Tag Archives: uckfield

What happened next to Kate Allison?

30 Jan

With the widowed Kate Allison (who I could confidently call my 2x great-aunt) and presumably her five children back in Uckfield Registration District, it seemed only natural that she should turn to her family for help.

Maybe the Allison family were even living with my great-grandparents (Minnie and Henry Herbert Hemsley) in High Hurstwood, Sussex, but whether they were or not it makes perfect sense for my great-grandparents to help out and even “adopt” one of her daughters.

But maybe the picture I had built in my mind of the poor, helpless Kate, unable to look after her family wasn’t being fair, perhaps I shouldn’t be making that assumption. Sure it seemed like she had given up at least one of her children to be looked after by her sister and brother-in-law, but I still wasn’t sure whether that was the end of the story.

One other possibility was that after she had moved back to Sussex Kate herself had died and the children had been left orphans. I shouldn’t automatically assume that Kate simply couldn’t cope.

There was no sign in the GRO Indexes that Kate had died, not under the name of Kate Allison anyway, but what I did find was a marriage for Kate Allison in Q4 1917 in Uckfield Registration District. I knew I needed to get a copy of the marriage certificate to clear away any remaining doubts that I might have had about her identity.

The certificate that arrived showed that Kate Allison married Patrick Vaughan at High Hurstwood on the 25th December, the certificate said the year was 1918, but the marriage had been indexed in the last quarter of 1917. Hopefully that will turn out to be a clerical error, with the certificate having the wrong year, but filed in the correct year and quarter, but I still have to check that out.

The details for Kate were what I had expected, she was a 40-year-old widow living in High Hurstwood and her father was Thomas Driver, this time still alive and kicking despite what had been recorded at her first marriage.

Interestingly Patrick Vaughan was a widower, his age was given as 43 years old, he was living in what looked like Seaford (not many miles away on the Sussex coast) but the handwriting was a bit dodgy so I couldn’t be certain. His occupation was given as Soldier Sapper and his father was Thomas Vaughan a labourer. I wasn’t totally surprised to find Patrick was a soldier, after all the majority of the male population were fighting in the Great War, so that wasn’t unusual.

Then my brain started filling with the questions:

  • Was Patrick the father of the unfortunate Georgina Allison who was born and died in 1916?
  • Was Seaford his real home or was he merely stationed there?
  • Did Patrick survive the First World War? And did his service record survive the Second World War?
  • What happened to the children of Kate’s first marriage, is this why Minnie was “adopted”?
  • Did Patrick have any children from his previous marriage(s)?
  • Who were the two strangers who were witnesses to their marriage?

With access to many First World War service records on Ancestry.co.uk I knew that I should at least be able to answer a few of these questions. I hoped for Kate’s sake that this marriage would see her enter a new settled phase of her life, after several years of dramatic changes, but only further research would tell.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Why should I be bothered about those two strangers at my great-grandmother’s wedding?

28 Jan

The widowed Kate Allison had returned to Uckfield Registration District sometime between the death of her husband Robert Cecil Allison in 1914 and the birth (and death) of an illegitimate daughter Georgina in 1916.

This pretty much confirmed that she was my 2x great-aunt, but the final confirmation came when I looked back at the marriage certificate of my great-grandmother Minnie Driver. Four years after the death of her first husband (my great-grandfather Henry Herbert Hemsley) Minnie re-married Robert Farlow in High Hurstwood, Sussex.

Just under four years ago I ordered a copy of their marriage certificate to confirm some details and make sure that I had the right husband (Moses Farlow). When I looked again at the certificate I realised that I had undeniable proof that Kate Allison was my 2x great-aunt.

Until I had started on this search for my grandmother’s “adopted” sister the two witnesses were unknown to me, and to be honest they weren’t that important to me. I mean why should I be bothered about those two strangers at my great-grandmother’s wedding?

Actually that is not strictly true, I knew I should try to find out who they were, but they were a low priority. Four years ago there were plenty more important people to work on and fewer records online, so they never really got the attention they deserved.

Of course the importance of the two witnesses should not be measured by the importance they have to me (are they my relations?) but by the importance that they had to my relatives.

I am sure you can guess where I am going with this, one of the witnesses on the marriage certificate was Kate’s daughter, Minnie Gladys Allison the adopted “sister” I had been searching for along.

Her name had been sitting in my records all along, it felt like I had gone full circle, but without making that journey I probably wouldn’t have realised the significance of the name on the marriage certificate.

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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Ancestral Profile: Henry Charles HEMSLEY (1854-1931)

25 Apr

Henry Charles HEMSLEY was my 2x great-grandfather and was the son of Henry and Charlotte HEMSLEY of the Gun Inn/Farm in Blackboys, Sussex. He was baptised on the 2nd April 1854 at St. Thomas à Becket Church in Framfield, Sussex. He appears to have been the eldest of eleven children born to Henry and Charlotte.

In both the 1861 and 1871 census Henry Charles is living with his parents and younger siblings at Gun Inn/Farm, in 1861 he is shown as a scholar and in 1871 he is recorded as farmer’s son, presumably this means he was working on the family farm.

Henry Charles HEMSLEY married Caroline RUSSELL (daughter of Thomas and Caroline RUSSELL) on the 10th November 1877 at St. Thomas à Becket Church. The marriage was after banns and both were recorded as being of full age. On the marriage register entry Henry Charles is recorded as farmer.

Together the couple had nine children, all were baptised at St. Thomas à Becket Church, Framfield.

  1. Charles William HEMSLEY (baptised 26th January 1879)
  2. Albert Ernest HEMSLEY (baptised 27th June 1880)
  3. Henry Herbert HEMSLEY (baptised 31st December 1882) [my great-grandfather]
  4. Minnie HEMSLEY (baptised 29th March 1885)
  5. Elizabeth Annie HEMSLEY (baptised 26th June 1887)
  6. Frank HEMSLEY (baptised 29th September 1889)
  7. Harry HEMSLEY (baptised 31st January 1892)
  8. Walter HEMSLEY (baptised 25th February 1894)
  9. Enorah Caroline HEMSLEY (baptised 26th April 1896)

The family lived in various locations within the parish of Framfield, some of which I haven’t pinned down yet. In the 1881 census they are living in Muddles Lane, by 1891 they are at Pound House, Framfield and by 1901 they are living in School Lane, Blackboys.

The baptism of Enorah Caroline in 1896 has the family living at Mountfield Farm. By the time of the 1911 census Henry Charles and Caroline are living in nearby Buxted, Sussex at Stone House Farm with their children Harry and Walter.

Across the census and baptism entries Henry Charles is described variously as a farmer, farm labourer and labourer. It seems unlikely that he ever owned any land but he may well have been a tenant farmer from time to time as well as working for other land owners.

Henry Charles’ wife Caroline died in 1912 whilst they were still living at Buxted. Henry Charles himself died on the 24th June 1931, aged 77 years. His entry in the National Probate Index (shown below) reveals that he was living in the nearby town of Uckfield, Sussex (at 50 Alexandra Road).

HEMSLEY Henry Charles of 50 Alexandra-road Uckfield Sussex died 24 June 1931 Probate Lewes 10 August to Charles William Hemsley bricklayer and George Ralph smallholder. Effects £825 19s. 5d.

The first of the executors was his son but I am not sure who George RALPH was, but Henry Charles’ daughter Elizabeth Annie had married a William RALPH in 1912, so he may have been related through this marriage.

Although I haven’t checked the details in the parish register or found a headstone yet I believe that Henry Charles was buried in Framfield churchyard where his wife was also buried.

Copyright © 2011 John Gasson.

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Looking at Petty Session licence registers

12 Jul

As I mentioned the Uckfield Petty Sessional Division licence registers last week I thought it might be worth explaining a bit more about them and what sort of information you might expect to find in them.

Why were they created?

These particular registers were introduced as a result of The Licensing Act of 1872, the full text of which is available on the Office of Public Sector Information website. Section 36 of the Act details the requirements for keeping the registers:

There shall be kept in every licensing district by the clerk of the licensing justices of that district a register, to be called the register of licenses, in such form as may be prescribed by such justices, containing the particulars of all licenses granted in the district … 

What was recorded in them?

Section 36 of The Licensing Act of 1872 also describes what should be recorded in the register:

… the premises in respect of which they were granted, the names of the owners of such premises, and the names of the holders for the time being of such licenses. There shall also be entered on the register all forfeitures of licenses, disqualifications of premises, records of convictions, and other matters relating to the licenses on the register.

The first of the registers that I looked at (ESRO PTS 5/4/1 1872-77) contained the following column headings, although not all columns were used.

  1. Date
  2. Particulars of Licence
  3. Name and Situation of Property
  4. Annual Value of Premises
  5. Name and Address of Owner of Premises
  6. Name of Holder of Licence
  7. Transferee, New Tenant, or Occupier
  8. Date of Transfer
  9. Forfeitures of Licences
  10. Disqualifications of Premises
  11. Record of Convictions

Subsequent registers followed much the same format until after The Licensing Act of 1904, which introduced financial compensation for licences that were not renewed for reasons other than cases of misconduct.

This lead to further columns being added to the registers under the overall heading of Reference to Compensation Authority.

  1. Whether upon Application for Renewal or Transfer
  2. Date of Reference
  3. Decision of Compensation Authority
  4. Date of Extinction of Licence

Where can I find them?

The definitive guide to finding registers of licenses is Victuallers’ Licences – Records for Family and Local Historians by Jeremy Gibson and Judith Hunter. Originally published by the Federation of Family History Societies in 1994, it is now in it’s third edition.

This book is divided into two sections, the first part describes the different types of licensing records that have been created, and the second section is a listing of the records that have survived for each county and where they can be found (usually the county record office).

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