Friday, March 30, 2018

HARC! Research Results from Hereford

St. Mary's, Cusop, Herefordshire, with daffodils and yews.
The new Hereford Archives and Records Center (HARC) is an excellent facility! In ease of use and space, it surpasses the LDS Church History Library. And . . . they let you handle original documents! It was busy yesterday morning with a dozen or so patrons. And everything ran like clockwork in the new, suburban setting with large windows looking out into the woods.

Every archive has its own rules and style. HARC was much more efficient than any I have used to date. I have to say, though, that Powys's new facility is also very good, its staff most friendly and helpful, but it is much smaller. And Gwent Archives in Ebbw Vale still has my heart because the service there was the most personal and friendly. But that's the Valleys, it is.

The National Library in Aberystwyth is also very good and very professional. They also gave me some personalized assistance in the one task I was after. I now need to go back which I will do in August. But it is an intimidatingly formal place with its huge, stately appearance up on the hill with the fantastic view looking out over the town to the Sea.

They are all wonderful archives, even CHL. And I appreciate them all. But it was at HARC yesterday that I found Hannah again. And the Holy Yew continues to call.

After a night's sleep and some reflection, I can conclude that the evidence exists that Hannah Vaughan (1762-after 1822) lived in Cusop, Herefordshire, right on the border with Wales at Hay, Breconshire. Even back then, Cusop could be considered a "suburb" of Hay. The towns ran together, Cusop, much smaller as a village, still had its own industry with the mills and lime kilns up the Cusop Dingle, the border being Dulas Brook for a distance up the mountain.

I found the remnants of one of those lime kilns on the road to Craswell the other day.

The road to Craswell, turning off from Forest Road out of Hay, crossing the border at Dulas Brook, and an old lime kiln.
The lime would have likely been shipped on the tramroad to Brecon and down the canal to Llanfoist wharf for Blaenavon and Garnddyrys and may be a connection to the Vaughans relocating in Llanfoist.

To get to the point, I found in the account books for the Overseers of the Poor for Cusop, the following:
Weekly payments to Hannah Vaughan in the amount of sixpence from 4 June 1812 to 28 April 1813. Only the first week of August 1812 was skipped.
21 December 1812, "cloth for two shifts for Hannah Vaughan daughter." 
 In February 1818 there is a reference to "Hannah Vaughan Daughter by and on [?]" two shillings, sixpence.
27 January 1821, "Rec'd Hannah Vaughan" one shilling.
A note in the back of the book for 1812-1813 "Disbursement for Hannah Vaughan" sixpence, 28 May 1822.
Source:  Cusop Parish, Overseers of the Poor, Rate and Disbursement Book, 1812-1823, HARC Catalog No. G72/5 (My notes dated 29 March 2018).
There are also references to a Margaret Vaughan and a Susan Vaughan receiving assistance. I don't know if these Vaughans are connected to our family yet. I did not see a single reference to anyone that I thought would be in John and Elinor Jenkins Vaughan's immediate family.

Based on known facts that Hannah's illegitimate son John and Elinor are living at "Cusop Green" in the parish register of christenings for Samuel Vaughan on 28 January 1814 and for daughter Eleanor on 5 July 1816, and that Hannah's illegitimate baby boy, Thomas, was buried in Cusop, 4 December 1787, there must be a strong connection to Cusop. There just can't be that many Hannah Vaughans, even in this part of the world.

Here's what I can conclude further from this. Hannah/Joanna apparently never married. She had a daughter living with her in Cusop. This could be Sarah born 1797 in Glasbury or it could be another. Maybe it is the Susan also mentioned in Cusop records who apparently had an illegitimate child herself in 1816. One of the archivist staff confirmed that until the age of majority which was 21, and unless married earlier, a child would not be a separate "person" or "legal entity" but totally beholden to a parent. That would explain not naming a child when relief is given to the mother for that child. The Cusop Overseers helped clothe Hannah's daughter, possibly this was Sarah but only a Susan appears in the records, but there is no name for Hannah Vaughan's daughter.

The books I looked at are not complete and a bit sporadic. There could have been other payments made that are not recorded. It may be of interest that the years of 1812-13 were at the height of the Napoleonic Wars and men may have gone off soldiering. We need to search militia lists for John Vaughan (well, I've made some attempts.)

In January 1821, at least, Hannah made a contribution to the Overseers for the Poor. It wasn't more than a single mother's mite, but it is something. Most of the annotations in the books are "Pd" which is "paid." This one was clearly "Re.d" for "received."

And the last entry found was for sixpence relief paid to her on 28 May 1822. That tells us that she was alive at least until then making her 59 years old and living in Cusop.

I will keep returning . . . .

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