Tag Archives: surrey

My to-do list goes out the window

5 Jan

Well it hasn’t quite yet, but I did get rather distracted yesterday and almost completely forgot about what I was supposed to be doing. It was inevitable that something more interesting would come up, and it did.

I decided to make a late Christmas present to myself of a six month subscription to the 1911 census on findmypast.co.uk. I knew I had plenty of relations (and a few ancestors) to find, but wasn’t really expecting to find anything out of the ordinary.

A couple of interesting things turned up which I wasn’t expecting, like the fact that Thomas DRIVER my 2x great-grandfather re-married after the death of his first wife. His first wife Ellen VINALL died in 1899 and he married Harriett DEACON in 1908, something that I probably wouldn’t have found out otherwise.

The biggest surprise of all was the re-appearance of my 3x great-aunt Mary TROWER. She is the only one of the thirteen children of Henry and Jane TROWER (my 3x great-grandparents) of Henfield, Sussex, who I had not been able to “kill off”.

She had fallen of the radar after the 1881 census, where she had been working as a nurse at Colney Hatch Lunatic Asylum. I had no idea what she did after that, did she marry? Did she have any children? Did she leave the country? When did she die?

Now I know a bit more. She turned up in 1911 at her brother-in-law and sister’s (James and Martha SUMMERFIELD) house in Newdigate, Surrey. She was a widow and her married name was MARX (once again I am blessed with an uncommon surname).

It didn’t take long to find her marriage in 1884 to Emanuel MARX. According to the 1891 census he was a commercial traveller from Rotterdam in the Netherlands. Emanuel died at the end of 1891, and by the 1901 census Mary is on her own down at Brighton, Sussex. Everything suggests there weren’t any children.

As the couple were married in Pancras Registration District I expected to find them in the London Parish Registers at Ancestry.co.uk, but they are nowhere to be found. I suspect this means it wasn’t a Church of England marriage, the easiest way to find out will be to order a copy of the marriage certificate.

So at last I know when Mary died as well. Her death was registered in Reigate Registration District in Q3 1918, but I am not sure if she would still have been with the SUMMERFIELD family at the time. It would be interesting to get her death certificate to see where exactly she was and perhaps locate her place of burial.

I am glad I bought that subscription to the 1911 census, it has answered a long standing question, which I had actually forgotten about, so it was well worth the money on that count alone.

2010 to do list – some actual research goals

31 Dec

Between now and the new year I will be writing about some of the things I want to achieve with my family history in 2010.

So far most of what I have written is about the actual research process and organisation of my family history information, so now it is time to look at some of the people and stories I want to actually find out more about in 2010.

John GASSON – I already know quite a bit about John GASSON my 5x great-grandfather, but there are still a lot of pieces to put together, including sorting out his will and his three wives. Ideally I would also like to find his baptism (around 1715 in Surrey) and identify his parents. Ultimately I want to pursue the GASSON surname as far back as possible to find out where it comes from.

Mercy TROWER – I wrote about my 3x great-aunt before, but haven’t really done any more about finding the missing marriages. Even though see is not a direct ancestor I think it is time I got this troublesome character sorted out once and for all. I going to have to hand over some money for a death certificate and a copy of her will. The death certificate will hopefully give me her deceased husband’s name and that will give me further clues.

William Joseph Henry BATEMAN – This is my 2x great-uncle, who joined the navy and ended up in Australia, getting married and starting a family. I would really like to find out more about him and his family, and hopefully trace some distant cousins down under.

The ALLCORN and EADE families – These two families left Brighton, Sussex for America in the mid to late 1800s, Mary EADE and Hope ALLCORN were sisters, both the daughters of William and Mary TROWER of Henfield, Sussex. Whilst it would be nice to trace some relations in the US, what really interests me is why and how they left England and why did they settle where they did, Pennsylvania and Connecticut.

Thomas KINGHORN – My 3x great-grandfather, the tailor from London (although born in Scotland). I still want to piece together more of his life, especially find out where he is buried (I suspect Brookwood Cemetery, Surrey) and what happened to all his children, and why did the family seem so attracted to Brighton.

Thomas KINGHORN – My 4x great-grandfather, the mail coach guard from Carlisle, Cumberland. There is so much I would like to find out about his life, but really I need to try and establish where he was born. I suspect he was originally from down south, probably London, and was only up north because of his job. Proving that is not going to be easy to say the least.

Wybrants KINGHORN – There is so much about this man that intrigues me, firstly his own crime and punishment, and then his subsequent murder. I have feeling that his life story would make a good book, if only I could find enough evidence.

Luther TROWER, Henrietta KING and Charles BRINTON – Talking of good stories, this story is rather tragic and quite complicated. I don’t think I have mentioned them before, only in passing perhaps. Luther TROWER was my 3x great-uncle. One of these was a bigamist, there were two marriages, one divorce, two suicides (although seemingly unrelated) and quite a bit of alcohol and blood. I have a few more pieces of evidence to try and gather, but I would like to get this story told, in one form or another.

Thomas NICHOLLS – Another of my 4x great-grandfathers, about whom I know very little. He appears to have come from Chiddingstone, Kent and died quite young. It looks like he was a navvy working on building the railway, and I have a gut feeling that he died as a result of an accident at work. I would love to be able to prove that, and also find out what happened to his widow and children.

It looks like I am going to have my plate full in 2010, what with this little lot, plus all the other families that I will no doubt end up chasing, and the 5x great-grandparents I want to find and all the re-organising I want to do.

I can guarantee that within a week or two of the new year I will have found something else that seems much more exciting will be heading off somewhere totally different, notebook in hand and camera at the ready.

Horsham is in Sussex not Surrey

4 Dec

One thing that really annoys me is when I find references to the town of Horsham being in the county of Surrey, it’s not, it is in Sussex. I should know I have spent most of my working life there, and it is the closest town to where I live.

I saw another example this week, the December 2009 issue of the Family Tree Magazine (the UK one) has an interesting article on sources available for researching postal ancestors. It includes a photo of postmen trying out a new type of cycle, known as the pentacycle or Hen and Chickens. The British Postal Museum and Archive (BPMA) have the same image in their Moving the Mail: Horses to Horsepower online exhibition.

The BPMA have got their facts right and have put Horsham in the correct county, but Family Tree Magazine has moved Horsham into the neighbouring county of Surrey. Family Tree Magazine are not alone, because I have seen many examples of Horsham, Surrey.

Out of curiosity I asked some of my work colleagues about the subject, they too had noticed it in the past, but were obviously not as concerned as I was.

I would love to find out where this all started, who first thought Horsham was in Surrey not Sussex. I suspect people might be confusing Horsham, Sussex with Hersham, Surrey. Although they are about thirty miles apart geographically, they are only one letter different in spelling.

Interestingly when I search on just birthplace in the 1901 English census on Ancestry.co.uk, it gives me 322 results for Horsham, Surrey compared to 11,159 for Horsham, Sussex. Hersham, Sussex comes up with 269 results and Hersham, Surrey comes up with 2,227. Clearly many of these are probably transcription errors, but it could still cause confusion if you are not sure which county you should be looking in for your ancestor’s birth, especially when the error is repeated elsewhere off the census.

Are there any place name confusions or mistakes that get you angry or annoyed? Have you come across any in your research? Let me know in the comments.

In praise of Horley Library

23 Nov

Last Tuesday I spent a very productive few hours in the public library at Horley, Surrey. Horley Library is not the first place I would think of going to for family history research or for anything else for that matter.

I normally pass through Horley on the train from Horsham to London and barely give it a second thought, but hidden amongst the shops in the town centre is a wonderful library, which has a fantastic local history centre tucked inside it.

I think a large part of this is due to the presence of a very active local history society in the town, the Horley Local History Society, which covers not only Horley, but the surrounding area as well.

The local history centre contains many local and family history reference books, as well as transcriptions and indexes for a variety of local records such as parish registers and monumental inscriptions. Many of these are as a result of the hard work of the members of the local history society.

Most of my time was spent on the microfiche reader, looking at parish registers for Horley, Burstow and Charlwood. It was really a case of checking the accuracy of information and getting the full details for records gathered from other indexes such as the Surrey Baptism Index and the International Genealogical Index.

This short trip to Horley has saved me from having to make a trip to the Surrey History Centre at Woking, which has saved me a few pounds, probably the equivalent of another birth, marriage or death certificate.

As it is so close, and as I seem to have several branches of my tree in the area, I am certain I will be visiting again before too long and making new discoveries that will push those branches of my tree back even further.

Susannah POCOCK: could these be her parents (option one)

18 Nov

Richard and Mary POCOCK of New Alresford, Hampshire

In the 1841 census there is a couple, Richard and Mary POCOCK, living in New Alresford, Hampshire. Richard was born around 1778 and Mary was born around 1783. Richard was from Hampshire, but Mary was born in Surrey. I have only been able to find one child for them, who was Laura Eliza baptised in New Alresford on the 18th November 1818.

Why these might be Susannah’s parents

Not only are these the only POCOCKs of the right age anywhere near Micheldever, but they were probably in New Alresford between 1818 and 1841. This puts them in the same parish that Susannah was married in at the same time as she was married, 1832.

Why these might not be Susannah’s parents

So far I have nothing else to connect Richard and Mary POCOCK with Susannah POCOCK, other than probably being in the right place at the right time. I have no idea where Richard and Mary were around the time of Susannah’s birth, and I don’t know where they were married, there was no entry for them in the Hampshire Genealogical Society Marriage Index.

What do I need to do next

If I could find a marriage for Richard and Mary then I might also find the baptism of Susannah, whether that would lead to a connection with Micheldever or not is another problem. I also need to find out what happened to Laura Eliza POCOCK, if she married who were the witnesses?

Update on the will of William HOLMAN

17 Nov

On Saturday morning, whilst sitting on the train on the way to Winchester, I transcribed the will of William HOLMAN, my 5x great-grandfather.

Most of it was quite straight forward, but in taking the time to go through the will word by word I did pick up on a couple of mistakes.

The National Archives had the will indexed as being the will of William HOLMAN, farmer of Burstow, Surrey. When I looked at the word farmer it didn’t seem right. In fact I am pretty certain that William wasn’t a farmer but a farrier.

The second mistake was mine, in my earlier post about William’s will I said that his nine sons and six daughters inherited one guinea each upon his death. However on reading the will again I discovered that they inherited the one guinea each after the death of William’s wife Elizabeth.

Both of these may seem quite minor points, but could make a big difference further down the road in my research.

William HOLMAN’s will

13 Nov

Last night I downloaded the will of William HOLMAN, farmer of Burstow, Surrey from The National Archives, via their DocumentsOnline service.

I am certain that this William HOLMAN is my 5x great-grandfather, and the will has laid to rest my fears about two William and Elizabeth HOLMANs in Burstow, Surrey around the same time, so it was well worth spending £3.50 of my money on.

Although the will only mentions one wife (Elizabeth), it does also mention bequests to nine sons and six daughters. It also mentions another son (Thomas), who stood to inherit everything after the death of Elizabeth. By my reckoning that gives me 16 children in all, so it looks like William was married twice, both times to a woman called Elizabeth. Panic over!

The nine boys were Joseph, William, John, Benjamin, Stephen, James, Anthony, Richard and Robert. The six girls were Elizabeth, Sarah, Mary, Judith, Peggey and Catherine (my 4x great-grandmother). All of them were left the sum of one guinea each. These names don’t all tie-up exactly with the baptisms I have, but the majority do, so I am convinced this is the right family.

I need to take some time now and sit down and transcribe the complete will, I find it takes quite a bit of time to get used to the handwriting, but once I get back into the right frame of mind it is usually quite easy.

Hopefully I can get to have a look at the Burstow parish registers soon, and check for the burial of the first Elizabeth and William himself, the will was dated the 11th September 1807 and proved in London on the 4th March 1808, that should help me find his burial.

All in all this is looking like quite a happy ending to a worrying scenario that was forming in my mind about my HOLMAN ancestors, but I needn’t have worried. Why do I always suspect the worst of my ancestors and assume they were trying to give me a headache?

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