Sunday, 13 February 2011

Family History Writing Challenge - Day 9

I am very proud of my heritage, from the Surrey, Hampshire and Sussex borders. I have no idea why, but when we travel back to my old stomping ground from Devon I always feel that I am home. Over the years I have met lots of people who have migrated to the South West, tempted by better climate and cheaper house prices and they have always vowed that would never go back. I always amaze them when I say I would!

Having established the link between my Grandparents, apart from their marriage I was keen to establish the details of my Great Great Grandmother. Born Mary Denyer circa 1838. I say Circa because on every census the year of birth varies as does her place of birth. Incredibly frustrating!

Remembering my earlier comments about the border of the Counties Surrey,Sussex and Hampshire being within a mile or so, I contemplated if Mary had in fact been born in Sussex. I simply hoped that her birth had occurred after the start of Civil Registration, which happened in 1837 and I hoped that given it was still a fairly new system at the point of Mary's birth that she had been recorded.

Her death, recorded as Mary Elstone was found in Merrow Guildford in 1913 aged 74. I knew from her marriage to James Elstone in 1857 that she was the daughter of Edward Denyer. I was therefore delighted to find the birth of a Mary Denyer daughter of Edward and Emeline Denyer in 1838 in Lurgershall Sussex, the last of 10 children.

At this point, more than 20 years after I started researching, the lineage of my Great Great Grandmother is nothing more than the dates of her birth, marriage and death along with the details of her children. Much more research needs to be done to turn these basic, but important facts into the life that she would have lead, and to get to know her through whatever documentary evidence I can find.

Denyer is a common name in this part of the world. In much of my ancestry I have family names that appear twice, and in some cases there is no obvious connection between the two lines of research. Is this simply because the families didn't really move outside of the confines of these three Counties or is there more to it than that?

The name of Elstone is not particularly common in those same three Counties. There are family connections to paper mills in Sussex and Hampshire and a lineage back to the surname of Pim (Pym, Pymm & Pimm). A few years ago we were away for a few days heading to North Devon when we drove through a small hamlet called Elstone, set on the banks of the River Exe where there was a paper mill. There are also connections to the surname of Pim in the County of Devon who were involved in paper making. Is there a connection or is it simply coincidence? I guess we shall have to wait and see!

Word count 508

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