Is anyone else amazed sometimes of the actual geography of somewhere? I don’t mean by a map, I mean where you have actually visited somewhere & suddenly realise that two or perhaps three places were closer than you originally thought, or perhaps remembered?
Of course, when that happens it means perhaps you need to consider where in the locality you are going to research, whether that be by visiting or by using the Internet. Where I grew up in Surrey was quite close to my ancestral stomping ground. Surrey borders Berkshire, Hampshire, Sussex, Kent and of course Middlesex.
I had always known that and of course living in the area took it for granted. A few years ago my husband and I ventured back to my native Surrey and had elected to stay in one of the budget hotels. We only needed somewhere to sleep as during the day I would be researching and hubby would be fishing. Guildford is notoriously expensive in the hotel market, so we ventured down to Liphook which was the area where my Grandmother’s maternal line had lived.
I can not read a map with any degree of success, so we took a wrong turn, and headed under a railway bridge. Then suddenly I saw the County sign reading Sussex.
Quickly we stopped the car and I asked hubby how far we were out of Liphook. The answer was less than a mile. It was one of those moments when your heart races a little faster as you comprehend just what you have discovered. Please tell me that you have all had those moments…..
We retraced our steps and made it to the hotel. We checked in and sorted ourselves, made a quick drink and then went off to walk around the area. I steered the walk back under that railway bridge and was again in Sussex.
The next day at the Records Office I sought a map and looked again at the stopping ground of my Grandmother’s family. The excitement was caused by my great great Grandmother, who, on every census from 1841 right up to 1911 stated that she had been born either in Liphook or Bramshott with varying degrees of regularity – neither was correct!
It is worth mentioning that in 1841 the Census did not provide a specific location, merely within the County or not, so effectively a yes or no answer. Of course, a Y for yes had been placed in the box, when it should have been N!
Originally I had searched Frensham (Surrey) and then parishes across the Hampshire border. I decided to searched the local parishes that were across the border into Sussex, starting with Midhurst. I eventually selected Lurgershall and there she was:
It was a truly wonderful moment. The details are as followed
29 December 1838, Mary daughter of Edward and Emma Denyer, residing at Dial Green, Lurgershall. Edward was a labourer.
So, if your ancestor is not where they tell you they were look a bit further afield, with the thought process of 200 years ago, the world before cars, to a world when people walked several miles a day. Think what you would do in their shoes.
I knew the area, but had I examined a map with more attention, I might have located Mary earlier.
(1) Full Citation – Lurgershall Sussex, England. Parish Register, Baptisms. Registers are located at The County Records Office, Chichester.