Most people enjoy pleasant surprise gifts and I am no exception. Recently I received one from my cousin John. He sent me a list of our ancestors on our maternal grandmother’s line which stretched back to 1480!
He had very generously been given permission to extract this from the research of Martin F. Jackson. This is meticulously researched and documented by church records and wills etc.
I have always been interested in my family roots, but until about 10 years ago knew only the knowledge passed on by my mother and older relatives. Most of the facts passed on by my mother have been verified by actual records, but her knowledge only stretched back to her grandparents. The other family members passed on family legend and I suppose all families have unverified tales of family fortunes which have gone astray, attachments to noble families etc.
When I discovered the wealth of information in pubic records offices, the scope widened considerably and then the internet increased the availability to amazing levels.
One of the first problems I discovered was the frequency with which my antecedents changed their Christian names. I searched in vain for my grandfather because he was always known as Edwin, (one of my cousins was named after him!) only to find that his given names were Arthur George. Once this was established I found ancestors back to 1790.
My maternal grandmother had a more common name and I could find nothing about her father, so I put a query on the Nottsgen forum and a very kind lady, June from Edinburgh, sent me a very full family tree back to Daniel married in 1803 in Sutton in Ashfield Notts.
Now, thanks to my latest gift, I find that Thomas was born in Ellastone Staffordshire 1480 and the family moved to Cubley Derbyshire in 1556 and stayed there until Daniel’s birth in 1775.
I like reading historical novels and now I have the added pleasure of fitting in which of my ancestors was alive at that particular time.
I find it fascinating trying to fit them in to general history. Thomas was born during the War of the Roses, were his family Lancastrians or Yorkist? I do hope they were the latter as I am very much pro-Richard, and believe that he was much maligned by the Tudors. I suspect they may not have been as Thomas junior left a will disposing of “considerable assets.” Maybe they were apolitical and just kept their heads down in their little Midland village! They also survived the Civil War and the Great Plague in he 17c.
I think the 18c must have been kind to both my maternal and paternal lines as they both had long lived members, one being born in the reign of Queen Anne and dying in the year of Trafalgar.
Oh for a loan of DR Who’s TARDIS sometimes 🙂
One thing I was gratified to note was that, if the children survived infancy, they lived to (what was then) a ripe old age, 60s, 70, 80s and two into their 90s!
I have been greatly helped in my research by the generosity of strangers. I find most amateur genealogists are kind people who willingly give information, some of wich they have spent years accumulating. There are others who spend their free time logging gravestones, church records etc. and putting it on line for the benefit of others. To all these friends I say a BIG THANK YOU.

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