Tag Archives: trower

My top-ten surnames revisited

4 May

Fifteen months ago I produced a list of the top-ten surnames in my family tree, for fun really more than anything, however it did highlight an imbalance in the names in my family tree.

I thought it was about time I had another look at the most common surnames in my family tree, so I fired up my copy of Family Historian and Microsoft Excel and produced an updated list (the number of individuals with the surname is shown in brackets):

  1. TROWER (139)
  2. GASSON (123)
  3. MITCHELL (94)
  4. HEMSLEY (75)
  5. BOXALL (53)
  6. KINGHORN (49)
  7. FAIRS (45)
  8. GEERING (39)
  9. HAYBITTLE (36)
  10. WREN (31)

This is much “better” than last time, the top four names are the surnames of my grandparents. The HEMSLEY surname was way down at number ten last time, so it is good to see that I have done enough work to push it higher up the “chart”.

The HAYBITTLE and WREN surnames are both new entries. I remember doing some work on the HAYBITTLEs, but I don’t remember doing much work on the WRENs but I suppose I must have done.

Copyright © 2011 John Gasson.

Creative Commons Licence

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Floundering in the Civil War Pension Index

11 Apr

The Civil War Pension Index on Ancestry.com is the last place I would have expected to find myself this evening, but I have been hearing a lot about the American Civil War recently and thought I ought to at least show an interest.

There are two families in my family tree (the ALLCORNs and the EADEs) who emigrated to America, they are connected to me by way of the TROWERs of Henfield, Sussex. I have never really bothered to follow them over to the United States apart from a bit of census searching.

In the Civil War Pension Index I found an entry for Charles T ALLCORN and I have a Charles Trower ALLCORN in my family tree. The quality of the image is pretty atrocious and I can’t really make out much of the record but it looks like the pension claim was filed on the 27th August 1891 in Connecticut. Connecticut is the state where the ALLCORNs appear to have settled.

Charles Trower ALLCORN was born in Brighton, Sussex, England in 1854 and his family seem to have arrived in the US in 1866, which based on my limited research into the Civil War seems to rule him out of serving during the Civil War.

Interestingly the 1880 census possibly shows him as a soldier, it might not be him as there is not enough detail to be certain, but it seems quite a good match. This makes me wonder if the Civil War Pension Index is not just limited to Civil War soldiers? The truth is that I don’t really have a clue, could this native of Sussex really be in the Civil War Pension Index? Do I have time to look into this further?

Another day, another archive

11 Feb

I had another day off today and the weather was miserable again, so I headed for the East Sussex Record Office in Lewes, East Sussex to knock some more items off my to-do list.

The plan was much the same as yesterday at the West Sussex Record Office, which essentially meant there was no plan, just collect as much data as possible, and if it cleared stuff from my to-do list then even better. Like yesterday there weren’t really any major discoveries, but I was pleased to find a few entries that have been (or should have been) on my to-do list for a long time.

These included baptism records for my grandmother and great-grandmother. I had never got around to looking for either record before, I had a pretty good idea where the first record would be and had already found an index entry for the second and just need to double-check it.

The most pleasing find however was the baptism record for William Joseph Henry BATEMAN. I have written much about William (who joined the Royal Navy and ended up making his home in Australia) but had never sat down before and searched for his baptism record, even though I had a pretty good idea where I should be looking.

The most surprising find was the baptism record for George TROWER in Brighton. Even though he is not a particularly close relation (first cousin three times removed) I had searched for his baptism for several years. His parents were from Henfield, Sussex but spent a few years in Brighton before returning to the family farm in Henfield. It was really pleasing to find his baptism today because I had not been deliberately looking for it.

It shouldn’t take me long to sort through this information (and that collected yesterday) and enter it in the right spreadsheet and database, but these two days have highlighted the fact that I need to get my to-do list a little better organised. Over the last two days I have largely been working with my netbook (for the to-do list and my family tree) and a lined A4 refill pad, this worked pretty well but my to-do list is get too large and in some cases it doesn’t have enough information, perhaps it is time to upgrade from my simple text file.

Personal Genealogy Update: Week 48

28 Nov

I hadn’t expected last week to be quite rewarding. I have decided to concentrate most my efforts of some housekeeping of my family history, and it has proved to be rewarding and enjoyable.

It is also taking quite a long time. So far I have been through the first eight individuals (in numerical order) in my database and updated as much as I could, some of the information I updated related to other individuals, but the core of the work was on those eight people. At that rate it will be nearly four years before I have revisited every individual in my database, so I may have re-think the strategy, and that doesn’t take into account that these individuals were pretty well documented already and that I have added a load more stuff to my to-do list in the process.

I do think it is worthwhile however, it has spotlighted lots of work I still need to do and thrown up lots of interesting questions such as when did someone move, or what was the relationship of the witnesses at their wedding. It has certainly guaranteed that I am never going to be short of things to do, my to-do list grew by over twenty items during the week, even though I know some of those items are unlikely to be cleared for years to come.

It has also forced me to make some decisions on how I record things in my database. I use Family Historian and it is just too flexible for someone like me who can’t decide where things should be recorded and how I want things to show up on the many different reports.

There was really only one major discovery, the whereabouts of my 2x great-aunt Ethel Mary TROWER in the 1911 census had eluded me until this week. I guess I hadn’t spent a lot of time searching until now because I was surprised how easy it was to find her in the end. She turned up in Henfield, Sussex working as a domestic servant at a house called Terrys Cross (which is now a retirement home). I have passed it many times on the bus and it is nice to know there is a family connection with it.

It hasn’t been all about housekeeping this week. I did order the death certificate for Margaret KINGHORN (who I wrote about last Monday) last weekend, which arrived at the end of the week and has provided a few more hard facts about her life. I still need to do more work on my Carlisle relations and pull together as many more hard facts as I can before I think about paying their archives a visit next year.

This week will be much of the same, I probably need to try and speed up a little (or a lot) but it is really proving to be very worthwhile. The other advantage is that I can do it pretty much anywhere with my netbook, whether I am waiting at the station, sitting on the train or whilst on my lunch break, and a lot of the time I don’t even need an internet connection.

Ancestral Profile: Annie FAIRS (1864-1952)

1 Nov

Annie FAIRS was my 2x great-grandmother, she was born towards the end of 1864 (I don’t have the exact date) and was baptised at St. Peter’s Church, Henfield, Sussex on the 8th January 1865. She was the second of six children (all daughters) born to John FAIRS and his wife Mary Ann (née WELLER), sadly only four of the girls survived to adulthood.

It is likely that Annie was born at either Betley or Little Betley in Henfield, in the 1861 census her parents (unmarried at the time) living at Betley, by the 1871 census they are married and living at Little Betley, a couple of fields away from Betley. In 1871 Annie was six years old living with her parents and her four sisters. Both Betley and Little Betley are pretty remote locations, about midway between the villages Henfield and Partridge Green but about a mile and a half from either of them, and prone to flooding from the nearby River Adur.

In the 1881 census Annie is to be found in Chichester, Sussex living in North Pallant in the centre of the city. She was employed as a housemaid in the household of the Rev. Josiah Sanders TEULON and his wife Fanny Elizabeth. At first glance this seems an odd place to find the sixteen year old girl, but once you realise that Fanny was also from Henfield and was the daughter of Charles DUNLOP the Vicar of Henfield it doesn’t seem quite so unusual.

Annie returned to Henfield sometime before September 1889, because she was married to Ebenezer TROWER on the 30th September 1889 at St. Peter’s Church, Henfield. Annie was 24 years old and her husband was 23, the two witnesses at the marriage were her father John and her older sister Fanny.

Together Ebenezer and Annie had six children, the first two were born (and baptised) in Henfield and the remaining four were born (and baptised) in Sayers Common, Sussex. The first two were also probably born at Little Betley, because in 1891 the couple and their two children are still living at Little Betley, along with her widowed father.

The move to Sayers Common took place sometime around 1892 and once again there seems to have been a connection with the DUNLOP family. Another member of the DUNLOP family from Henfield was vicar at Sayers Common and Ebenezer bought their home (Vicarage Cottage) from Mrs. DUNLOP for the sum of £350 in May 1927.

Annie and Ebenezer’s six children were as follows:

  1. Ethel Mary TROWER (1889-1962)
  2. Henry John TROWER (1891-1963) [my great-grandfather]
  3. Mabel Annie TROWER (1893-1928)
  4. Ernest Arthur TROWER (1895-1917)
  5. Percy Ebenezer TROWER (1898-1968)
  6. Edith Ellen TROWER (1903-1965)

In the 1901 census the family (with the exception of Ethel Mary) are living at Cobbs Mill Cottage. By 1911 they are living at Vicarage Cottage and Mabel Annie has also left home. It is not clear whether Cobbs Mill Cottage was an earlier name for Vicarage Cottage or a different building altogether. Either way the proximity to Cobbs Mill lead to at least two of the sons finding work at the mill (Henry John and Percy Ebenezer).

The two youngest sons served during the First World War. Ernest Arthur was killed in action in 1917 and Percy Ebenezer received gun-shot wounds, but survived. Their eldest son Henry John seemingly escaped military service due to the death of his wife in 1916.

As is quite typical with much of my research there now exists a large gap where very little is known about the life of Annie. I have already mentioned that her husband bought their house in 1927 and in April 1928 their daughter Mabel Annie died. Apart from that very little is known about the last three decades or so of Annie’s life. I don’t know whether she was involved in any of the village’s social activities or whether she worked after her children had grown up.

Annie died four years before her husband on the 20th February 1952, aged 87, of cardiac failure and was buried in the churchyard at Christ Church, Sayers Common on the 23rd February. The grave is located in the north-western corner of the churchyard and is next to the grave of her daughter Mabel Annie TROWER. Nearby is the grave of Ruth TROWER (her sister-in-law) and that of Dorothy May TROWER (her daughter-in-law). Her husband Ebenezer died on the 6th June 1956 and was buried in the same grave.

Treasures from the attic: Certificate of Merit Awarded to Dorothy TROWER

5 Oct

This is one of the treasures I discovered in my parent’s attic last weekend, it is a Certificate of Merit awarded to my grandmother Dorothy TROWER for “Good Conduct and Regular Attendance at Hurstpierpoint Sunday School”.

Certificate of Merit Awarded to Dorothy TROWER

Unfortunately the certificate, which is printed on card, has been badly damaged by being folded at some time, and the handwriting is beginning to fade, so it is not easy to read the date in the bottom left which is Advent 1924. The actual size of the certificate is 10 inches by 8 inches.

In 1924 Dorothy Annie TROWER would have been aged 12 years old and was probably living at 5 Hazeldene Terrace in Hurstpierpoint, Sussex with her younger sister Eleanor May and their father (Henry John TROWER). Their mother had died eight years earlier in 1916, and their father had not yet remarried.

It is amazing what you can find with Google Street View

27 Sep

I was lying in bed yesterday morning reading the latest edition of Picture Postcard Monthly pondering their Picture Postcard Puzzles section, which features postcards with views whose location is unknown. I was thinking that it must be a lot easier to identify postcards now with the advent of Google Street View.

It was then that I cast my mind back to one family postcard in particular (shown below) which has been a bit of a mystery. The postcard shows a woman standing outside a quite distinctive small building. The quality of the postcard is not good enough to see any facial features, but I felt that if I could identify the building that would be a good start.

The Lodge, Ord House, Ord, Northumberland

Although this came from the TROWER side of my family tree the location didn’t look like anywhere in Sussex, certainly not one of the two main TROWER homes of Henfield or Sayers Common.

It is not clear what the building is, it looks a bit like a chapel perhaps, or some sort of community building like a village hall. It seems to be a little small for a house, but it is not easy to see how far back the building goes. One important feature is the material that the building is made of, it is almost certainly stone, rather than the more traditional Sussex building materials of flint or brick.

As I lay in bed pondering the image it struck me that there was one branch that I hadn’t previously considered, not actually a TROWER family but the family of Fanny FAIRS the sister of my 2x great-grandmother Annie TROWER (née FAIRS). She married Thomas Arthur BARRY in Henfield, Sussex in November 1894, but they lived in Northumberland at The Lodge, Ord House, Ord (Thomas was a coachman, presumably for whoever was living at Ord House).

I didn’t actually leap out of bed, but when I fired up my computer later in the morning I headed to Google Maps and searched for Ord House. Once the little orange Street View man hit the street I was convinced that this was the right place, because there was a nice long stone wall and stone buildings all over the place.

It took a couple of minutes exploring to find the building, unfortunately the Google Street View car didn’t drive right past the building, but close enough for me positively identify it.

I had a quick check on old-maps.co.uk and this building was identified as “Lodge”, confirming that this was the house of Thomas and Fanny BARRY, and that the woman is probably my 3x great-aunt.

It is a great feeling when you can put a name to a photo or postcard (I can’t be definite about the person, but I can about the place) and a really great way to start a Sunday morning!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 118 other followers

%d bloggers like this: