Another one of the children of Henry and Catherine GASSON (my 4x great-grandparents) is causing me some problems.
Eleanor Ann Judith GASSON was their last child, baptised in Nuthurst, Sussex on the 9th January 1839. There is a birth registration in the GRO indexes in Q4 1838 in Horsham Registration District which would seem like a good match, however the name is simply registered as Female.
This is probably the correct birth registration but I can’t be 100% certain, not that it is really that important to my research. It might provide an address for Henry and Catherine, but apart from that I don’t think there is anything else useful that could be learnt from ordering the actual birth certificate.
In the 1841 census Eleanor Ann Judith is living with her parents at New House in Nuthurst, she is aged two years and her name is recorded as Judith. In 1851 she is still with her parents, now aged 13 years and recorded as a scholar. In 1851 her name is record as Elleanor A J GASSON.
Unfortunately that is where the trail ends.
I can find no marriage or death registration that seems to fit and my best efforts have failed to find any trace of Eleanor in any census from 1861 to 1911. I have tried many combinations of the variations of Eleanor’s names and the surname GASSON, but I have still found nothing that seems to fit.
So what became of Eleanor Ann Judith GASSON?
I don’t want to spend too much time working on finding her, but now I have found a little challenge which has me hooked. The problem of course is that there are many possible forenames that Eleanor could have been recorded under and many variations of spellings. If I am going to find her then I need to be methodical and record all the places I have looked and all the name variations I have checked.
I don’t think ordering her birth certificate is going to help, I just need to be a bit smarter with my searching.
Quite often it is the simplest discoveries that are the most satisfying for me in my family history.
I was looking at the life of Edward GASSON, the son of my 4x great-grandfather Henry GASSON and quite possibly the person who registered his death.
With the help of one of my cousins I had put together a chain of census entries, a probable marriage and a burial entry, but I couldn’t find a death registration for him in FreeBMD.
So what did I do? What any other genealogist would have done, went to another source. Sure enough there on Findmypast was Edward’s death registration in the right registration district, in the right quarter of the right year and with the right age.
I could have also just looked at the original index image, because I knew where and when it should be, but it was just quicker for me to search on Findmypast at the time.
It was nothing really clever and it certainly doesn’t rank as a major breakthrough in my family history but still it felt so satisfying to have found his death registration, and I don’t really know why?
It was such a simple thing but it really made me feel so pleased that I had found his death. Perhaps I need to get out more!
Postcards of the village of Slaugham, Sussex are not that easy to come by, so I snapped up this one when it came up even though it is not in top condition. It shows the interior of St Mary’s Church, Slaugham.
The Interior of St Mary's Church, Slaugham, Sussex
I visited the church earlier this year (see the photo below) before I got this postcard and to be honest it took me a while to verify that this was the same church, such were the changes that have been made to the interior.
The Interior of St Mary's Church, Slaugham, Sussex (30/04/11)
The quality of my photo is rather poor (I will take more care next time and perhaps find the light switch) but it is good enough to see the similarities in the structure of the building even if most of the furniture and fittings have changed. Although not included in my photo the font on the right-hand sign is definitely the same.
The postcard itself is unused but it does have printed on the back that it is part of “The Dolphin Series” which almost certainly means it was the work of Harry Tullett of nearby Haywards Heath, Sussex, and probably dates the card to somewhere around 1910. It may be possible to date the picture more accurately if the changes inside the church were recorded and carried out over a number of years.
There are a number of family connections with this church, including the marriage of my 3x great-grandparents Thomas GASSON and Harriet MITCHELL, the burials of my 4x great-grandparents Henry and Catherine GASSON and the baptism of my 2x great-grandfather George Thomas GASSON.
Catherine GASSON (née HOLMAN) was the wife of Henry GASSON, making her my 4x great-grandmother. I ordered her death certificate at the same time as I ordered Henrys and largely for the same reason, to make sure that I had found the correct individual.
Looking at the certificate there isn’t really any doubt. Catherine died on the 2nd December 1858 aged 64 years at Warninglid, Slaugham, Sussex. Her occupation is given as “Wife of Henry Gasson an Agricultural Laborer”. So her age, address and her husband’s name and occupation all match up.
The cause of death was recorded as “Disease of Liver 2 Years Jaundice Certified” and her death was registered by her husband Henry (who was present at the death) on the 6th December 1858.
So the certificate served it’s purpose, or at least the purpose I had intend. I am now confident that this Catherine was my 4x great-grandmother and was the same Catherine buried at Slaugham on the 12th December 1858.
The Warninglid mentioned on the certificate is a small community within the parish of Slaugham rather a particular house or farm, so the certificate doesn’t really help to pin-point where they were living a great deal, but it is better than nothing.
I am pretty certain that I have previously checked monumental inscriptions for St. Mary’s Church, Slaugham but I certainly need to check again and if possible make another visit to Slaugham and Warninglid. Last time I visited I was just passing through and not fully aware of the GASSON connections, now I have some concrete evidence I can go back and explore some more.
I mentioned painting and decorating yesterday, so below is a photograph of one of my painter and decorator ancestors at work, my grandfather Charles Percy GASSON.
Unfortunately I don’t know where or when this photograph was taken, but I am guessing some time in the mid 1950s and probably somewhere in the vicinity of West Grinstead, Sussex. The glass roof is quite distinctive but I suspect it may well have been replaced by something easier to maintain by now.
I mentioned the other day that I have a particular fondness for my 4x great-grandfather Henry GASSON because he was the one that brought my particular GASSON line over the border from Surrey into Sussex.
It happened some time around 1830 and as migrations go it wasn’t particularly spectacular, being only about 15 miles or so in distance but even so it was quite a big jump, not just to the neighbouring parish. It wasn’t as if it was only Henry and his family that made the move, there seem to have been several other GASSON families that migrated southwards over the border about the same time, and in the big scheme of things it is just part of the gradual movement of my GASSON line westwards from Kent into Surrey and then southwards into Sussex.
Whilst I am waiting for the two death certificates I ordered to turn up I will take a closer look at this particular migration and try to answer a few questions:
- Exactly when did Henry and family move to Sussex?
- Was their move straight from Horley, Surrey to Nuthurst, Sussex or was there somewhere in between?
- How many other GASSON families moved from Surrey to Sussex around that time?
- And what were their relationships to Henry GASSON?
- Did any other families that moved from Horley to Nuthurst around that time?
- Were there any related GASSON families already living in the Nuthurst area?
- Can I identify any particular reason for this relocation?
My main resources for this will be parish registers and census returns, but there may also be some rate books that will help me narrow down some details. The good news is that I work in Horley and travel back home through Horsham, so can make use of the libraries in both of tho se places, although I will probably still need to visit the West Sussex Record Office and the Surrey History Centre to dig a little deeper.
Of course it goes without saying that if the distance is only 15 miles or so then it would make for a good days walk. I may not be able to follow exactly in their footsteps with any certainty, but by using some old maps I could probably find a route that would have been available to them at the time.
Having found my 4x great-grandfather Henry GASSON in the 1861 census and confirmed that he didn’t die in 1860 there is only really one other likely death registration in the GRO indexes. This one is in Q4 1862 and like the 1860 one it is in the Horsham Registration District, so everything seems to fit quite nicely.
There is a burial entry in Slaugham (according to the SFHG Data Archive) in December 1862 for a 78 year old Henry GASTON which is quite possibly my Henry. The dominant spelling of the surname was GASSON around this time, but variations such as GASTON are still to be found from time to time.
There is only one thing that isn’t quite right and that is the fact that the burial register records Henry as coming from Beeding. This probably isn’t a problem because Lower Beeding is a couple of miles west of Slaugham, so it is quite possible that Henry was living nearby (there were certainly other GASSONs in Lower Beeding at the time) and was brought back to Slaugham to be buried with his wife.
I still need to check the burial entry against the original register (or at least a microfilm of the original) but I am pretty confident that this is my Henry GASSON. Confident enough to put my money where my mouth is and get out my wallet and order the death certificate. I might even splash out and order the one for his wife Catherine at the same time.