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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