Tag Archives: george thomas gasson

Some lunacy in June 2012 edition of Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine

18 May

I was a little surprised when my “cousin” Mike let me know that my blog was featured in the June 2012 issue of Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine. I wondered what I had done this time to get myself mentioned in the magazine.

I had to rush out and get a copy, well OK if I am honest I forgot all about it and it was a couple of days before I finally remembered to pick up a copy one morning on the way into work.

I was a little shocked and very flattered to find my blog listed as one of the best websites for researching asylums and mental health records. Of course this is because of my series of blog posts about the search for my 2x great-grandfather George Thomas Gasson.

It has been a couple of years since I wrote those blog posts and on a couple of occasions I have wondered about updating them, or whether there is a need for any updates. I came to the conclusion that it probably wasn’t worth the effort, but maybe I need to re-visit them again.

So thank you WDYTYA Magazine and Jonathan Scott (the article’s author) for spotlighting the story of my lunatic ancestor and the research of mental health and asylums in general. Although I am still surprised that my little blog was included with the likes of The National Archives and The Wellcome Library.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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The hidden art of Hellingly Hospital

15 Dec

An interesting set of photos has turned up on the BBC website, showing the current state of Hellingly Hospital in East Sussex.

My interest in Hellingly Hospital, or the East Sussex County Asylum as it was originally known, comes from the fact that my 2x great-grandfather was a resident there for nearly twenty years (see My Lunatic Ancestor).

There is no shortage of photos (and video) of Hellingly Asylum on the internet, but it is nice to see some of them getting an airing on the BBC website.

The sadness of course is the state of decay that has developed and the fact that the site is soon to be redeveloped, although it sounds as if some of the original buildings may be retained.

It is hard to relate these current photos with what my 2x great-grandfather would have experienced. Which were original features and which were later additions? I can only hope that one day a detailed history of the asylum will be written.

Genealogy Saturday was a success

29 Nov

Genealogy Saturday was a success.

First I spent some time on the FamilySearch Record Search site, looking at the Diocese of Durham Bishops’ Transcripts. I had searched here before (in the parish of Staindrop, Durham) for the siblings of Isabella GRAHAM, my 3x great-grandmother, but I had never finished it off.

Some of the baptism entries were quite detailed so I was able to establish that Isabella’s father Joseph was from Hexham, Northumberland. So now I have added another new county to my list of places.

After Durham and Northumberland I headed back down south, to Gloucestershire and the BATEMAN and JACKSON families. I wasn’t so lucky here, despite some records on the IGI the dates and places I was after weren’t available.

Next I moved back closer to home and the area around Singleton, Sussex. I have more ancestor from these parts than I first believed. Here I added many events for the BOXALL, RICHARDS, PITT, TARGETT and CHANDLER families.

I have identified a potential problem with Thomas PITT, my 4x great-grandfather. I know he married Ann BONE in Stoughton, Sussex in 1798, and he appears to have died before the 1841 census.

Fortunately it is not that common a name, so I should, with a little bit of searching, be able to find a burial record and hopefully an age at burial. This should enable me to work out a birth year, and I can carry on backwards from there.

All in all I added forty new individuals to my database, several of them 5x great-grandparents, and many new events. Also I finished off sorting the George Thomas GASSON stuff in my stuff to sort folder, which was really pleasing.

Weekly Genealogy Preview (for week 48)

22 Nov

Time is running out for my Christmas Tree Project, so much of my focus last week was on filling in gaps in my data, and this coming week will be much the same. I didn’t totally neglect my stuff to sort folder and I can at last see the end of it, probably not during the next couple of weeks, but certainly before the end of the year.

  • Carry on filling in the gaps in the data for my 4x great-grandparents and for any other of my ancestors that I can easily fill in.
  • More work out of the stuff to sort folder, most of my notes on George Thomas GASSON have been sorted, so now most of the large sections are complete.
  • I still need to prepare for a visit to the London Family History Centre, possibly next weekend, my last chance to find the missing individuals for my Christmas Tree Project.
  • Continue preparing my new PC, the GenTower. I need to go through my current PC and make a list of all the software I use, and which I need to uninstall and which I need to download.

Picture Postcard Parade: The Asylum, Haywards Heath

26 Oct

This postcard fits in well with the Madness Monday theme, as it shows the entrance to the Lunatic Asylum at Haywards Heath, Sussex.

The Asylum, Haywards Heath (front)

The card is not in the best of condition, it was published by Mezzotint Co. of Brighton, probably around 1903-04 and is unused. The writing up the left hand side reads “MEZZOTINT COMPANY YORK HILL LONDON ROAD BRIGHTON”.

It is a shame the postcard was not in colour, then you would see the striking red and yellow brickwork. Even so it does illustrate the thought and effort that went into building the asylum, which could just have easily been a drab and plain building.

If you look very closely, and it is not even clear on the original, there is what looks like a young boy standing in front of the right-hand gate post.

The family connection is through my 2x great grandfather George Thomas GASSON (see My Lunatic Ancestor), who was an inmate here from 1898 to 1903 when he was transferred to newly built asylum at Hellingly, Sussex.

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