Tag Archives: weller

Personal Research Update: Sunday 11th December 2011

11 Dec

My already limited research time has been even further reduced over the last couple of weeks, as a result of which I have again done very little research over the last few weeks.

I did get the opportunity to scan some more of my postcards (and to buy some more) but strictly speaking that is not really family history, although a few were of ancestral locations (mainly churches).

What little family history I did do was centred around maps. I spent some time on the A Vision of Britain through Time website studying the First Series Ordnance Survey map from 1813 for the western part of Sussex. I wasn’t looking for anything in particular, but I ended up finding where my 4x great-grandparents Thomas and Mary WELLER lived in Twineham, Sussex.

That discovery was particularly satisfying because I had struggled to find their home for a while, but I will write more about that at a future date.

My other research centred around Henry and Dorothy Isabella BATEMAN (my 2x great-grandparents) and the whereabouts of their home in Hurst Wickham, Hurstpierpoint, Sussex. Encouraged by the comments of a local resident on one of my blog posts I decided to re-visit this particular problem again.

Using the 1911 census I was able to find out the names of adjacent properties to their house (2 Shenley Villas) and by studying the maps on oldmaps.co.uk I was able pin down the probable location of their house.

The key thing here was that the map contemporary with the 1911 census didn’t show house names, but one from fifty years later did have house names on it, and enough of those names hadn’t changed to enable me to find Shenley Villas, now known as The Double House, at least that is my belief.

Now I know where to look I should be able to confirm this with a visit to The National Archives to view the records of the Valuation Office Survey. This will not only confirm that I have the right property but it should also give me a description of the house itself, so well worth doing next time I am up at Kew.

Copyright © 2011 John Gasson.
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Postcard Album: Twineham Church, Sussex

12 May

The postcard below shows the parish church of St. Peters in Twineham, Sussex, the church of some of my WELLER relatives.

To be honest this is not a particularly good quality image, the postcard has seen better days, but postcards of Twineham seem few and far between so it will have to do until a better quality one turns up.

The postcard was published by A. H. Homewood of Burgess Hill, Sussex a prolific Sussex postcard publisher. The postcard hasn’t been used, but it probably dates from around 1906-08. The photo below was taken by me on the 31st August 2009 from a slightly different angle, as you can see there were more leaves on the trees when I was there.

Copyright © 2011 John Gasson.

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Finding Mary’s maiden name

10 May

In theory it ought to be quite easy to find the maiden name of my 4x great-grandmother Mary, the wife of Thomas WELLER. I actually have a pretty good idea of what it is (NEWNHAM), but I just want to make sure before I explore the NEWNHAM line too far.

The reason it should be easy is because Thomas and Mary WELLER had three children (out of a total of twelve) who were born after the start of civil registration in 1837, so their birth certificates should give Mary’s maiden name.

The problem comes mainly from my reluctance to part with any money for a certificate unless I am certain it is the right one and making sure I get the best value for money. In this case that would mean getting the certificate for my 3x great-grandmother Mary Ann WELLER, because although I have no particular need to know her exact date of birth, if I am going to pay for a certificate it might as well be for a direct ancestor and not one of their siblings.

I have baptism dates for all three of the children concerned and know from the census where they were living and where they were baptised (Twineham, Sussex) so again in theory it should be a simple matter of checking the GRO Indexes and ordering the certificate.

Of course it is not that simple, no birth registration seems to exist for a Mary Ann WELLER, there is a Mary WELLER but not where I would expect it (Cuckfield Registration District) but in a neighbouring registration district. Close, but not close enough for me to risk my hard-earned £9.25 on.

So my next choice would be George Henry WELLER, the first and second name should be enough to make sure I get the correct certificate, more so than his brother Andrew. FreeBMD was a little uncertain about the page number, so I checked the image, several images in fact (on Ancestry, Findmypast and TheGenealogist) but I can’t make it out either.

Fortunately George’s brother Andrew WELLER turns out to be my saviour, the volume and page number are readable and the date and place match up. If truth be known I am not really interested in Andrew (apologies if he is your ancestor) but his certificate is the only one that I can safely order. The irony is that I already know his date of birth from the baptism register so I don’t even need to know that part of information.

Copyright © 2011 John Gasson.

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Time to pull myself out of a genealogy slump

9 May

The last couple of weeks have been pretty quiet for my family history research. Apart from doing a little bit of filing, which took far longer than it should have, I haven’t really done my family history work.

I have done quite a bit of reading and an awful lot ofworrying about what I should be doing, but not actually getting down to actually doing any research. It hasn’t helped that there have been plenty of distractions this last couple of months.

I have been working longer hours recently, the weather has been fantastic enabling me to get out and do some walking (with lots of bank holidays providing me the opportunity to get out and about). On top of that we have entered lawn mowing season and several hours a week have been spent cutting my parent’s grass.

So I haven’t been sitting around doing nothing but I am starting to miss the pleasure of family history research. I am missing the excitement of waiting for a certificate to arrive, the sense of discovery in following a previously unexplored line or the challenge of overcoming a brick wall.

I need to try to get back into a routine again, of doing some family history research every evening after work. There are plenty of projects I could be working on at home, without having to get out to an archive. I am still supposed to be trying to find all my 5x great-grandparents and although I am going to be more reliant on visiting archives for this, there is still a lot I can do at home.

This week I am going to try to get a birth certificate ordered for one of the children of Thomas and Mary WELLER of Twineham, Sussex. This should give me Mary’s maiden name and give me the confidence to explore this branch of my family tree with some certainty.

Whilst I am waiting for the certificate to arrive I need to get back into my DRAPPER/NICHOLLS research, if only in preparation for a visit to an archive. I know that visit probably won’t be soon, but at least I can be ready for it when the time does come.

The other thing I want to work on is the Gun Inn/Farm in Blackboys, Sussex. Whilst organising my notes a couple of weeks ago I went through my notes from the license registers and need to tie all these together with newspaper reports and other census and directory information to create a history of the inn (technically it was actually a beerhouse).

I have a couple of other non-genealogy tasks to complete this week, but once I get them out of the way I am going to get stuck back in again!

Copyright © 2011 John Gasson.

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

It’s been a bad week for my family history… so far

21 Apr

Once again I seem to have achieved very little this week when it comes to family history, in fact I don’t really know where the time has gone.

I have done much thinking about family history, but not much real work. That thinking about family history usually pays off in the long run, it usually helps me organise my thoughts and plan the way forward on particular projects.

I know what I need to do next with the NICHOLLS/DRAPPER families from Kent, a little bit more research from home using the IGI and the census to build up a basic framework and then head for an archive or library to check some copies of the original parish registers.

I know that project is going to grind to a halt shortly as I wait for the opportunity to visit that archive or library, so I have lined up my next project, working on Thomas WELLER and his wife (possibly Mary NEWNHAM). This puts me back on home territory (Sussex) again and hopefully I should be able to make some progress on this without too many problems.

The next step for Thomas and Mary WELLER is to prove I have found the correct marriage, I should be able to do this by ordering the birth certificate of one of their children. I would like it to be Mary Ann WELLER my 3x great-grandmother but I am having trouble finding the correct reference, so it might have to be one of her brothers.

The good news is that the long Easter weekend means that I should have opportunity to get on with some family history. Unfortunately I can’t spend all four days on my family history, but should have enough time to get a decent amount done.

Ancestral Profile: Thomas WELLER (1796-1869)

19 Apr

Thomas WELLER was one of my 4x great-grandparents and I have precious little information on him or his family. The WELLER branch of my family tree seems rather uninteresting, but in truth it is probably more unexplored than uninteresting.

From the information provided in the 1861 census it appears that Thomas was born in North Bersted, Sussex and all evidence points to the year 1796. It is my understanding that North Bersted was originally part of the parish of South Bersted, but now the whole area seems to have been tangled up amongst the town of Bognor Regis (this will need some investigation at a later date).

It is in South Bersted, Sussex that we find a baptism for a Thomas WELLER on the 18th September 1796, the son of John and Elizabeth WELLER. So far I have found nothing else to prove the connection, but it seems quite likely.

Thomas turns up in Twineham, Sussex in 1841 (about 30 miles north-east from North Bersted) and by this time he is married and he and his wife Mary have had ten children (with another two more to follow).

I believe Thomas’ wife was Mary NEWNHAM of West Grinstead, Sussex and that the couple were married in Bolney, Sussex on the 31st December 1816. This seems the most likely marriage, because their first child was baptised in August 1817, but I still need to find further evidence.

The twelve children were all baptised in Twineham, Sussex:

  • John WELLER (baptised 31st August 1817)
  • Elizabeth WELLER (baptised 26th September 1819)
  • Harriet WELLER (baptised 13th January 1822)
  • George WELLER (baptised 16th May 1824)
  • Rebecca WELLER (baptised 3rd September 1826)
  • Thomas WELLER (baptised 9th November 1828)
  • William WELLER (baptised 27th March 1831)
  • James WELLER (baptised 2nd June 1833)
  • Peter WELLER (baptised 13th December 1835)
  • Andrew WELLER (baptised 16th September 1838)
  • Mary Ann WELLER (baptised 9th May 1841) [my 3x great-grandmother]
  • George Henry WELLER (baptised 28th January 1844)

The census and baptism register entries provide very little detail on Thomas’ occupation. In all sources he recorded as either a labourer or agricultural labourer. The families residence remains constant across the 1841, 1851 and 1861 census, they are to be found living at Riddens, which is probably Riddens Farm near the village of Ansty (although I need check that this was within the parish of Twineham at the time).

Thomas died in 1869 aged 73 years, his death was registered in Q4 1869 in the Cuckfield Registration District, and he was buried at St. Peter’s Church, Twineham on the 19th December 1869. His wife Mary died four years later in 1873.

Further Research…

There are several geographical questions to be answered, surrounding the exact location of Riddens and the details on North and South Bersted, but the main challenge is to prove the marriage of Thomas WELLER and Mary NEWNHAM. This shouldn’t prove too difficult as there are three children who were born after the start of civil registration in 1837 and their birth certificates should include their mother’s maiden name.

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.

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