Wednesday, September 13, 2006

James and Martha Vousden - back to Goudhurst

On 2 September I wrote about James and Martha Vousden in Saskatchewan, Canada (1901 census). I had obtained a copy of their marriage certificate and then I sent for James' birth certificate, confident that he would fit into the main body of Vousdens from Goudhurst.

And indeed this is the case. The copy certificate of James's birth (26 July 1847) names his parents as William Vousden and Sarah Presnail, both of whom were already in my extended family tree. William and Sarah married 25 June 1834 at Brenchley. William was the son of William Vousden and Judith Sills, this William was the son of Richard and Mary (Jarrett).

Richard was born in Goudhurst in 1735 and he married Mary in Brenchley on 15 April 1759. I believe this is the first Vousden marriage at Brenchley, and the first Vousden baptisms at Brenchley follow soon after.

Richard's brother Thomas, and his wife Sarah (Borman), are my 5 x great grandparents. Thomas and Richard were sons of John and Sarah (Wousley) who married at All Saints, Maidstone on 20 November 1733. The parish register describes both my 6x great grandparents as being "of Goudhurst".

I have traced them back to the 1500s in Goudhurst, a further five generations with reasonable surety - all John Vousdens! We do seem to have been a little short of imagination when it came to naming children.

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Monday, September 04, 2006

Walter Vousden and the Town Crier of Niagara Falls

I discovered the Curious Fox web site some months ago, but made little use of or reference to it. It describes itself as: "The village by village contact site for anybody researching family history, genealogy and local history in the UK and Ireland. Every UK county, town and village has a page for family history, local history, surname and genealogy enquiries."

Anyway, recently I took another look and found someone searching for a Vousden. I joined as a paid member so that I could send a message to this "mailbox". David Stephenson's request was: "I am looking for info on Richard Vousden who lived in the Cranbrook area around the 1880's. His only surviving son was Walter Vousden, who married a Eliza White a native of Staplehurst. They moved to Eastry in 1890."

After exchanging a couple of e-mails we worked out that Walter was the son of a Richard and Mary (Jenner) whose household in the 1841 census I knew of but had not hitherto connected into the larger Vousden "family". In 1841 Richard was living at Iden Green in Goudhurst and working as a gamekeeper.

I now looked harder than I had done before for Richard's baptism and from the 1851 census I found that he was was born in Sandhurst, Kent. Like Goudhurst, Sandhurst parish records are not in the International Genealogical Index (IGI) but with the help of Google it took only a few minutes to find an online transcription. Richard was baptised on 20 August 1809, the son of William and Mercy Vousden.

Richard was not baptised in Goudhurst as were his numerous brothers and sisters. However, in my records there was a gap of five years between Thomas born in 1807 and Liberty born in 1812, and already I had an idea that William and Mercy (also known as Mary) may have left Goudhurst for a time and returned.

William was the brother of my 4 x great grandfather, Thomas Vousden. Richard was a gamekeeper to T.W. Roberts Esq. according to the parish register entry for the baptism of his son William in 1841. Richard's brother Liberty was also a gamekeeper, at the Glassenbury estate, and it is recorded that in December 1838 he pursued a group of poachers, as a result of which eleven men were charged with various offences at the Assizes.

David knows a lot about the lives of Walter and Eliza, one of whose children Blanche was his grandmother. It turns out that one of Blanche's sisters had a son Derek who is now the Town Crier at Niagara Falls in Canada. The City's web site gives some detail about Derek's job on the Town Crier page.

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Saturday, September 02, 2006

James and Martha Vousden - from Kent to Canada

Whilst researching for the Vousdens Abroad - Canada page on the One-Name Study web site I found that in the 1901 census there was only one Vousden family in that country. This was James and Martha and their children in Saskatchewan, and I found them also on the 1881 census in England, before their emigration.

A couple of weeks ago I was re-checking old entries on the Rootsweb Vousden Message Board and I spotted a request in 2002 by a Joan Hedberg for the following information: "Trying to find anyone that knows of Vousdens, Elizabeth, parents, James and Martha. What I know of them they were in Ernestown, Lennox and Addington in Ontario late 1800 to early 1900s. Elizabeth married Wesley Lester in Ernestown 21 March 1892 and they had a son born Ernestown 24 May 1893, Bap 21 Mar 1894."

One and the same family! No doubt. And no reply had been posted in over 4 years. A quick e-mail and an equally quick reply from Joan confirmed that we were talking about the same family. One of Joan's Lester ancestors had married Elizabeth Vousden and we are now working together, trying to track Elizabeth's father James through his early life in Brenchley, Kent, England.

I have obtained a copy of James and Martha's marriage certificate and this tells us that his father was William Vousden, a labourer. I have now sent for James' birth certificate. Meanwhile, Joan has found the Vousdens on the 1851, 1861, 1871 census as well as Elizabeth Wheatley and daughter Martha on the 1861 census.

We are making rapid progress, and I am confident that we will soon have James fitted into the main body of Vousdens from Goudhurst.

And it so happens that Joan also has Brown ancestors and she lives near Vancouver just a few miles away from my cousin Linda.

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