Tag Archives: robert cecil allison

More about Georgina Allison

29 Mar

I have previously written about the tragically short life of Georgina Allison, the illegitimate daughter of my 2x great-aunt Kate Allison, and I knew that there would be very little more to uncover about her brief life.

However, that didn’t stop me trying when I went to the East Sussex Record Office a couple of weeks ago. Baptism and burial records would probably be the only other records available and as the burial register is presumably still in the hands of the Vicar at High Hurstwood the only record left was the baptism register.

Fortunately there was an entry for Georgina in the baptism register, she was baptised on the 23 March 1916, just seven days before she died.

Interestingly she is named as Georgina Whitney. It is not clear whether the Whitney part was meant to be her surname (Georgina Whitney) or whether it was her middle name (Georgina Whitney Allison). Both her birth and death were registered under the name Georgina Allison.

Either way I think it is a pretty big clue to her father’s name and if I were a betting man I would put money on her father being George Whitney, but that is pure speculation because only her mother is named and her occupation given as laundress.

Just to make sure there could be no ambiguity, the vicar (Thomas Constable) has written the word “illegitimate” under her mother’s name where her father’s name should be.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Georgina Allison – a brief life

8 Mar

On a couple of occasions I mentioned that my 2x great-aunt Kate Allison had a sixth child whose life was tragically short.

At the time Georgina Allison was born her mother Kate was a widow, her first husband Robert Cecil Allison had died about sixteen months earlier in October 1914, and she didn’t marry her second husband Patrick Vaughan until December 1917.

I knew from the GRO indexes that Georgina had a short life, her birth and death being registered in the same quarter in 1916, but I felt I should get copies of the two certificates to fill in some details.

It was odd, but I felt the need to learn what happened to Georgina. There was the feeling that she needed to be remembered and that I was probably the only living person who knew of her brief existence.

At first glance she seems an insignificant part of my family tree, but I felt I had got to know this family so well over the weeks that I had been “Finding Minnie” that I felt I owed it to them not to just skip over her.

Georgina Allison was born on the 10th February 1916 at Quarry Cottages, Land End, High Hurstwood, Sussex. Her birth was registered by her mother Kate Allison (formerly Driver) on the 13th March 1916. The certificate makes no mention of her father or his occupation.

Sadly Georgina died on the 30th March 1916, at Lane End Cottage, High Hurstwood. The death was registered by her mother on the following day, again no mention was made of her father. The cause of death was recorded as premature birth and this was certified by George Lucas M.R.C.S. of Uckfield, Sussex.

Thus ended poor little Georgina’s short life. Aside from a burial record and a possible baptism record this is probably all I am ever likely to find out (it seems unlikely that there would have been a gravestone, but I will check when I next visit High Hurstwood).

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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