A short #52Ancestors this week on the subject of Curious. I don't have much time as we have been busy all weekend celebrating my Dad's 80th birthday.
One thing I am really curious about at the moment concerns my maternal Grandmother's family bible. Inside it amongst the lists of names there is a newspaper clipping as below.
James Terry. I've found him on census records and I have found his baptism and his death, his parents and his grandparents.
At the moment however I have no idea why granny had this newspaper article inside the family bible. Presumably he is related but I am yet to find out how! 3 generations back and he doesn't appear to fit into the tree I have created of the Terry family. I am curious and more research is required.
Week 3 of #52ancestors is all about a favourite photo. I have so few photos of my ancestors the few I have are all favourites and I found it really hard to choose which one to talk about. In the end I have picked two, of the same woman.
Nahomi Vincent born 1850 in Cuckfield, Sussex was my great x 2 grandmother. In 1875 she married Gaius Diana Winchester in Staplefield and came with him to live in Earlsdown, near Heathfield in Sussex where his family farmed some land.
The first photo is taken of them together, it has been suggested around the time of their engagement but I do not have enough knowledge of clothing or hairstyle periods to be able to confirm that.
She looks rather wistful in the photo. As I look at this photo I wonder what they were thinking and what they were up to. I like this photo because Gaius can be seen in many of his descendants, my second cousins once removed in particular. There is a very strong family resemblance. Gaius died in 1897 and Nahomi lived and worked the family farm for at least another 20 years with the help of her sons. The 1921 census finds her retired and living in a cottage with another elderly widow, a distant relative.
The second picture is taken years later, again it has not been dated. It has been commented that she looks quite severe but I don't see that, she looks to me like she resembles many of my relatives, no nonsense and strong women. Presumably this is after Gaius has died and she was widowed. I would have liked to have known her. Nahomi died in 1923 in Lower Dicker, Sussex where she was living with one of her sons.
Week 2 of #52ancestors is Favourite Find.
My favourite find has to be the birth certificate for Helena Lorraine. She was my great great grandmother and married James Frederick Samuel HARMER on 13 October 1889 at Ashburnham in Sussex, England. The birth certificate was my favourite find because I struggled to find it. The family have led me a merry dance since I had started researching them.
I met various contacts who also had her in their own family trees early on in my family history journey and they always referred to her as “Helena Lorraine Lovekin Stamford Smith” and searches for that name were futile. But bit by bit I found little bits of evidence that helped to bring them together although I still haven’t completed the journey.
The first piece of evidence I found was the marriage certificate for Helena Lorraine Lovekin October 1889, married James Frederick Harmer, she was 22 years. Father - John Lovekin, Labourer.
Witnesses at wedding Edwin and Emily Haffenden. Therefore she was born 1867.
Searching for her and Emily I eventually found her on a number of census returns and in 1871 the whole family appear to have been entered twice:
Punnetts Town -
John Smith, 39, Ag Lab, born Lamberhurst Kent
Emily Smith, 38 born Horsham, Sussex
Emily, 18, born Ore, Sussex
George, 14, born Rye
Mary Ann, 11 born Ashburnham
Bertha 8, born Battle
William 6, born Warbleton
Lorraine, 4, born Mountfield
Florence, 1, born Warbleton found baptism – Warbleton 27 Feb 1870 to John Smith, labourer at Warbleton and Emily Maria
2nd 1871 option:
Nr Blackdown, Heathfield, incidentally Blackdown is in Punnetts Town
John Smith, 39, Pedlar, born Flimwell, Sussex, incidentally 3 miles down road from Lamberhurst
Emily Smith, 38, born Horsham, Sussex
Emily 18, Pedlar, born Hastings, Sussex (Ore is in Hastings)
George, 14, Pedlar, born Rye
Mary Ann, 11 , born Ashburnham
Edith Bertha, 8, born Battle
William, 6, born Warbleton
Eleanor, 4, born Netherfield
Flora Florence, 1, born Warbleton
I think this has to be same family, there are too many similarities such as Eleanor and Lorraine.
Over the next couple of years I managed to find a number of the births or baptisms for the children but not Helena’s. The later children were John Smith’s. I could not find the first four children and William born 1865 had no father recorded and mother – Emily Rawlins. I was able to cross reference her as the same person as she appeared on some of the birth certificates as Emily Smith formerly Rawlins. Incidentally I have not yet managed to find any marriages for Emily. I could not, despite extensive searching find Emily Rawlins anywhere. Then I found the birth certificate for Thomas born 1877 where Emily was recorded as Emily Smith formerly Stamford, father – John Smith and he was born in Mayfield which fitted with the 1881 census which had the family in Mayfield, this suggested she was originally Stanford or Stamford.
I found Emily Stanford born in Horsham in 1833 which fitted with all the census returns.
I eventually found the birth for Helena Lorraine one day when searching through 1867 births in the Battle area for a girl with mother, Emily. It took ages but I found her. I have no idea who William Vineall was and still need to find him.
Emily’s daughters all cross reference with one as witnesses for one another on their marriage certificates. However and another mystery to be solved, they all seem to use different Lovekin father’s – John for Helena, Henry for Emily who married Edwin Haffenden, Edith Bertha and Jessie – William. Who these men are remains a mystery!
I also need to continue to search for the births of the first four children which may answer some questions. Emily Stanford, their mother has been found with her parents in Horsham on the 1851 and 1861 census but without the children and it looks likely she did not meet John Smith until around 1870 when Flora was born and the first child to be registered to John Smith.
My favourite find simply because this continues to be such a puzzle to unpick. But bit by bit this mystery reveals little clues along the way.
I decided to try the #52Ancestors challenge this year but I’m a little late already! But anyway the first week’s theme is Foundations so I thought I would start with the person who inspired me to research my family history.
Edith Evelyn Mary Terry 19 October 1911 – 14 January 1991
Here she is with grandad in front of the garden of their home in Punnetts Town, East Sussex.
My maternal grandmother, I have many very good memories of my granny and she has been an inspiration to me throughout my life in many ways. But with reference to genealogy when I was a child, she taught me a rhyme which I now know is made up of the surnames of her maternal ancestors
“Terry, Payne, Faulkner, Fowler…..” I thought there was a Sales in there too but they are on a paternal ancestor’s side so I either didn’t listen to her very well or wasn’t particularly interested at the time. Although I have remembered those first 4 generations and found them plus I’ve taken back her maternal ancestors another two generations, so I can now add “Neal, Nash…”
But what really started my interest years later and the reason I delved into the 1901 census soon after it had been released online was finding her family bible in the old house after my brother had just moved in.
There was a list of names with births and deaths of people I had never heard of and so I decided to go and research these people. And as the saying goes “From little acorns…..”
She was born to Albert John Terry and Emily Payne who had married as was written in the bible on 24 August 1907 at the Mission Room, Lingfield, Surrey. Albert John Terry worked for the General Post Office and moved his way up the ranks to become the Postmaster at Lingfield Post Office and Edith, her sister Winifred and two brothers Harold and Maurice, known as John, lived in the flat above for many years. I have recently found them there on the 1921 census.
She married Ronald Charles Pilbeam on 7 August 1937 at the Mission Room in Lingfield, Surrey and then moved to Punnetts Town in East Sussex where she lived for the rest of her life. They had four children including my mum.
Also found when the house was being cleared was a pile of letters she had written to my grandad during their engagement, detailing her life at the post office and the wedding presents received and who from. If only his replies had been kept too! But they reveal a young woman about to marry and very different from the old lady I knew as my granny.
Here she is the early 70s with me (holding the plastic owl), my sister and my cousin.