachman and guard, who had fallen into the precipice, were enabled to extricate themselves from the dreadful situation into which they were thrown, and conducted to a place of safety till other assistance was afforded them.

Much praise is due to Mr Rae, the postmaster here, one of the proprietors of the coach, for his exertions and assistance on the occasion. Immediately, on hearing of the accident, he set out, in the middle of the night, with several of his servants and others, in two post chaises, and gave every possible assistance to the passengers, &c. and, by this means, we are happy to say, the London mail and other valuable articles in the coach have been saved.

Mr Clapperton, surgeon, is also entitled to much praise for his ready assistance upon this occasion; and the exertions of John Giddes, one of Mr Rae’s servants, are particularly deserving of notice, who, at the risk of his life, went down into the river with a rope fastened to his body, and saved the life of the lady (one of the passengers) and some of the mail bags, which must otherwise have been carried down the stream.

The coach and harness are completely destroyed. Mr Rae has loft two valuable horses by the accident, and the other two are severely hurt and bruised.

The bodies of the two passengers who were killed, have been found, and have been brought here this morning; they are Mr William Brand, merchant in Ecclefechan, and Mr Lund, of the house of Lund & Toulmin, of Bond-street, London."

As you can see there is much information contained in this report that I need to follow up. Did Mr Rae (the postmaster) or Mr Clapperton (the surgeon) keep a diary? Were any of the rescuers recognised for their bravery?Where were the two victims buried? Were their deaths reported elsewhere?

Then of course there are further questions, such as what were the names of the four passengers that survived? When was the bridge rebuilt and was it’s re-opening reported? and most importantly where exactly was the bridge?

Dissecting the newspaper report of the inquest into the death of Jane GEERING

30 Mar

Yesterday I posted the newspaper report of the inquest held into the death of Jane GEERING. Today I am going to break it down to provide more detail and explain why the information contained in the report is so important.

An inquest was held on Wednesday at the Terminus Hotel, before L. G. Fullagar, Esq., coroner, touching the death of Jane Gearing, single woman, aged about 76.

The Terminus Hotel was probably the public house at the top of Station Road (now called simply The Terminus), a short distance from Cobden Place and about the same distance again from the common pond. It seems common practice for inquests to be held in public houses.

The fact that her surname is spelt GEARING is perhaps not surprising and not necessarily a problem. At this time Jane was the last of the GEERING family living in Hailsham, and there is no reason to suggest that the exact spelling her surname was known to anyone else in the town.

James Foster stated that he and deceased lived at Cobden-place, Hailsham. Witness last saw her alive on Monday night about half-past nine o’clock when she was going to bed. He noticed nothing particular about her. Witness did not see deceased again until he found her in the common pond dead. She was drawn to the shore by a rake being tied on the end of a pole. Deceased had got so that her landlady (Mrs. Carey) could not bear it any longer, and so asked her to look out for fresh apartments.

It is not clear whether James Foster lived in the same house as Jane. In the 1871 census Jane was living with Walter and Elizabeth Carey at 11 Cobden Place, but there is no sign of a James Foster in Hailsham.

The report suggests that James Foster was the person who discovered Jane’s body in the pond, but this is not clear. From his evidence it sounds like he was certainly there when her body was being recovered with a rake on the end of a pole.

I would like to have known what it was that the landlady “could not bear” any longer. Perhaps it was her physical appearance or health referred to later in the inquest in the surgeon’s evidence.

Mrs. Elizabeth Carey gave evidence much to the same effect.

Jane’s landlady gave evidence, but evidently this confirmed what had previously been said by James Foster.

Mr. James Pymar Billing, surgeon, stated that about half-past nine on Tuesday morning he went to the common pond and saw deceased being taken on a stretcher to a shed close by. Witness directed her to be taken to the Home, where he thoroughly examined her. She had apparently been dead about an hour. There were no external marks upon the body, but she was covered with fleas and vermin, and was in a filthy state. Witness stated that he had not the least doubt that she died from drowning.

The surgeon who examined Jane gives evidence next. His evidence suggests that Jane died about 8:30 on Tuesday morning. He is certain that she drowned, and graphically describes her state, which sounds rather unpleasant, but presumably this was as a result of her normal lifestyle rather than when she drowned.

The use of the word Home (with a capital H) suggests that this wasn’t just Jane’s home or his home, but rather some specific house, possibly a workhouse which may have served as an infirmary.

Edwin Isaac Baker said he was a bookseller and stationer, and had known deceased all his life. Witness allowed her an annuity of £20, as her brother left him property on that condition. She was a very peculiar woman, and suffered intense pain with her head, and had very weak nerves. Witness saw her on Monday, and she seemed very comfortable.

For me this is the most interesting part. The annuity of £20 explains Jane’s occupation (annuitant) on the 1871 census. It is the circumstances of this annuity that are of most interest.

This suggests that after the death of Ann GEERING (Jane’s aunt) in 1864 the property passed to at least one of her nephews, possibly John James GEERING, who in turn left it to Edwin Isaac Baker when he died in 1866. As you can see there is a whole website about Edwin Isaac Baker and his photographs, including photos of the inside of his shop.

If this is the case then this effectively provides the proof that I am looking for which links the GEERINGs in Hailsham to the GEERINGs in Lewes. Clearly the will of Ann GEERING is going to be critical to my research, and it also means I need to see if John James GEERING did leave a will.

If that wasn’t enough, this also provides further evidence of what became of the GEERINGs shop. Thomas Geering wrote in his book Our Sussex Parish that the shop had been taken over by a bookseller, the newspaper report suggests that this was Edwin Isaac Baker. This agrees with other evidence from maps and photos about the location of the shop.

The jury returned a verdict of “Found drowned,” but there was no evidence to show how she came into the water.

So ultimately we know Jane drowned, but we don’t know how she ended up in the pond. Was it suicide? A tragic accident? Murder? Unfortunately we will probably never know.

One thing that stood out in the report is the timeline of events. It is not immediately clear what happened when, all the references are to days of the week, so it is not really clear which dates they were on. It is crying out for a proper timeline of events.

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