« Last post by Susanne on April 12, 2015, 07:03:24 PM »
Meeting: 9 April 2015 Members Forum My favourite ancestor
Almost everyone attending described what they felt was their most interesting family member - sometimes their favourite in terms of research rather than in terms of personality.
This was certainly true of the first character whose name was Isaac Wolfe Wolfe. Tracing him through registers, censuses, newspapers and court reports revealed that although he described himself at least once as a gentleman and was for a few years employed as a police sergeant he was a serial bigamist and embezzler. A later court appearance was for attempted suicide but he claimed he was trying to shoot flies on the ceiling when he shot his ear. Probate to his wife (the original one) in 1900 showed he left £1760. Another fascinating character was the family black sheep who was sent to Australia and not spoken about in front of the younger generation. He left an illegitimate daughter in England and later married in Australia but after spending WW1 in the Camel Corps he abandoned his wife and their daughter. Much later his granddaughter researched her ancestry and made contact with the current family members. Australia was the home for a while of a great uncle whose family was from a community of gardeners employed at Hampton Court. Thomas learned to play “real tennis” there when young and was coached by the professional to play and make racquets. He often made up a doubles foursome when Edward (later Edward VII) came with friends to play. Later he coached and organised tournaments and was invited to Tasmania and then Melbourne to set up new real tennis Courts there. Questions of legitimacy came up frequently - in one case a gentleman only married his housekeeper three years after the first of their large family was born. One of his jobs as a churchwarden in Glasgow was to keep watch on the churchyard, on a rota, for body snatchers. Another member’s ancestor had ‘splodged’ the date of her marriage in the family bible to hide the fact that it was 3 years later than she claimed. Lies and evasions were not uncommon and, as one person remarked, the family members would have been horrified to hear us talking about them. Family stories are not always to be trusted as the truth is often more straightforward - but not as colourful - eg the reasons for apparently running away from home. However, many ancestral relations were models of behaviour, one brought up his 3 very young motherless children. His family were so proud of him that they produced an A4 book of his life for family members.
The members stories were so interesting that it was suddenly 8.40pm before we stopped in favour of tea and coffee.