I started researching my family tree almost ten years ago and today, like thousands of other people across the world, I am still trying to find my story; where I came from and what shaped me. I started where all good ancestry researchers should, with my living relatives. From them I got a lot of basic, necessary information like dates and places of birth and names of spouses etc which was a great place to start.
As I built my family tree, with more and more information gleaned from various sources, not least of which was ancestry.co.uk a story from my childhood kept coming back and niggling at the back of my mind. My paternal grandmother was a great storyteller; I used to sit at her feet enthralled, listening to stories ranging from fairies at the bottom of my grandfather’s allotment to the tale of the man who, being wrongfully accused of a very, very bad crime, was sent far, far away from his family and friends to a desolate place across the sea, never to return. I remember my sister and I having very bad dreams about him and my mother telling us not to fret as it was only a story and not true.
Over the years my research dragged on. Then one day, I got a letter from my aunt, in response to a plea for help with the seemingly endless list of children borne to my great grandparents. She listed all the children that she knew of and then, at the bottom of the last page, mentioned just how bad life had been for some people in those days and gave as an example, the visits made to Lancaster Castle by female members of my great great grandmother’s family. She had been told the stories as a little girl, about women walking miles to vist a male relative imprisoned in the jail there.
This must be the man in my grandmother’s story. He was real! I knew then that I wouldn’t rest until I had found out all Icould, I just had to know who this man was and if indeed he was one of my ancestors…………….(to be continued)