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Your Ancestors

(68 Posts)
NanKate Sat 08-Jun-19 17:15:49

On a BBC Programme this morning they asked listeners to phone in and describe any ancestors who were famous or had interesting jobs.

My great-grandfather was a Music Hall artiste
My grandfather was a singer, dancer and comedian in the Music Hall
My grandmother was his scriptwriter

What about your ancestors and how far back can you go ?

Diggingdoris Sun 09-Jun-19 16:24:06

A distant relative was a famous actress in the silent movies and she lived in a posh apartment next door to Eamonn Andrews. Her husband was the entrepreneur who introduced photo booths to the UK.

00mam00 Sun 09-Jun-19 15:39:19

My fathers infamous cousin was hung by Pierrepoint for treason in WWII. And he was cousin by marriage to a 1950s film star who appeared in many westerns.

Tweedle24 Sun 09-Jun-19 15:19:01

A gg uncle caught venomous snakes in the Essex marshes and extracted the venom for hospital use. He talked about the wildlife of the marshland on a weekly radio programme and used to to travel to London to broadcast it. One day the BBC announced, just before the programme was aired, that they were going to reduce his fee. He walked out, leaving them in the lurch for the programme. He never went back.

Barnet Sun 09-Jun-19 14:47:53

Hi oodles.
Interesting story.
My Saltmarshe ancestor was born in the late 18th century on the 'wrong side of the blanket' as they say. His mother/father ( not sure what gender they were) seems to have left Howden in East Yorkshire where the Saltmarshe family came from and settled in Selby about 15 miles away, probably to avoid a scandal.

The family have now died out as the last Saltmarshe died childless in 1970, but his father wrote a book in the late 19th century which talked of my grandfather's family but also (the old snob) denied they were anything to do with him, despite my g-grandfather resembling the 'posh Saltmarshes' to an alarming degree! My g-uncles tried to make a claim on the will, but it would have cost them too much.

Never been able to get to the bottom of it though.

Pat1949 Sun 09-Jun-19 14:27:08

One of my ancestors was deported to Australia for stealing a sheep. Now one of his Grandchildren (not sure how many generations on) is a top horse breeder over there.

Pat1949 Sun 09-Jun-19 14:19:54

Alan Sillitoe, the author of Saturday Night and Sunday Morning was my 3rd cousin 1x removed (quite distant). He looked so much like my dad and aunt.

gillyknits Sun 09-Jun-19 14:04:29

One of my DH’s relatives was also sent to Tasmania for being a look out to a robbery. He settled there and married and now my DH has hundreds of very distant relatives in Tasmania. They even have their own web page!

oodles Sun 09-Jun-19 13:46:26

Barnet, I have a saltmarsh connection back in the 17th century, when I have chance to probe further I must dig deeper into it.
A several times great uncle was transported to Tasmania for armed robbery, and did much better there than he would have had he been a good boy and stayed home. Through John of Gaunt back to Gundrada wife if William de Warrene and then back to the likes of Good king Wenceslas once you have a royal connection no matter how far back you get all sorts of famous and infamous people.

Foxyferret Sun 09-Jun-19 13:35:55

One of my ancestors was fined for being drunk in charge of a cart. I love her already.

Shelagh6 Sun 09-Jun-19 13:04:43

GBS was my Grandfather’s cousin. He employed him in his Land Agent’s office before Shaw came to England.

Bijou Sun 09-Jun-19 13:02:17

In the 17th century an ancestor owned a sugar plantation in Barbados owning over ninety slaves. He made a fortune when slavery was abolished from compensation from the British government. The slaves got nothing.
My maternal grandfather was a friend of Keir Hardie and helped to form the Labout Party.
An American traced our family right back to when the Danes landed in Scotland.

Booklady54 Sun 09-Jun-19 12:59:19

My grandfather, Sir Arthur Quekett drafted the Constitution of Northern Ireland and his books are still the definitive works on Law in Northern Ireland.

Blinko Sun 09-Jun-19 12:42:51

tanith try You tube and search for

Wellesbourne Sings Historical Protest Songs At Joseph Arch Centenary Event 2019

We knew a different tune, but this one's to the tune of Should Auld Acquaintance...

petra Sun 09-Jun-19 12:14:24

My gggg? Grandfather was on the Bounty. The first we knew about it was when a chap from Pitcairn contacted my father.

Authoress Sun 09-Jun-19 12:08:25

My g-g-grandfather was the Emperor of Russia - if you squint a bit, that brings you back to Harold Godwineson's elder daughter, who was sent off to Russia to marry Saint Vladimir l smile
Along, of course, with most of Europe.
That connection turned out to be seriously useful when I was researching my first historical novel, though, because I was able to trace back a particular chunk of land back to the Battle of Hastings, when it was given to Harold's common-law wife Edith in return for identifying Harold's body on the battlefield - "by diverse marks only she could know" smile It carried on through three generations as the women's dower land until 1188, when Henry ll's mistress gave it to my man Wimer the Chaplain. A very cool story smile

Daftnan Sun 09-Jun-19 12:04:13

I have an ancestor on my mother's side who murdered at least one person, and a number of his family members. When he was arrested and imprisoned he announced that he was Jack the Ripper. Although the murders were at the same time as the ripper murders, this was later proved not to be the case.

Greenfinch Sun 09-Jun-19 11:53:17

One of ny ancestors was a ship's carpenter from the Aaland Isles. He was shipwrecked off the coast of North Uist and married a local girl. Hence I have Scottish ancestors with a Finnish/Swedish surname.

Pittcity Sun 09-Jun-19 11:48:07

I have an illegitimate son of an Earl and a London philanthropist who left a bequest for female descendants. Unfortunately the money ran out just before I could claim.

Marieeliz Sun 09-Jun-19 11:46:19

My grandmother was the daughter of the Sexton of St Bride's Church Fleet Street. That is the only surprise for me as my grandfather was from Gilsfield in Monmouthshire he must have travelled to London and then they all moved to Liverpool. It didn't do them much good as both of them died of TB at a young age. That is as famous as it gets the connection with St Bride's.

Rosina Sun 09-Jun-19 11:37:57

One of my gggggg ancestors painted a portrait of Elizabeth 1 . Other than that, like Pamela, we are quite an uninteresting bunch.

tanith Sun 09-Jun-19 11:15:31

Blinko no I’ve not heard that song or the story do you have any links to them I’ve looked but can find nothing.
We did go to the Tolpuddle museum and tree a few years ago maybe I should visit again.

Barnet Sun 09-Jun-19 11:11:50

Christopher Saltmarshe, an ancestor of my mother's, married Emma Rawson, his cousin. Her brothers were Jeremiah and Christopher Rawson who are featured in the BBC's Gentleman Jack.
Emma and Christopher Saltmarshe were good friends of Anne Lister.
Very proud of this family connection!

Purplepoppies Sun 09-Jun-19 11:07:28

My great grandfather was a famous aviator. 😊

Opalsusanna1 Sun 09-Jun-19 11:00:30

On my paternal side, my g.g.grandfather was the youngest son of an acting family. His father was an actor manager who worked with Thomas Ternan who was the father of Charles Dickens' mistress. His eldest brother married one of two acting sisters, Frances Cranmer Oliver. Her sister Martha or Pattie was an actor/manager in the 1860s and her portraits are in the National Gallery. Her husband was the heir to Phillips auctioneers and when she died, he married his niece by marriage, Katie Hastings, who was also an actor until her death in 1890. Her son, my grandma's cousin, also went into acting and married a star of operettas. When that marriage failed, he went abroad and came back to London with a mistress who became a Gracie Fields impersonator. He had 3 sons in his sixties that I'm in touch with, after believing that he had died childless.
The eldest sister of the original surviving 6 brothers and sisters married an actor manager and had 3 children, one of whose daughters was known as The Disappearing Lady in Edwardian London as she married one of the Maskelyne sons who were famous magicians and she was the leading ladies in their playlets and some of their most famous illusions.

I've loved researching them and have written a blog about them.

Peardrop50 Sun 09-Jun-19 10:52:34

My famous ancestor is my great Uncle Jack Wilson of Wilson, Kepple and Betty. They were a sand-dance act and appeared often at the London Palladium. I do remember him coming to our house for dinner when I was a small child and eating all the daffodils from a vase on the table, or so I thought.

I haven't looked back at my ancestry but would love to find some excitement, the madame of a brothel, a highwayman or perhaps an inventor of the wheel. A thread for another time perhaps.