Tag Archives: patrick vaughan

The hunt for Patrick Vaughan’s service record resumes

14 Feb

My attention had now turned once again to Patrick Vaughan, the second husband of my 2x great-aunt Kate Vaughan, and trying to find his First World War service record.

I had discovered that Patrick was a Canadian and an attestation record on the Library and Archives Canada website proved to be a good match, but I wasn’t 100% certain that this was my man. If I was going to order a copy of his full service record then I needed to be absolutely certain that I had the correct Patrick Vaughan.

My first attempts to find out more about Patrick were largely unsuccessful, I didn’t really know where I should be looking. There were a couple of interesting possibilities hidden behind pay-walls, but by and large nothing that seemed a good match, until I stumbled across a headstone for a Patrick Vaughan on Find A Grave.

This headstone was in Taber Cemetery, and Kate and her family had been heading for Taber when they landed in Canada, this seemed a good match. Furthermore, this was a military headstone, presumably erected by the local branch of the Royal Canadian Legion, and it gave a the same regimental number as the attestation record.

This looked like the missing link I needed to confirm that the attestation record was for my Patrick Vaughan, but still I wasn’t certain. If only there had been some mention of Kate on the headstone, but it only had a date of death (2nd September 1934). I was still left pondering whether I had enough evidence to order the service record.

Then came my eureka moment. I was soaking in the bath, but my brain was still in Canada, trying to justify the cost of the service record. Then it occurred to me, I had the perfect way of confirming if I had the right man. Patrick had signed his attestation form and of course he would have signed the marriage register.

If I could match those two signatures I could safely order the service record in the knowledge that this was my man. It was so simple and so obvious, I didn’t leap straight  out of the bath, but when I did get out I made a note to check the original marriage register when I next go to the East Sussex Record Office (the copy of the marriage certificate I have doesn’t have the actual signatures of the bride and groom).

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Taking my first steps in Canada

13 Feb

Kate Vaughan (my 2x great-aunt) and four of her children sailed to Canada on the 19th September 1919, leaving behind her daughter Minnie to be looked after by my great-grandmother.

Presumably her new (and second) husband Patrick Vaughan had already returned home after serving with the Canadian Expeditionary Force during the First World War.

I wanted to find out more about Patrick and what became of the family once the had settled in Canada. Given that Kate took four children to Canada it seemed quite likely that I would have some cousins out in Canada (even if she didn’t have any more children with Patrick) that might be able to tell me more about the family.

The problem was that I know almost nothing about family history research in Canada and I knew very little about what became of the family after they arrived.

The passenger list had told me that they were bound for Tabor (or Taber) in Alberta but of course there was no guarantee that they actually ended up there. Of course I also knew that Patrick had been a soldier, and hopefully there would be a record of his service that would give me some more clues.

A good start was finding that Library and Archives Canada have digitised attestation records from the First World War and they are available to search on their website. There is really only one likely record for Patrick Vaughan which provides a few interesting details, but of course it doesn’t mention Kate, his next of kin was his sister Elizabeth.

Although it describes him as a widower, which matches his marriage certificate, the age given is about three years out. Interestingly it states that Patrick was born in Ireland, where his sister still lived.

Unfortunately Patrick’s full service record has not been digitised yet. I could wait patiently for it to be done or I could send the LAC some money to get them to digitise it. I never like parting with my money unless I am 100% certain, and there is just not enough information yet for me to be 100% certain, that this is the right man.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Revisiting the outgoing passenger lists in search of Kate

11 Feb

Having failed to find a record of my 2x great-aunt Kate Vaughan leaving England for Canada, I turned my attention to the other end of the journey and found a passenger list on Ancestry that showed Kate and four of her children arriving in Halifax, Nova Scotia on the 27th September 1919 aboard the White Star liner R.M.S. Baltic.

Armed with this information and the fact that they had sailed from Liverpool, I knew I ought to now be able to find a record of Kate and her family leaving England in the outgoing passenger lists on Findmypast.

Knowing the name of the ship made it pretty easy to narrow down the search, searching by ship name brought up a list of ships and selecting Baltic then brought up a list of years, clicking on 1919 brought up a list of sailings for that year. In the list was a departure on the 19th September 1919, the same date that had been recorded on the remaining fragment of the Driver family bible.

The bible had been correct all along, if only I had been able to search on that exact date I could have saved myself a lot of searching. I wasn’t quite out of the woods yet though, I still had to find Kate and her children in the passenger list, but at least now I only had 47 pages to go through.

I clicked through page after page, scanning the list of names for something that looked like the surname Vaughan. I hadn’t been able to find Kate in a person search, so I was looking for something that might have been mis-transcribed.

I wasn’t until I neared the end of the list that I realised I was getting closer and more pieces of the story began to fit together. The last few pages included the hand-written words across the top “Canadian military dependants forwarded by Can. Govt.” This made perfect sense and confirmed my suspicions, Kate’s husband Patrick Vaughan had been a Canadian soldier and the family were now travelling to Canada to join him.

Sure enough there was Kate, or at least it had to be Kate, the handwriting was not clear and the surname was spelt wrong, but it looked like Vaghan P Mrs. Disappointingly it didn’t list each child, but only gave the number of adults and children in the party, three adults (Kate and her two eldest children) and two children.

Although the passenger list didn’t give me any further information I had at last confirmed when Kate left England and that I needed to be looking in the Canadian archives for a record of Patrick Vaughan’s army service and to find out what became of Kate and her family after they settled in Canada.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Kate went to Canada, so why can’t I find her?

6 Feb

The tattered remains of the Driver family bible gave me the clue that I needed as to what became of my 2x great-aunt Kate Vaughan and her family. It claimed that she went to Canada on the 19th September 1919.

Whilst the words scribbled on the front page of a bible were a good clue, they need to be verified and also I needed to confirm who else went with Kate to Canada.

It seemed likely that her daughter Minnie Allison had not gone and thus ended up being adopted by my great-grandmother, but had Kate’s other children also emigrated with their mother? Hopefully finding the passenger list for that journey would provide some answers.

Findmypast.co.uk has outgoing passenger lists covering the period 1890 to 1960, so in theory it should have been relatively easy to find at least Kate among the lists, but of course it wasn’t.

Despite trying all the combinations I could think of I couldn’t find Kate. I knew I couldn’t rely on her giving the correct age, so keep that aspect of the search pretty open, but there were plenty of different names she could be travelling under. I assumed she was travelling under the name Vaughan, but when she didn’t turn up under that name I wondered whether she might have been using the name Allison or Driver.

Whichever name I used I couldn’t find Kate, or for that matter her husband Patrick or any of her five children. Unfortunately there was not an option to search by a departure date, only the year of departure otherwise that would have saved me some time.

I began to wonder if the information in the bible could be relied upon had the writer got the correct year and what if it wasn’t Canada she went to, but completely the opposite side of the world? Perhaps it was a different Kate? So far I had found the bible to accurate, so I felt I shouldn’t give up on it just yet.

I remembered the title of a podcast from The National Archives I had listened to a couple of years ago Every journey has two ends. If I couldn’t find Kate leaving England then perhaps I would have more  success finding her arriving in Canada.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Yet another lesson learnt the hard way

5 Feb

Having come to the conclusion that Patrick Vaughan (the second husband of my 2x great-aunt Kate Allison) was not English, due to a lack of any trace of him in the British Army WW1 Records or any civilian records, I had no option but to move on and hope that something else would turn up that might give me a clue as to where he had come from.

Had the newly married couple had any children? When and where did Kate’s children get married? When and where did Kate and Patrick die? All questions which should have been easily answered by the GRO BMD Indexes.

Apart from Minnie Gladys Allison, whom had started this research off, I could find no trace of any of the Allison family or Kate and Patrick Vaughan in the indexes, or any combination of the names.

It was then I remembered a rather tatty piece of paper in my possession, a couple of pages from a family bible that gave a few details about the Driver family. I wrote about this piece of paper before, but had largely neglected to follow-up the information written on it. One piece of information on there suddenly took on new significance.

Suddenly it all made sense, this was why I couldn’t find any trace of the family in England, she had gone to Canada, presumably with her new husband and children. Once again I had found the information I was looking for right under my nose.

Last year when I wrote about the tattered remains of this family bible I had even commented on the fact that Kate and her brother Asher had gone to Canada, but had never followed up on the information.

It wasn’t as if I actually needed to do the research at the time and find them in passenger lists, just putting a note in my database that would have reminded me that the bible said she had gone to Canada could have saved me many hours of fruitless searching when the time came.

Yet another lesson learnt the hard way, but at least I was back on the trail of Kate, Patrick and family.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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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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