Tag Archives: trower

My top-ten surnames updated (or not as the case may be)

31 Mar

On two previous occasions I have produced a list of the top-ten surnames in my family tree (in February 2010 and May 2011) and I decided it would be interesting to see if much had changed since the last time.

The results were quite interesting (for me at least) and illustrated just how little work I did on my family tree last year.

  1. TROWER (152)
  2. GASSON (133)
  3. MITCHELL (92)
  4. HEMSLEY (75)
  5. BOXALL (52)
  6. KINGHORN (49)
  7. FAIRS (45)
  8. GEERING (39)
  9. HAYBITTLE (36)
  10. WREN (31)

None of the positions have changed since last year and the actual number of entries had changed very little. Only the number of Trowers and Gassons have increased and somewhat worryingly the number of Mitchells and Boxalls had decreased.

I remember removing a family of Mitchells who I haven’t been able to link into my family tree yet, but I am not sure why I have lost a Boxall. I think it might have been the result of a merger.

I know it is not really about the numbers, but it would be nice to see them increasing a bit more.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Henfield, Sussex – parish register transcriptions released

19 Feb

Every once in a while it feels like a particular genealogical resource has been created just for my benefit, such is the case with one of the latest releases from The Parish Register Transcription Society.

I have been eagerly awaiting the latest parish register transcription CD since it was announced last year, because it covers the parish of Henfield, Sussex which has been home to my Trower ancestors for a couple of hundred years.

The transcriptions cover the following registers for the following years:

Baptisms 1596 – 1897
Banns 1653 – 1656, 1687 – 1698, 1756 – 1812 & 1823 – 1901
Marriages 1595 – 1894
Burials 1595 – 1900

Naturally I have consulted the Henfield parish registers dozens of time, usually on microfilm or microfiche at the West Sussex Record Office, but to have this transcript available at home is going to be a great boost to my research.

Although I have probably extracted every Trower in the registers, this transcription will become particularly handy when it comes to tracing descendants of my ancestors as a result of the marriages of the women of the family. Each new family surname requires another visit to the parish registers.

This collection of transcriptions is available to buy on CD through their website and others (I ordered my copy from the Sussex Family History Group) or it can be searched online through their pay-per-view Frontis website.

For those with Sussex ancestors the PRTS are currently working on the following parishes: Cuckfield, Pagham, Slinfold and Coldwaltham.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Finding Frank: who lived at 2 Oxford Place, Brighton, Sussex?

15 Nov

One of the few pieces of information I was able to gather about the Frank TROWER whose name is recorded on the Brighton War Memorial was that Frank was the brother of J TROWER of 2 Oxford Place, Brighton.

Apart from his age and date of death this is the only other piece of genealogical evidence that I have to try place Frank within my family tree, but frustratingly I have been unable to tie the address to any of the TROWER family.

Last Saturday I made a quick visit to Brighton History Centre and tried to get some more information on who was living at 2 Oxford Place. Every piece of evidence I looked at points to the residents being the BROWN family without a trace of TROWER anywhere.

I had previously found the BROWNs living at 2 Oxford Place in the 1911 census, with a widowed Jane as the head of the household living with daughter Annie and sons Percy and Albert Ernest.

The Brighton directories I checked covering the period just before the First World War through to the end of the First World War all gave Miss A Brown as living there, as did the 1918 Voters List. Not a TROWER in sight.

I know directories are notoriously inaccurate but the consistency across all the sources suggests that it was the BROWN family that were resident at 2 Oxford Place and not the TROWERs. I suspect that the evidence from the CWGC website is correct, J TROWER did live there, but only as a lodger and as such make it into any of the records.

There is a possibility the there was a family connection between the BROWNs and the TROWERs. Jane is almost certainly too old to be the sister of Frank, even if she had started out as a TROWER.

There are of course other records that might give an address for J TROWER regardless of whether he was a property owner or lodger. A marriage certificate or perhaps the birth or baptism record for a child should give a specific address. This would be costly and I wouldn’t know where to start, assuming that the J TROWER at 2 Oxford Place did in fact get married and have children.

Of course there could be an employment record somewhere. Perhaps he worked for the Post Office or the railway, or maybe a military service record somewhere that would have an address, but that really would be searching for a needle in a haystack, if not in a field full of haystacks.

Remembering Ernest Arthur TROWER (1895-1917)

11 Nov

Sunday July 24 [1927] Today was unveiled the Menin Memorial Gate at Ypres. ‘To those whose graves are unknown’ Unknown or rather graveless, those blown to fragments during these ghastly years as you my brother was. How well I remember your last words to me when I saw you for the last time. And how did you die? how can I ever know. Were you mercifully killed or were you wounded & died slowly. Died slowly in a strange country amongst strange people & knowing all the time that you would never see your loved ones again. Oh my poor brother what an ending to your life, hard for you, hard for us what hardship of mind & body must you not have endured in France & no doubt you often thought of the time when these years of anguish would end & that you could return to us again.

I recall again in memory all the days of our childhood, when we were boys & companions together. The only real companion I have had in my lonely life we had no secrets from each other. How straightforward & courageous you were too my dear Ern.

But never, never again can you & I meet. In memory only can I see you. Our days of boy-hood are long past now and you, my boy-hoods companion are dust in Flanders whilst I have gone much further in my journey & these days seem long, long ago now, but whilst life is in my body I can never forget you, even if I may have found someone who may be a dearer companion than ever you were.

These worlds were written by my 2x great-uncle Percy Ebenezer TROWER about his older brother Ernest Arthur TROWER who lost his life during the First World War. Whilst I have no memories of Ernest, only facts and pictures, I feel privileged to be able to honour the life and sacrifice of Ernest this Remembrance Day.

Copyright © 2011 John Gasson.
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Finding Frank: his death certificate

27 Oct

One of the key pieces of information missing from the limited information available about the F TROWER recorded on the Brighton War Memorial was how old he was when he died.

It was fairly obvious that in the absence of helpful genealogical information (other than the name and address of his brother) that finding out when he was born was going to be especially crucial if I was going to place him in my family tree.

The most obvious way of finding this out was to order a copy of his death certificate. Yes, you can get death certificates for men who died during the First World War, they are not that different from a normal death certificate and can be ordered from the GRO website in a similar manner and for the same cost.

They don’t tell you a great deal more than what is recorded on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website and in Soldiers Died in the Great War, but in my case Frank’s age was missing from both of these sources.

For Frank the following information was recorded, and as you can see there wasn’t really any new information other than his age:

Rgtl. or Army number: G/15980
Rank: Pte.
Name in Full (Surname First): TROWER Frank (13th Bn.)
Age: 36
Country of Birth: England
Date of Death: 19:6:1917
Place of Death: France
Cause of Death: Killed in action

So Frank was 36 years old when he died on the 19th June 1917, which in theory means that he was born between the 20th June 1880 (if he died on the day before his 37th birthday) and the 19th June 1881 (if he died on his 36th birthday) if my maths is correct. This fits quite nicely with the census information that I have which starts with a one year old Frank in 1881.

Unfortunately this doesn’t fits quite so well with the most likely Frank TROWER in the GRO Birth Indexes. The most promising match is a birth registered in Steyning Registration District (which included the parish of Hove) in Q4 1879. The next registration in the index is also in Steyning Registration District, but in Q2 1883 which is perhaps a little too late.

So although I have a good match with the census information, I don’t have a good match for his birth registration. I am not sure whether this is really a problem or not, we have to accept that things don’t always tie-up quite as neatly as we would like sometimes.

Copyright © 2011 John Gasson.
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