My degree was in History and English and one of my dissertation projects was my family tree. This was *cough* 16 years ago now, but I was utterly hooked on finding out where my family had come from and who they were. Back then I’d have to hunt in dusty libraries and records offices for any information Now of course you pop something into Google, Ancestry or FamilySearch and you have the information in seconds. But by the time I’d met Paul I’d pretty much done my tree back to the 15th Century, so imagine my delight when we married and had Miss L – I had a whole new tree to find!
Recently though Miss L’s been watching ‘Who do you think you are’ and has now taken an interest in her own family. So on Saturday as we are very fortunate to live near the area Paul’s family come from (mine’s Scotland, Somerset and London) we headed to the village his great grandfather lived, in the 1880’s. I’d driven through it but never stopped off and looked round the churchyard for family graves. So we thought it might be fun to see if we could find any – we are bit of a weird family!
This is Woodditton Church which was mentioned as property of King Canute (995AD) and is in the Domesday Book in 1086. As from the records I’d found that Paul’s family had lived in the village for about 200 years I was pretty confident that there should be some gravestones for us to look at. Gravestones are also an excellent source of information as things tend to be written on the stones that are missing from any other record about the person, so always good to find.
We were a bit disappointed when we got to the graveyard and there seemed to be a lot of missing stones as the graveyard seemed very empty for what has been a thriving village for centuries. But we started our hunt…..which went on and on for about an hour and there was not one gravestone of Paul’s family.
Just as we were about to give up Paul pulled some moss from an old stone which was lying on the floor, and there she was Miss L’s great, great, great, great, great Grandmother Eliza Jane Wiseman and her daughter also an Eliza Jane. So we cleared the grave of moss and tidied up around it.
This side is of her daughter as the older Eliza’s side was virtually unreadable, but we very happy to have found them and made their grave more presentable. We have no idea where the rest of their family is though, it’s possible the stones have been uprooted over the years so I’ll have to contact the church to find out.
But Miss L was amazed to find it and very excited, she now wants to go to some of the other churches in the area and learn more about where she comes from, which is what I wanted to achieve.