I’ve always been fascinated with my ancestors; after all, I wouldn’t be here without them. Take a minute to think about your ancestors: If any single one of them had made different decisions, chosen different husbands/wives, died earlier or later, or even had a headache and not felt in the mood, that fateful night that they got jiggy with it and conceived the next in line… you wouldn’t have been born.
That’s pretty fundamental; you wouldn’t be alive if it wasn’t for them. Their decisions made it possible for you to exist.
So, I started to trace my family tree. I had secret wish (which I’m sure most ancestor seekers do) to find something really interesting; I wanted to find I was a descendant or relative of royalty, or Shakespeare, or Austen, or something really fascinating.
To my surprise and delight; I am related to some pretty interesting people (many with Wikipedia pages!), and in and effort to share with my many living relatives and anyone else who cares enough to listen… here’s some of what I found.
Lady Jane Grey, Queen of England – 9 days Queen – my 3rd cousin x14 removed. Born in 1537, Lady Jane Grey was crowned Queen of England for only 9 days before Henry VIII’s daughter Mary took over. Jane was executed at the Tower of London for treason. Her Grandfather, Charles Brandon – my 1st cousin x16 removed, was a close friend and brother-in-law to Henry VIII. I couldn’t resist adding Henry to my family tree too, although only very distantly related by marriage!
Maria Margaret France Pennington – my great great great great grandmother, born in 1783… I noticed that she was born at Muncaster Castle, so as soon as I spotted that I was intrigued by her history. Turns out, her father (my 5th great grandfather) was Sir John Pennington, and his father before him (my 6th great grandfather), Sir Joseph Pennington. And Sir Joseph and all his ancestors before him, lived in Muncaster Castle since 1066, according to the family tree on display Muncaster Castle.
I went there recently and found it fascinating to think that decisions and lives that were made and played out in that building, meant that I would one day be born. There was a painting of Maria Pennington – I’m pretty sure the same one – inside the castle, and there was something about her face that seemed familiar, even before I realised (to my delight) that it was her. I also spotted a painting of Margaret Lowther, my 7th great grandmother, born in 1682. I recommend it for a visit; the Pennington family (my distant cousins, I suppose!) still live there today. Lovely place with beautiful grounds.
Alexander Lindsay – (left) my 5th great grandfather – was owner of Haigh Hall in Lancashire. You can trace his (and my!) ancestors back through on Wikipedia, just click this link to read about him, and then click to read about his father, my 6th great grandfather James Lindsay, and so on, going back quite far.
This is just a flavour of what I’ve found about the people who led to my existence :) I highly recommend ancestry.co.uk to anyone who wants to trace their family tree. If you’re related to me, connect with me on there and I’ll share what I’ve done so far…