Tag Archives: weller

Clueless in Chichester, no just disorganised!

19 Sep

I was in two minds about going, I hadn’t done any preparation for a trip to the West Sussex Record Office (WSRO) and really wanted to stay in bed this morning. It wouldn’t have seemed so bad if it was a little bit later, but I was leaving the house at the same time as I would if I went to work.

Things started going wrong when the guy in the ticket office sold me the wrong ticket and I had to go back and get them changed. When my normally quiet and peaceful train pulled up it was all most completely full. This is unheard of at this time on a Saturday morning, I am almost guaranteed a carriage to myself as we speed through the sleeping Sussex countryside. Today I was sharing my carriage with people on the way to Goodwood Revival.

I knew there was plenty I could do when I got to the record office, but I had no plan. It started very hit and miss, with me wondering what to look at next, but then I remembered one of the thing I had wanted to do, find out some more about Thomas and Mary WELLER my 4x great grandparents from Twineham, Sussex. I think I have discovered who they are and where they came from and have the baptisms for all their children including Mary Ann my 3x great grandmother.

The WSRO closes at lunchtime on a Saturday and I got kicked out along with all the other researchers, but my research doesn’t stop just because the record office closes. First stop was Chichester Cathedral and memorial chapel of the Royal Sussex Regiment. Here I found the name of my 2x great uncle Ambrose DRIVER on the Roll of Honour for those killed from the First World War. The chapel is just off to the right of the entrance and the sun was shining through the stained glass window above and creating such a lovely pattern across the chapel. I really must spend some more time there and have a good look around the cathedral.

Royal Sussex Regiment memorial chapel, Chichester Cathedral

Royal Sussex Regiment memorial chapel, Chichester Cathedral

Next stop was Chichester library, for a quick look at some local papers on microfilm. Sadly I could find no mention of the death or funeral of my great grandmother Lilian Mary MITCHELL in the pages of the West Sussex Gazette for December 1939. Still it was worth having a look.

Then I just had time to grab a bite to eat, sitting in the sunshine in front of the Cathedral, before heading back into the record office for a couple more hours research. The afternoon was a bit more organised, some original documents and more microfilm, covering a wide range of people and places.

In the end it was quite a productive day, many of my searches were negative, but even those are helpfully in a way. I know I should have had a plan when I set out and it would probably have been even productive. It was the first time I used my netbook in the record office, and I was glad I had it with me, but I am wondering know what is the best way to create a research plan on it. My next record office trip will probably be to the East Sussex Record Office and I promise to be better prepared for that!

I may not have had a plan, but I did come away from Chichester with a map. I stopped at the second-hand bookshop on my way back to the railway station and picked up a 1953 one-inch map of the Cheltenham and Evesham area, this is where my BATEMAN ancestors originated from. I would have preferred something a bit older, but it was cheap and will be useful in getting used to the area I am researching.

A Bank Holiday walk to Bolney

31 Aug

What a way to spend Bank Holiday Monday, contrary to expectations the sun was out (in fact it was a lovely afternoon) and I was out walking making the most of it.

The destination for today’s walk was Bolney, Sussex, home to many GASSON and WALDER ancestors and relations. In particular I wanted to visit the church at Bolney and try and find some gravestones.

The South Downs, from near Twineham

The South Downs, from near Twineham

The walk started in a small place called Wineham (thanks to my wife for dropping me off). From here I followed the wonderfully named Bob Lane to Twineham, which is slightly bigger than Wineham and has it’s own delightful little church.

St Peters Church Twineham, Sussex

St Peters Church Twineham, Sussex

There should be a couple of my WELLER ancestors buried here, although I haven’t confirmed that in the burial register. If they are they either never had a headstone or it has long since vanished, because I couldn’t find one.

From Twineham I followed Bolney Chapel Road up to the main A272 and then a short way along the A272 into Bolney itself. I like following these small country roads because I don’t have to worry too much with a map, I can just get on with enjoying the scenery and not have to worry about which footpath I have to take.

St Mary Magdalene is a beautiful church, set on the top of a small hill. About a dozen stone steps lead up to a fabulous lych gate, quite possibly the largest I have ever seen. From the lych gate a path leads up the hill to the church.

Bolney Church from the lych gate

Bolney Church from the lych gate

The church itself was closed, but there was plenty to see outside, but one day I ought to actually try and get inside. There is a huge variety of gravestones in the churchyard, so many different ages and types. Of course the older ones are not so easy to read, in fact many are now just slabs of stone with no sign of an inscription.

A pair of gravestones in Bolney Churchyard

A pair of gravestones in Bolney Churchyard

Unfortunately I didn’t have the churchyard to myself, there appeared to be some sort of treasure hunt going on as small groups of people with clipboards made their way through the churchyard searching for a particular gravestone before moving on.

My own hunt was quite successful, several modern GASSON gravestones and some older WALDER and LEWRY ones, although how much of the older ones I am going to be able to make out is another question. I need to have a look and see if there are any monumental inscriptions available that I can use to fill in some gaps. Hopefully someone went around a hundred years ago and recorded all the older ones for me before the inscriptions disappeared.

From the church I head further into the village, past the war memorial and then headed west. This long and winding road (and quite hilly) took me through some nice woodland, with a beautiful scent of pine in the air and past an ancestral home Chatesgrove. Unfortunately it doesn’t look like the present owners of Chatesgrove are that keen on letting anyone see their house. Lots of thick hedges and tall fences, meant all I could see were a few glimpses of a timber framed building.

The road eventually took me back to Wineham, where I was due to get picked up again. All in all a nice afternoon spent walking (about 11 miles), lots of photos on my camera, although I don’t think any of the gravestones are direct ancestors. It is surprising how quick the temperature dropped and the light began to disappear, there is no escaping it, autumn is on the way.

Tidying up some loose ends and giving myself permission to move on

1 Jul

Things have got a bit untidy on my desktop recently. I seem to have acquired several text files of extracted records in my various explorations of my family tree, as well as during some of my database cleansing.

So before things get too far out of hand I am going to have a purge before the weekend, so I will be able to concentrate on FAIRS research and other projects, rather than all these other distractions.

For instance take Mary Ann WELLER, I have several census entries and baptism records for the rest of her siblings and parents which I need to enter into Family Historian. Then I can order her birth certificate and know that when it arrives I can pick up where I left off.

As well as not being able to make decisions, I am also not very good at finishing things off. I have too many unfinished projects sitting on my desk (and on my mind) which is why the mothballing process I described a while back is so helpful to me.

It draws a line under a project (albeit one that can be erased at a later date) and gives me permission to move on. By doing so I am admitting that it is not finished and furthermore I am not going to do any more work on it now, but I don’t need to worry about it, because it will all still be there when I am ready to come back to it.

Following the female line for a challenge

29 Jun

I got a bit distracted yesterday while I was supposed to have been doing some work on John FAIRS. I strayed over to his wife’s family and attempted to head back on that line.

I guess I am not the only one that seems to spend a disproportionate amount of time on my male lines and neglecting my female lines. Every so often I have to have a purge to keep the right balance in my tree.

John FAIRS married Mary Ann WELLER at St. Peter’s Church, Henfield, Sussex on the 2nd March 1862. Mary Ann’s father was Thomas WELLER, a labourer.

Armed with her marriage entry and later census returns it was pretty easy to find Mary Ann in earlier census returns with her parents Thomas and Mary WELLER.

The family were living in Twineham, Sussex and it is here that Mary Ann was born, probably in the first couple of months of 1841. Her father gave his place of birth as Bersted (or North Bersted), Sussex and her mother was from West Grinstead, Sussex.

The problem is that I have been unable to find a marriage entry for Thomas and Mary. Their eldest child appears to have been John, born in 1817, so I would have expected to find a marriage entry some time just before that.

The Sussex Marriage Index from the Sussex Family History Group has one likely entry, Thomas WELLER and Mary NEWNHAM married in Bolney, Sussex on the 31st December 1816. Whilst this looks quite a reasonable match, Bolney is pretty close to Twineham, I am still not satisfied that this is the right marriage.

So I have inadvertently picked up another challenge, which is going to take a little bit more work for me to be 100% happy with the marriage. I think a birth certificate will probably prove matters once and for all, but finding Mary Ann’s certificate may not be quite so easy.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 117 other followers

%d bloggers like this: