Tag Archives: vinall

Ancestral Profile: Ellen VINALL (1857-1899)

3 Jan

Ellen VINALL was my 2x great-grandmother, the seventh of the eleven children of Ambrose and Sarah VINALL of Buxted, Sussex. I don’t have Ellen’s birth date, her birth was registered in Q4 1857 in Uckfield Registration District. Her baptism was on the 8th November 1857 at St. Margaret’s Church, Buxted.

In 1861 the three-year old Ellen is living with her parents and siblings (four sisters and two brothers) at Rocks House, Buxted. Her father was employed as a farm bailiff. Ten years later Ellen was still with her parents (and six siblings) but the family have moved to nearby Blackboys Common in Framfield, Sussex where her father was working as an agricultural labourer.

In 1879 Ellen married Thomas DRIVER, an agricultural labourer also from Framfield. I don’t have the exact date or place for the marriage, but it was almost certainly at the parish church in Framfield. The couple had six children in total:

  1. Kate DRIVER (baptised 28 March 1880 in Framfield, Sussex)
  2. Asher DRIVER (born 1882)
  3. Minnie DRIVER (baptised 26 May 1884 in Lewes, Sussex) [my great-grandmother]
  4. Ambrose DRIVER (born 1885)
  5. Herbert DRIVER (born 1888)
  6. Anna DRIVER (baptised 8 November 1891 in Lewes, Sussex)

Although Kate was baptised in the parish church at Framfield, her sisters Minnie and Anna were baptised at the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel in Lewes, Sussex. I have been unable to locate where Asher, Ambrose and Herbert were baptised.

Some time between 1885 and 1888 the family moved across the parish borders to Waldron, Sussex. In 1891 the couple and four children (Asher, Minnie, Ambrose and Herbert) were living at Hawkhurst Pit, Waldron, Sussex.

Ellen died in 1899 aged only 42, her death was registered in Q4 1899 (in Uckfield Registration District). I don’t know what the cause of death was or the exact date and I don’t know where she was buried, probably at the parish church in Waldron or the cemetery in Uckfield, Sussex.

Clearly there is much work that needs doing on the life and family of Ellen, starting with the parish registers for Waldron and Framfield. I also need to put Hawkhurst Pit on my list of places to visit, along with the parish church at Waldron.

My top-ten surnames

2 Feb

I was fiddling around with Family Historian last night and then in Excel, producing a list of the top-ten surnames in my family tree.

I thought this was going to be a mostly pointless exercise, purely for fun and curiosity, but it has highlighted an imbalance in my research, which I now wonder whether I should try and put right.

The top-ten surnames (really top-eleven surnames), with the number of individuals in my family tree, are as follows:

1.  TROWER (127)
2.  GASSON (104)
3.  MITCHELL (84)
4.  FAIRS (45)
5.  BOXALL (38)
6.  KINGHORN (28)
6.  VINALL (28)
8.  BATEMAN (27)
9.  GEERING (26)
10.  DRIVER (25)
10.  HEMSLEY (25)

The first three names are no surprise, after all they are the surnames of three of my grandparents, the surprising thing is that my fourth grandparent’s name is HEMSLEY, right down at the bottom of the list.

I don’t know quite why I feel that this imbalance is wrong, but I certainly feel I should invest some more time on it so that it moves up the chart. It wouldn’t be difficult to add lots more HEMSLEYs to my tree, but it needs to be done with purpose rather than just adding everyone I can find.

I am going to add the task of reviewing my HEMSLEY line to my to-do list, seeing what meaningful work I can do on the family. I am sure there are some interesting people and stories waiting to be discovered in Framfield, Sussex.

Another family tree milestone passed

28 Oct

Yesterday I passed another milestone in my family history, with the addition of the 1000th individual Family Historian.

I know a 1000 individuals doesn’t really sound a lot, especially given all the work I put into my family history, but I like to think in terms of quality not quantity.

All these 1000 individuals are as a result of my own hard work, not downloaded from someone else’s online tree. All of them (I think) have source records attached in one form or other.

There are many ways I could have boosted my numbers, but to me there doesn’t seem much point, I am not trying to win any prizes, and I have the rest of my life to add people to my tree.

The 1000th individual was Ann VINALL (born in Buxted, Sussex around 1851), the grand-daughter of my 4x great grandfather John VINALL.

Normally I wouldn’t have included her in my tree at this stage, after all I am still trying to trace all not 4x great grandparents not all their descendants as well. It just so happened that in the 1861 census my 4x great grandfather is living with Ann, her parents William and Louisa VINALL and some of their other children.

I could have just entered John VINALL, and left the rest, but I don’t like leaving a family half finished, as there is a good chance I might never get around to entering them for years.

Proving to myself it is worth getting organised

26 Aug

As if to prove my point from yesterday that organising my files is going to make my research more efficient, I discovered something last night that had me throwing up my hands in frustration.

I was reviewing a report of my 3x great grandparents Ambrose VINALL and Sarah FRENCH. I had some census images that I had printed, but I hadn’t got digital copies, so I saved them to my hard drive. Looking closer at the images and the report I realised that the addresses were in Buxted.

Less than a week ago I had been wandering around Buxted, looking for my DRIVER and HEMSLEY ancestors, and I could have added another five or six addresses to my hit list. At least a couple of these addresses were places I remember walking past (Stonehouse and Maypole Farm), I could have quite easily got a photo or two whilst I was there.

In 1841 Sarah FRENCH was living with her parents Joseph and Hannah FRENCH in Buxted, Sussex. The specific address was Five Ash Down, I say specific, but there were several households at the same address, so probably better described as a community rather than an address. Anyway, when I got off the bus last week at Five Ash Down (opposite the Pig and Butcher pub) I would have sworn that I had never heard of the place before. Yet several months ago I had located three ancestors living there, but they had been forgotten in the intervening months. There was not a lot to see in Five Ash Down but I would have taken a couple of photos looking up and down the street if I had known.

Now I have two more things to do, go back to Buxted and get some photos, and set up a list (or a custom report in Family Historian) that will list all the places in an area that I am visiting, so I don’t get caught out again.

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