Where am I now with my research?
Most of my very limited time has been devoted to Henry and Catherine GASSON and in particular their children. I have been trying to find out what happened to all their children, mainly using census returns and various parish register transcriptions.
There have been a few challenges but on the whole this has been pretty straight forward stuff, however I am reaching the stage where I really need to supplement the transcriptions I already have with a trip to the West Sussex Record Office. I can’t remember the last time I paid a visit to an archive, so it is long overdue.
I still have several more of the children to work on so I will probably try to complete the work on them and make sure I have a nice bundle of look-ups to do when I do finally get to the record office.
I don’t want to get dragged too far down these family lines, researching people who are not my direct ancestors, and need to remember that my original plan was to find out more about the migration of Henry and Catherine from Horley, Surrey to Nuthurst, Sussex and identify similar migrations by other GASSONs.
The “other GASSONs” part got unintentionally sidelined, but it is something I still want to pursue so I really need to start doing something about it. The trouble is I am not really sure how it is going to work, but I will probably start by looking at the 1841 census and parish register entries for Nuthurst and see if I can pick out any other GASSONs and see what develops from there.
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.
The card below is what is known as a multi-view postcard, for obvious reasons. These views are of the village of Nuthurst, Sussex and each of the views are postcards in their own right.
Clockwise from the top-left the views are captioned: Nuthurst, Nuthurst Church, Nuthurst Rectory, View from Rectory Garden Nuthurst, Nuthurst Street, Nuthurst Church Interior, Nuthurst Post Office, Nuthurst Schools.
Postcards of Nuthurst are pretty hard to find, in fact I don’t think I have ever seen the full size version of any of these eight cards, let alone having any of them in my collection.
The style of the writing on the captions suggests that this was published by Cecil Travers, there is a postmark but it is not particularly clear, it was definitely posted in Nuthurst and the year may have been 1914 but I can’t be certain.
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.
In a perfect example of how easily distracted I am my thoughts these last couple of days have shifted from the American Civil War back to the English countryside.
I can see how my train of thought took me there. I was looking at the two Sussex families that emigrated to the US (the ALLCORNs and EADEs) convincing myself that now was not the time to carry on researching them. The thing that really annoys me is that there are a couple of family members who married and I don’t have their spouse’s full names.
This makes my database look rather untidy and it is this aspect that annoys me. Looking at the list of other incomplete names I stopped on Sarah, the wife of James NEWNHAM of West Grinstead, Sussex (one of my 5x great-grandparents).
Before I knew it I was starting to assess the situation with James NEWNHAM and wondering whether I already had the information to hand that would enable me to identify his wife’s full name. I have transcriptions of the parish registers for West Grinstead (from the Parish Register Transcription Society) and also monumental inscriptions (from the Sussex Family History Group) as well as sundry other sources.
The evidence suggests that she was Sarah HOLLAND who married James NEWNUM in the neighbouring parish of Nuthurst, Sussex in 1787, further to this it appears that she was probably from the neighbouring parish of Shipley, Sussex. They appear to have had quite a large family and Sarah probably died in 1825 aged 59 whereas James died in 1851 aged 87.
In short there looks like there is quite a wealth of information waiting for me to explore further. Before I do too much exploring however I need to investigate my connection to James NEWNHAM and make sure that he is my 5x great-grandfather, I seem to remember that the evidence wasn’t 100% satisfactory, so I need to be sure before I go any further.
However I realise this is just another way of me avoiding working on the NICHOLLS and DRAPPER families in Kent. It is very easy for me to find other things to do rather than face having to do research in Kent, so I am going to try to ignore James and Sarah and get back to Kent again.
This is the reason I went to Nuthurst, Sussex last week, to check the monumental inscription for Edward GASSON. I don’t really know anything more about Edward GASSON other than what is provided on the headstone.
I have found him living at Monks Common in Nuthurst in the 1851 census, with his wife Mary. He gives his place of birth as Charlwood, Surrey and he is a farmer of 80 acres, employing three labourers.
He is probably the son of Edward and Elizabeth GASSON of Charlwood, and Edward senior is probably the son of John and Ann GASSON my 5x great-grandparents. Obviously more work is needed on Edward’s ancestry so I can confidently place him in my tree.
Here are a few photos of St Andrew’s Church, Nuthurst, Sussex. I took these on my visit last week, when I passed through the parish on my way to Horsham.
I have previously posted a postcard of Nuthurst Church and as I commented at the time, not a lot has changed, there are of course fewer headstones and fewer trees now in front of it now.
Burials are still taking place in the churchyard, to the west of the church. I found the view of the western end of the church was quite striking, but I am not quite sure why.
The interior of the church was equally striking, I certainly wasn’t expecting to find such a highly decorated interior, although of course my photo doesn’t really do it justice.
I couldn’t leave without getting a photo of the font, my 3x great-grandfather Thomas GASSON was baptised here in May 1831, along with four more of his siblings in subsequent years. According to the church guide and history it is made of Purbeck marble and may date back to Saxon times.