Tag Archives: local history

Personal Research Update: Friday 30th March 2012

30 Mar

It has been two weeks since I wrote my last update, and they have a relatively productive couple of weeks, beginning with a visit to the East Sussex Record Office. Since then my focus has pretty much been on processing the information gathered at the record office and trying to get my to-do list into a better condition.

Finding Minnie

To be honest I haven’t done a lot on my Finding Minnie project this last fortnight, apart from processing what I discovered at the record office. I still haven’t ordered a copy of Patrick Vaughan’s service record, which I can do now as I am sure I have the right man.

Apart from ordering the service record my other priority is to enter all the data that I already have for Minnie, Kate and Patrick (and his first family). I have made a start on this, but need to get this finished.

To-Do List

I have spent a fair bit of time worrying about my to-do list, and in some respects this has been a distraction, but I feel it is important to have a useable to-do list.

I have done a bit of work on updating the list, and this has inevitably lead me off in different directions as I revisit some of the items to see if they can be completed yet or if I have already done them.

I know I need to be more methodical with this review and once I have done my first pass through I need to go through a bit more carefully and double-check everything.

High Hurstwood, East Sussex

Again I haven’t put much more thought into the idea of a one-place study on the village of High Hurstwood, East Sussex. Whilst I was at the record office viewing the parish registers I did wonder whether one day I will be transcribing them.

My current thinking is that it would be a worthwhile project to take on, but also that I don’t have the time at the moment. If I can put aside a tiny bit of time each week to work on it then it might be feasible.

The Family History/ Book Reading Half-Hour

This pretty much fell by the wayside this week, the week before wasn’t so bad, but I really need to try to get back in the routine of turning of the computer and picking up a book instead.

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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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons
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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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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons
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SFHG Family and Local History Day

17 Apr

It has been a glorious day, the sun shone on Worthing, Sussex and much family and local history was to be found at Field Place in Durrington.

There were only a small selection of stands at the Sussex Family History Society’s Family and Local History Day, but it has to be remembered that it was only a small local event. There were several groups and organisations which are not usually to be found at family history fairs along, with some more familiar faces (see the SFHG website for more details).

Despite the glorious weather outside it appeared to have been well attended and the car park was already full by the time I arrived (on foot) about 11am. Naturally I headed straight for the two postcards dealers in attendance, but only came away with two postcards, one of which was only bought because it brought a smile to my face and for that reason alone deserved to be in my collection.

I didn’t really have time to attend any of the talks or hang around to see the miniature stream engines because I had left my wife shopping in Worthing and couldn’t afford to leave her alone too long. Although I am a fine one to talk because as well as the two postcards I came away with four new data CDs from the Parish Register Transcription Society.

Around lunchtime I headed back to central Worthing to catch up with my wife and have something to eat. The promenade at Worthing was pretty busy with people out enjoying the sunshine, although there were not many people actually on the beach and I don’t think we saw a single person brave enough to set foot in the water. It may have been warm and sunny on dry land, but I bet the water was still pretty cold.

Whereabouts Wednesday: The new One Place Studies website

1 Dec

Family history is predominantly about people, but to look at those people without taking into account the place where they lived would lead to a very narrow view. So much more can be understood about our ancestors by studying the place they lived, the people they lived with, how they worked and how they played.

The one place study is a hybrid of family history and local history, rather than considering just one family line, the whole community is studied. Like family history the emphasis is on people, but in a one place study the common link between them is place rather than just family ties.

November saw the launch of the new One Place Studies website, which is administered by Alex Coles (who must have a time machine to find the time for many projects she is involved in).

The website appears to have two distinct functions, to provide information on which one place studies are being undertaken (in the form of an index) and resources for those undertaking a one place study (in the form of articles and a discussion forum).

The index provides a list of all the studies and is dominated by England (not that I’m complaining). Selecting a county will take you to a map showing all the one place studies in that county, plus neighbouring counties.

One place studiers (is that the right name?) seem to be a little shy about using the discussion forum or perhaps they are just too busy. The resources are an interesting selection of articles on the ins and outs of one place studies. Well worth a read even if you are not engaged in a one place study or considering one. I look forward to reading more in the future.

The website is well designed and has some great content, which has brought me another stage closer to launching my own one place study.

Sign the ePetition to save Brighton History Centre

30 Dec

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the threat of closure to the Brighton History Centre.

The closure of this valuable facility would be a great loss to local and family history researchers with an interest in the city.

An ePetition has now appeared on the Brighton and Hove City Council website, and I would urge anyone who qualifies (according to the website “a person of any age who lives, works or studies in Brighton and Hove”) to sign the petition to try an save this wonderful resource.

In praise of Horley Library

23 Nov

Last Tuesday I spent a very productive few hours in the public library at Horley, Surrey. Horley Library is not the first place I would think of going to for family history research or for anything else for that matter.

I normally pass through Horley on the train from Horsham to London and barely give it a second thought, but hidden amongst the shops in the town centre is a wonderful library, which has a fantastic local history centre tucked inside it.

I think a large part of this is due to the presence of a very active local history society in the town, the Horley Local History Society, which covers not only Horley, but the surrounding area as well.

The local history centre contains many local and family history reference books, as well as transcriptions and indexes for a variety of local records such as parish registers and monumental inscriptions. Many of these are as a result of the hard work of the members of the local history society.

Most of my time was spent on the microfiche reader, looking at parish registers for Horley, Burstow and Charlwood. It was really a case of checking the accuracy of information and getting the full details for records gathered from other indexes such as the Surrey Baptism Index and the International Genealogical Index.

This short trip to Horley has saved me from having to make a trip to the Surrey History Centre at Woking, which has saved me a few pounds, probably the equivalent of another birth, marriage or death certificate.

As it is so close, and as I seem to have several branches of my tree in the area, I am certain I will be visiting again before too long and making new discoveries that will push those branches of my tree back even further.

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