Tag Archives: finding minnie

Use It or Lose It – A visit to East Sussex Record Office

19 Mar

It’s that time of year again. My holiday year runs out at the end of the month and if I don’t I use my last couple of days holiday then I will lose them. What better excuse than that to indulge in some family history research.

It was a beautiful day today, if a little chilly to start with, and I wondered whether I should have been walking rather than shutting myself away in East Sussex Record Office. The journey down to Lewes, East Sussex gave some splendid views of the South Downs. The short grass and low sun highlighting the curves and texture of hill-side, if I had been wearing my walking boots instead of my shoes then the day would have been completely different.

East Sussex Record Office

I can’t remember the last time I visited the East Sussex Record Office or any other archive for that matter, although I am sure looking back through my blog posts would tell me. Looking at my to-do list it was obvious that I hadn’t been to an archive for a long time.

There were a couple of high priority items for this visit concerning Finding Minnie, checking the marriage entry for Kate Allison and Patrick Vaughan and checking the baptism register for High Hurstwood.

After that the plan was to collect as much other data as possible and clearing as many items from my to-do list along the way.

One thing that became obvious whilst I was preparing for this visit was that my to-do list is not really up to the job, something that I am going to have to take another look at in the near future. At least I have a better idea of what is needed now.

I was quite pleased with myself when I used my Family Historian software on my netbook to quickly create an ad hoc to-do list for Brighton marriages to check. It would be very easy to do this with many other facts, but things could easily get out of hand. The question is not so much what don’t I know, but what do I want to find out.

All in all it was a good day, the record office was quiet (a shortage of staff and users) and I have come away with several pages of baptisms, marriages and burials for High Hurstwood, Framfield and Brighton that need processing and one important piece of evidence about Patrick Vaughan that will enable me to move my research forward.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Personal Research Update: Friday 16th March 2012

16 Mar

Once again I have had a good week. Pretty much all of my research was in Scotland or Canada, and I am really enjoying investigating some slightly different records. I still can’t believe how far this research project has taken me, it will soon be four months since I started Finding Minnie and there is no sign of it coming to an end.

Finding Minnie

Finding Minnie was more about finding Patrick Vaughan this week, with some success. I have now found Patrick Vaughan travelling to Canada in 1910, presumably for the first time. He is on his own, leaving his first wife behind in Scotland (she is in the 1911 Scottish Census).

Interestingly Patrick is travelling to Taber, Alberta, which suggests he knew where he was going and possibly already had a promise of work. Patrick’s son Cornelius also travels to Canada a few months later, also destined for Taber.

Cornelius returns to England in 1914 (although I haven’t found an entry in the passenger lists yet), maybe to serve during the First World War and returned to Canada again in 1919 at the end of the war.

I need to find out whether Patrick’s first wife ever joined him in Canada and more importantly when and where she died. Was Patrick actually a widower when he re-married in 1917?

High Hurstwood, East Sussex

I haven’t put much more thought into the idea of a one-place study on the village of High Hurstwood, still the problem is with defining what constitutes High Hurstwood.

I really need to get hold of a decent digital map (maybe Google Earth), on which I can draw some boundaries and see just what is involved. I know if I do start this study then I want it to be just as much about places as well as people, so perhaps the one name study will be just a part of it.

The Family History Half-Hour

I decided at the beginning of the week to transform the family history half hour in to a book reading half hour. Having bought a couple more books last week I decided I really need to make some time to read them and the stacks of books I already have waiting to be read.

This week I have been switching off the computer about half an hour early and picking up one of the many books waiting to be read. As most of the books are related in one way or another to family history you could still say that it is a family history half-hour.

The only drawback to this has been that on a couple of occasions I have found myself nodding off. Perhaps this is beneficial in a way as it is obviously a sign that I should turn the light out and go to sleep, a sign that I probably would have missed if I had been staring at a screen.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Contacting my newly found cousin brings rewards

13 Mar

In the end I decided I had put off for too long getting in touch with my third cousin. I had to find out if she was Minnie’s grand-daughter and if she was did she know why Minnie got left behind when her mother and four siblings emigrated to Canada in 1919.

I suppose I had been worried about how my contact would be received, if was indeed contacting the right person. Would it be ignored? Would I be told in no uncertain terms to get lost? There were no end of things that could go wrong, but of course there wasn’t really, it was just me worrying needlessly.

I received a reply to my initial email which confirmed that she was Minnie’s grand-daughter, and provided a couple of photos of Minnie and her husband, as well as filling in a few details.

I thought I could see similarities between the couple in the new photo (on the right) and the wedding photo (on the left) that had started this project a couple of months before, but that might just have been wishful thinking on my part.

My newly found third cousin also mentioned a photo album which had belonged to her grandmother, which she thought might have some photos of interest.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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What became of Minnie Allison?

12 Mar

My grandmother’s “adopted” sister (in reality her cousin) had seemingly been left behind in England when her mother and four siblings emigrated to Canada in 1919, to be brought up by my great-grandmother Minnie Hemsley (as she would have been then).

I had been focusing very much on the Canadian side of things and neglecting Minnie. I knew she had married as it was her husband’s name that had enabled me to find her in the first place, and her death registration had led me back to her birth in Essex, but what had happened in the intervening years?

Through the GRO BMD indexes I was able to discover that Minnie and her husband had a son, that son had married and had a daughter. This opened up the prospect that somewhere out there was a living descendent of Minnie, who through Thomas and Ellen Driver (Minnie’s grandparents) would be my third cousin.

The electoral rolls, on CD and online at 192.com enabled me to pin down where the family had been living until quite recently, whether they were still there was another question. Naturally the daughter had grown up and left home, but if I was right she was still in roughly the same area, what is more I thought I had found also found her contact details online.

I knew I ought to get in touch with my third cousin, after all she might be able to fill in some of the gaps in the story and perhaps she would know why Minnie was left behind whilst the rest of the family went to Canada, but for some reason I didn’t make contact straight away.

I kept telling myself that I needed to get all the facts together first, but in reality it was probably because I didn’t want to make a fool of myself if she wasn’t my third cousin. In the end I figured that I didn’t really have anything to lose, but plenty to gain if I was correct.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Personal Research Update: Friday 9th March 2012

9 Mar

It has been quite a good a week for my family history. I am pleased with what I have achieved, although I would have liked to have done more. Much of what I did involved working with collections which were unfamiliar, which was quite rewarding as not only was I learning about my relatives, but also learning about new areas of research.

Finding Minnie

I have managed to pull together a few bits of information on Patrick Vaughan and his family. I really wanted to try to find out where Patrick came from and how he ended up in Canada, before then trying to find out what happened to him and Kate after their marriage and the move to Canada.

I have managed to put together a very basic timeline for Patrick, from his birth and marriage in Ireland, then over to Scotland and from Scotland over to Canada. Now I need to find further evidence and fill in some of the gaps.

High Hurstwood, East Sussex

I have spent a bit of time thinking about what I should do with High Hurstwood. I want to find out more about the village where my grandmother was born, but I am not sure about whether I want to (or have the time to) go into great detail and start a one-place study or just concentrate on some aspects of its history.

Apart from indecision, the other problem I have at the moment is defining exactly what makes up High Hurstwood. It is an ecclesiastical parish in its own right, and has been for about 140 years, but it is also part of the larger Buxted Civil Parish.

Probably what I am looking for is a way to be able to define it as a community, which may or may not be limited by administrative boundaries. If I can get that idea clear in my head then I might be able to start making plans (and decisions).

The Family History Half-Hour

This week I have failed to actually carry out the idea of a family history half-hour. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but I forgot to actually set aside that time for family history. Obviously I am going to need to set myself up a reminder, so that I know the half-hour is about to start. Hopefully next week I can give it a proper trial.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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