Tag Archives: parish register

I tried not to get sucked in, honestly I did

24 Apr

I was getting along quite nicely with updating my to-do list when I succumbed to temptation and decided that I ought to try to clear one of the items. It looked so simple:

Add step children of Edward and Jane (BURTENSHAW?) GASSON from 1881 census RG11/1063 folio: 74, page: 13

Of course I couldn’t just add census events for the two children, for starters I had to add them into my family tree in the first place. They were step-children so that meant Jane had probably been married before, so there was another husband to add as well. The fact that she had married Edward Gasson (my 3x great-uncle) was a clear indication that her first husband had probably died as well.

In short there was a whole lot more work involved in that single item than I had first envisaged.

It wasn’t particularly difficult work, after all everything was focused around the parish of Bolney, Sussex which I have some experience of and a useful set of parish register transcriptions. Although it was more work than I had intend it was quite an interesting little diversion, and to be honest I am pleased that I did it.

Jane Linfield had married David Burtenshaw in Bolney in 1873, they had three children Edith Jane (born 1874), William (born 1876) and Alice Louisa (born 1877), although only two of those were on the 1881 census.

William Burtenshaw was baptised on the 28th June 1876 and sadly was buried on the 1st July 1876. The age given in the parish register (according to the transcription) was just 38 hours. I think that is the first time I have ever seen anyone’s age recorded in hours.

That wasn’t the end of the sadness for Jane. The third child, Alice Louisa, was baptised on the 15th July 1877 and although she was recorded as the daughter of David and Jane Burtenshaw, the occuption given (presumably for Jane) was widow. David Burtenshaw had been buried at Bolney on the 4th July 1877.

It was such a sad story, albeit on the edge of my family tree, but well worth the time invested.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Impromptu visit to the West Sussex Record Office

8 May

Today I made an impromptu visit to the West Sussex Record Office. I had nothing else planned for today, the weather forecast was not too good so I had decided not to go walking, so last night I printed off my to-do list ready for a visit.

West Sussex Record Office

My to-do list has been growing rapidly as I go through my digital files, and although I hadn’t planned on doing any more research until I had got most of my digital files sorted out, I felt it would be beneficial to get to an archive and do a bit of proper research, if not for my research then at least for my sanity.

The record office closes for lunch on a Saturday, so it split the day quite nicely. In the morning I worked on parish registers and in the afternoon I worked on wills.

The morning went quite well. I was able to pick up several baptisms and burials that I was after from Slaugham, Sussex (mainly GASSONs) and several others dotted around the county that I needed, including the baptism of my mother, but curiously not those of her younger brothers.

The afternoon wasn’t too bad, but I continue to be disappointed by the number of my ancestors that didn’t leave wills. I did however have some luck with my direct PIERCY ancestors. I found wills for both George PIERCY (my 6x great-grandfather) and Thomas PIERCY (my 7x great-grandfather).

Although I wasn’t really prepared for a visit, with my growing to-do list it wasn’t likely that I would come away empty handed, but I was pleasantly surprised at how successful my visit was.

I really need to spend some time with the Framfield burial registers

10 Dec

It looks like I have very strong roots in the parish of Framfield, Sussex. This is very pleasing because not only does it seem a nice place and it is quite easy for me to visit, but also it is quite easy for me to access the records for the parish.

The original registers are held at the East Sussex Record Office (ESRO) in Lewes, East Sussex, but I already have easy access to indexes of the baptisms and marriages for the parish, thanks to the hard work of the Sussex Family History Group.

The one area I am lacking is burial records. I really need to pay the ESRO a visit and spend some serious time with the parish registers. I know it is not going to be a quick exercise, although I think the ESRO already have an unpublished index/transcription for some of the registers.

There must be hundreds of relations buried at Framfield, for which I have only found a few gravestones from my visit earlier in the year. I can see I am going to have to spend several hours in front of a microfilm reader extracting records in the new year.

The TARGETT/HILTON story – Part Three: Where next?

4 Oct

Really this is no longer TARGETT/HILTON story, but just HILTON or SAUNDERS/HILTON story because the TARGETT side of the equation seems quite normal.

If truth I am unlikely to find out any more about the relationship between William TARGETT and Ruth HILTON before their marriage, although there may be something in the parish records that suggests that William was urged (or forced) to take responsibility for his actions and do the decent thing and marry Ruth.

I still need to find William and his parents in the census, prior to his marriage and unless they happen to have been living next door to Ruth HILTON there is probably nothing else that will provide a connection between the two.

The HILTON side is more interesting, and more of a challenge. Having no ages or parents names for Ruth HILTON’s parents is going to make things awkward, but there are still other places to look for clues.

I don’t expect to find a marriage for Ruth’s parents, at least not to each other. There is of course the chance that one or other of them died around the time of Ruth’s birth, which is why they never married, so I need to check for burials and in the GRO Death Index.

I would hope to find some mention of Ruth and her mother Eliza in the parish records for Duncton, Sussex. It seems likely that Duncton parish would have had to support Eliza if she or Ruth’s father were unable to provide for the child. So I need to check to see if there are any overseers records amongst the papers for Duncton parish.

My best bet however it to try and find Ruth in the 1841 and 1851 census. Hopefully she will be living with either one of the parents, or perhaps grandparents. In an ideal world Ruth would have been living with her mother in one census and her father in the other, but the chances of that seem very slim.

If that doesn’t provide me with enough clues, then I need to try and find Richard SAUNDERS and Eliza HILTON in the 1841 and 1851 Census. If Ruth is not with them then it is not going to be possible to say for certain they are the right people. Fortunately the names are not particularly common so it might be possible to produce a small list of likely suspects and narrow them down one by one.

This is going to take some carefully research, but I am confident that it will be possible to take both of these lines back further. I would be interested to see if there is a history of naughty young girls in the HILTON family, or whether there was some respectability amongst the earlier generations.

The TARGETT/HILTON story – Part Two: The baptism of Ruth HILTON

2 Oct

I have already mentioned that the other record I wanted to look up at Worthing Library was the baptism record for Ruth HILTON. I had found a very likely entry on the International Genealogical Index (IGI) and wanted to confirm all the details and fill in the missing data.

There was something curious about the entry on the IGI, the baptism date was given as 1837, just 1837, no day or month. I felt that it was probably a transcription error, but couldn’t understand quite how such a glaring error could have slipped through.

Ruth was baptised in the parish of Duncton, Sussex which ties in with one of the census entries I have found so far. When I loaded the microfiche I soon found that the entry on the IGI was correct, only the year had been entered in the date section.

Worse still, but not for me fortunately, the next baptism had no date at all. It looks like Ruth only got the year because she was at the top of a new page. The previous entry was from the 12th March 1837 and the one after the one with no date was from the 6th August 1837.

I would not be surprised if a date was missing from one of the early general registers, but after 1813 there was a printed page to fill in with all the relevant information, so it should have been obvious at the time that something was missing.

Apart from that the baptism record was quite normal, normal that is for someone who was illigitimate. Underneath the name Ruth was the word illigit and only Ruth’s mother’s name was given, Eliza HILTON. The occupation was entered as labourer, and I am guessing this refers to the father’s occupation not Eliza’s.

So using both the baptism and the marriage record I have both parents names, but that is all I have, no clue as to how old they were, whether they were ever married or remained single or where they came from.

The TARGETT/HILTON story – Part One: The marriage of William TARGETT and Ruth HILTON

1 Oct

I wrote the other day about William TARGETT and Ruth HILTON, the age difference between them and the closeness of their marriage to the baptism of their only daughter Caroline (or Emily Caroline). I felt there was an interesting story here waiting to be investigated, and in any case I needed to do more work to establish who their parents were (my 4x great grandparents).

The two parish records I checked at Worthing Library on Tuesday certainly shed more light on the situation, or rather added more fuel to the fire. Both records were on the International Genealogical Index at familysearch.org, but neither entry gave the full details that I needed.

First up was the marriage of William and Ruth in the parish of Heyshott, Sussex on the 27th September 1856. The first piece of new evidence was their ages; William was 37 years old and Ruth was only 19. So the census had been pretty accurate and my calculations were right, William was nearly twenty years older than Ruth.

I was not surprised to find that William was a bachelor and Ruth a spinster. William’s occupation was given as labourer, so again there was nothing unusual there.

It was the father’s details for the couple that proved the most interesting. William’s father was also William, and his occupation was also labourer. This pretty much confirmed what I had already suspected, William was the son of William and Charlotte TARGETT.

Ruth’s father’s details were in one respect what I had expected in that his surname wasn’t HILTON but SAUNDERS. Ruth HILTON’s father was Richard SAUNDERS and he was also a labourer. I had my suspicions that Ruth might be illegitimate when I found a baptism record that seemed to fit and it only gave a mother’s name. To be honest I had half expected to find her father’s name and occupation left blank in the register.

So although this is not an ideal situation for me. I have very little to work on to link Ruth’s mother and father together, but it could be worse, at least I have a father’s name to work with. The possible baptism for Ruth was the other record I wanted to check down at Worthing, to see if that might provide further clues.

Another birth certificate arrives, but doesn’t really help

18 Sep

Great excitement usually accompanies the arrival of certificate from the GRO (well at least for me anyway) and today was no exception. The envelope contained the birth certificate for William GEERING my 2x great grandfather.

William was born in Lewes, Sussex in 1868 that much I knew already, more precisely it was on the 24th August 1868 in Sun Street, Lewes. Sun Street is an address I hadn’t come across before in my research, but apart from the exact date and place the reason I wanted this certificate was to find out his mother’s name/maiden name.

I had previously been unable to locate a marriage in the GRO Indexes for William’s parents, and with a name like GEERING it should have been easy. I hoped that having his mother’s maiden name would help in the search, but so far it hasn’t.

In the space for the mother’s name it says Ellen Geering formerly Nicholls. I am pretty certain it says NICHOLLS, it would take quite a stretch of the imagination to make it anything else. So this implies that William’s father (also William) had married Ellen NICHOLLS, but still no entry in the marriage index is forthcoming.

I switched to the census, perhaps I could find Ellen NICHOLLS in the 1861 census (her future husband was unmarried in 1861) but nothing obvious stands out. There is one possible hit in 1851, but that is not really in the right area.

I tried the GRO Birth Index, and again no Ellen NICHOLLS in the right place or time frame, this really is starting to look very mysterious. The 1871, 1881 and 1891 census all give her place of birth as Chiddingstone, Kent and her age is pretty consistent, giving her year of birth around 1848.

So what has gone wrong here? Why is Ellen causing me such a problem? At least I have a maiden name now, but it is a maiden name that I don’t feel I can trust, at least not until I see it in writing somewhere else.

So what next? I need to widen all my searches on both the census and the GRO Indexes, in case one of the pieces of information is wrong and try some different census indexes. I need to visit the East Sussex Record Office and search the parish registers for a marriage entry (maybe it missed the GRO Indexes) and also for any sign of banns for the husband because I am sure he would have been in Lewes.

Such a disappointment to not have all the pieces fit into place, this looks like it could be a major obstacle to finding all my 4x great grandparents. Then again I wouldn’t want things too easy, would I?

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