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Treading in the footsteps of ancestral family

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ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date


JoyDean Report 30 Sep 2009 08:48

Have you done this?


BarneyKent Report 30 Sep 2009 09:31

Yes Joy, I have and in your county of Kent. My Great Great Grandfather was a miller at Elmsted, near Hastingleigh in Kent. He and his family are listed there in the 1841 census.

It was a windmill and has long since been demolished but by using an old Ordnance Survey map I discovered the remaining foundations. Took a lot of photos of the site and also the cottage he lived in.

Great feeling to put "flesh on the bones" of mere names and dates.


Persephone Report 30 Sep 2009 09:58

I intend to go to Kent - Members of my family did not venture far from the place until the 1800s. So one day I will be heading to Dover, Sutton, Deal etc. There is a family vault at St Margarets at Cliffe and others are at St Peters Sandwich and Ringwould. A lot of them were Yeoman, Mayors and Freemans etc so am looking forward to discovering the past.



TonyOz Report 30 Sep 2009 10:01

Hi Joy Cuz....:>)) 2005, Essex & Yorkshire and after 30 odd years of research from Oz.... it was great to be able to walk the footsteps in the Villages and graveyards of my Ancestors. We returned again in 2006

I remember standing outside the small village pub ( still there ) where my grandfather was born in 1875 and tried to imagine how they fitted 10 children plus his parents inside it.
His father was a Woodsman - Roofthacher - Inn Keeper.
The Pub was closed at the time, and i would have loved to be able to get inside, but was able to peer at least through the
I remember i had walked around the back of the pub and found some apple trees, so nicked a few....:>))
Possibly i would have been transported for 7 years to the Colony's down under for that, but i'm sure my grandad was looking after me, and the Apple pie we made from those nicked apples tasted preety good.

Came back to Aussie with very fond memories

Tony....:>)) "Who could have been the only convict in his family"


SueMaid Report 30 Sep 2009 11:43

Yes, my friend Joy. My most memorable was last year when we visited Lympstone in Devon and my OH took a photo of mum and I stood outside a shop and it looks almost exactly the same as a very old photo of 2 ladies stood in the exact same place. My maternal ancestors came from Lympstone and Dawlish.

I have walked the streets my ancestors have walked in a few towns and villages and I've gone into churches and pubs they've been in.

Sue xx


badger Report 30 Sep 2009 11:43

Been to a few places in the country from Durham ,to ,to Bucks ,and Oxford ,and yes ,it does give you a special feeling Fred.


JoyDean Report 1 Oct 2009 19:11

Thank you :-)

Was it three years ago, Tony, that we spoke on the 'phone?

Please add your journeys along the paths.


JoyDean Report 1 Oct 2009 22:48

History was one of my favourite subjects at school, and still fascinates me. People I also find fascinating. One thing I love doing is ‘people watching’! So from reading about history and watching people, it seemed a natural progression to investigating and discovering the structure of my family, who, where and when they lived; not just names and dates of being ‘hatched, matched and dispatched', but learning how they lived, what was happening historically, the social living conditions, and geographically where they fitted into my world. However, I should have started much, much earlier, while my parents and grandparents were alive ... how many times have you heard that said?!

My parents died in 1983 and 1987. I knew when and where they were born; but I hasten to add that I had to send for a copy of my father’s birth certificate because I only had the ‘short’ version! I needed to know the details! My grandparents died in 1969, 1971, 1980 and 1982 (one of whom lived to the age of 100 and a potted biography of him is in The Newsletter and Journal of the Friends' of the Metropolitan Police - ‘copies are in the PRO Kew, SOG, Guildhall City of London and Metropolitan Record office (old GLRO) and other places’ I have been told). I knew three were born in London and the other in Buckinghamshire.

In November 1999 I paid a brief visit to the LDS or Mormons Family History Centre in Poole, Dorset, for my first insight into the world of microfiches! I have learned to appreciate that the FHCs are staffed by volunteers and, therefore, some would be open longer hours than others.

The time had come to start searching the GRO indexes for the marriages of my grandparents’ parents! Now the fun began in earnest! The following spring, my husband and I travelled to London for the first of several visits to the Family Records Centre, where we experienced the excitement of ‘finding people’, the backache later after lifting many of the heavy books in order to do so! the frustration of ‘not enough time’. And, as you will know, the pieces of the jigsaw come together as more births, marriages and deaths are found but, as so often happens, one puzzle solved usually leads to another question to be answered, and that is all part of the fun and pleasure of the detective trail!!

I had known that my mother’s father was born in Buckinghamshire, that my mother’s maternal grandparents were from Suffolk, my father’s maternal grandmother was from Ireland, and had thought that the rest of my ancestors were from London. How wrong could I be! My pedigree is very mixed! and I have learned that I have family from London, Ireland, Kent, Surrey, Devon, Cornwall, Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk ... and as my research is ongoing, there may be other counties and countries of origin as yet undiscovered!

Through having joined family history societies, and subscribed to rootsweb mailing lists, I have ‘met’ some very nice and helpful people, some of whom are related to me, some not. I just hope that I have been able to help some people, too, because that’s what life is all about, or should be!


JoyDean Report 1 Oct 2009 23:03

I have enjoyed reading several books about places and people, including ‘Eyke' produced by the Eyke Millennium Group, Peter Ackroyd’s ‘London The Biography‘, and useful and interesting family history research reference books, such as George Pelling’s ‘Beginning your family history‘, ‘The Family Tree Detective’ by Colin Rogers, and Eve McLaughlin’s ‘The poor are always with us’.
I have also been cross-eyed whilst poring over microfiches of censuses at the Family Records Centre - and running to and fro to the ever-helpful staff there to have printouts made of my family’s whereabouts - and microfiches of BMDs at the records office in Winchester and the main library in Portsmouth.

I had a wonderful time in Penzance, and Plymouth, where some of my father’s maternal family came from, my Corin and Harrison ancestors. Have you ever done this? - walked in their steps ... trod the paths that they trod ... breathed the air that they breathed ... seen the same sea ... been in the churches where they were baptised, and married, and the churchyards where some were buried ?
Just to be there is a feeling in itself; no words can really describe the feeling of being there! If you never have, and you can ... then make up your mind that one day you will! Don’t miss the chance!


maggiewinchester Report 2 Oct 2009 00:32

Mum and I went to Cheddington in Bucks where one side of her family had lived in the very early 19th century. Visited the church etc. It was only later that I found out my gg uncle was inprisoned in Aylesbury - for trying to derail a train here.

A few years back my mum, sister & I went on holiday together to Suffolk - to retrace our ancestors. We found the church where generations had been hatched, matched and dispatched. We visited the small area (Middleton Moor) where they had lived for generations and saw the (now holiday home) that out ag lab ancestor had built.
We visited Aldeburgh where my gg grandfather had been killed by fleeing enemy aircraft dropping their bombs - there was a new buliding where his shop had been destroyed. He was in the shop at the time - killed by enemy action - aged 90 years.

We visited Mottisfont where my grandfather's family had lived in the 18th and early 19th century. Romsey, where they'd moved to and I lived in Southampton - I new they'd live there - mum was brought up there, but found my g uncle lived just around the corner from me!

The extended family went on a family holiday to Cornwall this year. The Eden project was visited - as were some of the villages where my dad's ancestors lived and we visited the graveyard where my g grandmother and her brother (dad's side) were buried - ironical as I lived near here as a child!

I thought I was the first of our family to live in Winchester, only to find out after I moved here that my gran (from Southampton) lived here in 1924.
She changed her 'in service' job from Steep near Petersfield to Winchester to make it easier to visit her beau - my grandfather back in Southampton - catching the train from the (now closed) Chesil station to St Denys on her days off - and I live just above the old Chesil street station!

Seems like I have not only 'trod in the footsteps of my ancestors' - I've unknowingly lived in their footsteps!!!

BTW - gran, in letters to my grandad describes Winchester as a 'queer little place'! LOL - I love it!


ElizabethK Report 2 Oct 2009 09:05


In May I visited Uffington (now Oxfordshire was Berkshire) and stood in front of the alter where my 4 x gt grandparents (and previous generations)were married !

Also found a memorial set in the floor for another relative-majic !!


Berona Report 2 Oct 2009 09:54

My gr/gr/grandparents emigrated from Bisley in Gloucestershire to Australia in 1837 and I have been in the home they built when they settled in NSW. It is now a restaurant and is heritage listed. It gave us a feeling of 'belonging' to be inside their home and also in the entire area where their children (my great grandparents) grew up.

I regret that I went to the Gloucestershire area before I started on my family tree and I didn't know that I was in the area where my gr/gr/grandparents came from and all of their ancestors before them lived!


Carol Report 2 Oct 2009 10:25

I whent to Llansantfraed in radnorshie where the family had lived a very long time .I visited the church and the went on to one of the houses .I was taken a photo when a dog apeared barking at me ,someone came out the house and asked me if a was connected , anyway i ended up in the house and then on to another and met relis i did not know were still there . it was such a great day .treading in the footsteps i felt them there with me .


JoyDean Report 8 Feb 2010 13:21

Thank you; it is good to empathise.

Anyone else like to share their "journeys"?


**Ann** Report 8 Feb 2010 14:43

Hi Joy,

Yes I also went a wander in your neck of the woods, trying to find my nans grave at luck though. All dads family were from Upchurch/Eastchurch and he lived on Sheppey as a small child, I am trying to remember the name of the pub his grandparents ran, i have a photo somewhere taken around 1905.

Also went to Isle of Islay..........what a lovely place to visit, walked through the village where my grandad grew up.....a weird feeling and quite emotional for my own dad who will be 80 this year.

On to Fort George Inverness, where he was stationed with the Black Watch in there is a place to visit for anyone going to Scotland in the near future.......the place is amazing, but I would imagine a very uninviting place during the winter months in the early 1900's. we walked on the beach and saw all the dolphins swimming and playing near the Fort, it was a really wonderful trip for us both.


Ps I think the name of the pub was Crooked Billett?

Janet 693215

Janet 693215 Report 8 Feb 2010 18:19

I've been doing my tree for 11 years now and two years ago I took my Mum up to Glasgow for the week. We visited loads of locations that her grand and great grands were. We found the tenement that my nan was born in and visited a lot of locations that no longer existed in the same form.

The tail end of last year, I took my OH to Canterbury. Obviously I didn't tell him that the visit wasn't just a cultural one but a family history one, he'd have run a mile!
I have been unable to prove that I am linked for definate to Canterbury but I'm 99% certain. It was quite funny as I decided not to do the family history stuff in the evening. It was only when sat outside the pub on the first night that I looked at the disused church next door and realised that it was one where some of my perspective relatives were christened, married and buried in the 1700's.

The second night we ate in the old Weavers House which my possibles would have met in in the 1600's. I so want to prove that link!

A couple of years ago I went on a walk round Shoreditch/Hoxton on an ancestral walk. I took my 1938 A-Z and a sheet printed off streetmap. A hell of a lot of the streets I was looking for had either been demolished after the 1st world war to make way for council housing or had been bombed in the second. (There was a Time team special about the area called Buried by the Blitz)

I took loads of photos on all three jaunts and I have to say, if I had no attachments and lots of money I would willingly go and live in either of the first two locations. Sorry, but I'd have to give Shoreditch a miss!


sailorbaz Report 13 Feb 2010 06:18

When my wife and I married in St. Leonard's Church, Aston-le-Walls, Northants 1969, long before I thought about family history, little did I know that my 6x great grandparents were buried in the churchyard where our wedding photos were taken!

Ladylol Pusser Cat

Ladylol Pusser Cat Report 13 Feb 2010 09:42

yes in ireland a place called westport, it is a beautifull place i had a feeling off belonging, i forgot all my paper work, joy may remember me saying this a while back, lovely feeling that i had stood where they had................... untill i was told by the archives place there that the reids were respnsable for setting fire too or in westport, felt a little like returning home at that point xx


MargarettawasMargot Report 13 Feb 2010 10:19

Yes,Ann,my OH's mother's family came from Islay,and it was actually part of her name.She was a McNab,and her mother was a McNeil.She died in
2006,in her 80's.I don't know which lot came from Islay.Her family even named their house after it-"Islay Vale".,in Victoria,Australia.

Joy,I went on my long-awaited trip to the UK and Ireland last year,for 6 weeks.It just wasn't long enough,I want to go again,to see what I missed out on. I loved Frome,Barnstaple,Brewood,walking the streets where my ancestors trod,visiting the churches where the babies were baptised,etc.

The highlight for me though was visiting Horncastle.The building where my ancestors lived is now a really fascinating antique shop,and when I explained my connection to the building the pleasant owners were more than happy to let me take photos,wander around the large shop which was their former dwelling etc.I spent about 2 and a half hours there,absolutely fascinated.I hope to get back again,and spend more time in the area.



JoyDean Report 1 Apr 2010 11:27

Thank you for sharing more of your journeys with us. It is always good to read more.