Geoffs Genealogy Update 4 April 2016

Tuesday April 5th, 2016 | Geoff

Over the past few weeks I have not actually concentrated on a single genealogical activity, but have been active on a number of different areas of research. Firstly, I have bene doing some work on Jan’s Welsh forebears. Like much Welsh research, replete with names like Hughes, Jones, and Rees, it is very difficult to advance the research back in time, as the names involved are so common. Not only that, but as Jan’s forebears were in the main what one may call ordinary working folk, on the whole they did not have much in the way of assets, and did not leave wills. Thus, although in some cases one may believe with a fair amount of confidence that one has identified an ancestor, it is impossible to identify the person with certainty, and thus we cxannot add them to the tree.

You can sometimes find family trees on the internet that include some of the people we know to be on Jan’s tree, and sometimes these trees can lead us to new information or to confirm existing information, but in my experience many of these trees contain errors, so often what we think may be a breakthrough for us proves not to be the case.

I have been trying to fill in some of the missing details on Jan’s tree relating to both the forebears we have already identified, and to more recent forebears, and concentrating on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. I am particularly interested in trying to trace some lines down to the present day, in the hope of identifying living cousin. Not so long ago it was an extremely difficult  to do this sort of research, as there were few twentieth centuyry sources readily available to us. Whilst I’m not saying that this work is now easy, thanks to the many genealogy websites that are available to us today, with a bit of luck we stand a fair chance of successfully identifying cousins. The main standard tools I use in this work are (in no particular order):

  • Civil Registration Indexes
  • Trade Directories
  • Electoral Registers
  • Telephone Directories
  • The 1939 Register

The upshot of this effort is that I have succeeded in identifying two people who I believe to be living and who are second cousins to Jan. I’m not sure whether or not we shall be contacting these people, that will be Jan’s decision, but it is good to have had a successful outcome to this research.

A while ago Helen passed me some newspaper items that she had gleaned whilst searching the British Newspapers collection on the Find My Past website. They related to a gentleman named Reginald Gregory Charman Haines (1913-1981), a Royal Navy officer who married Eugenie Marion Reynell (b 1918). Eugenie was the daughter of Harold Essex Reynell (1887-1972) and Georgiana Catherine Liddell (1898-1981), and was descended from Joseph Rand (b abt 1665, died bef 1708), a half brother of John Bankes (c1650-1719).  She was born in Toronto, Canada, in 1918. Although born abroad, her family apparently moved to London when she was a few months old, and she appears to have lived in the capital for much of her life. She married Reginald in Westminster in 1939.

The newspaper items that I have just been dealing with concern a variety of events in Reginald’s life. The most pleasant of these was the announcement of his engagement to Eugenie, which appeared in the Gloucester Citizen newspaper on 21 September 1939. We learn that Reginald was said to be living in Petersfield, Hampshire, and was the “elder son of the late Dr C R Haines, DD, MA, FSA and Mrs Haines, Meadowfield, Petersfield”, and the parents of his bride to be were Mr & Mrs Harold Reynell, of Shanghai”. In fact, we know from other sources that her parents had very strong ties to the far east; her father had been born in Japan and her mother was born in Shanghai, China.

Alas, the other newspaper articles we have deal with events in Reginald’s life that were far less pleasant. The Portsmouth Evening News of 15 August 1934 reports on a court case in which he was convicted of driving a motor car in Petersfield without due care and attention, having nearly run over a lady who was crossing the road whilst pushing a pram with a baby in it. He was fined £2 10s with £2 10s costs.

The Western Evening News of 23 February 1935 reports a civil suit which related to a compensation claim against Reginald by a Plymouth man who had been injured in a motor accident in Portsmouth which  involved Reginald Haines. The amount of damages agreed in the settlement of this matter amounted to £3,150 – a very large sum of money in those days.

The last of these articles comes from the Gloucester Citizen of 25 March 1948. Reginald had been serving in the Royal Navy in Washington DC, and had been involved in a fatal accident near Washington, resulting in a charge of manslaughter against him. The verdict of not guilty must have been an enormous relief to him, but he was fined a total of US$125 for leaving the scene of an accident and reckless driving.

All in all, it seems that motor vehicles and Reginald did not really go together very well. An interesting insight into his character and some of the events in his life.

 

 

 

 

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