52 Ancestors in 52 weeks
52 Ancestors in 52 weeks is a challenge to write a short blog post about one ancestor each week for a year. Finding the time to do this will certainly be a challenge, but nonetheless, worth a try. In 2022, I only managed to last for 8 weeks, but am keen to try this again. I will try to highlight the stories of one ancestor each week. Over the last couple of years I have collected many documents, photographs and newspaper articles involving an ancestor, and see this challenge as an excellent way to bring some of this material to life. Since doing an Ancestry DNA test, I regularly get notified of new cousins as DNA matches. In the course of investigating their connections to the more than 1000 relatives already included in the WatsonRoots tree, I discover some inspiring, powerful, sometimes tragic and occasionally rather odd adventures of my relatives. This challenge was created by Amy Johnson Crow some years back, and is happening again in 2023.
Each week has a different theme. The challenge is to find an ancestor story matching one of these themes each week.
This weeks theme for the 52 ancestors in 52 weeks challenge is ‘Education’, so I used the opportunity to find out more about my great uncle who was a professor of physiology at Bristol University, and who had an electrical node in the heart named after him – the Bundle of Kent.
Melbourne 1857 – My 2x great grandfather landed here on 11th July 1857. He was employed as a ship’s surgeon on board the ‘William Eyre”, after having being fired from his job as medical officer for the Islandshire district in Northumberland (for being drunk whilst treating a patient).
The theme for this weeks 52 ancestors is “Favourite photo’s”. I don’t really have a single favourite photo, but I do like family trees with thumbnail pics of ancestors. Obviously, the further back you go, this is not possible as the world’s first photo was taken in 1826 (and my tree goes back to the 1500’s).
The theme for this weeks 52 ancestors challenge is “I’d like to meet …” Well, there really is one person I would like to meet, but the conversation might be a bit awkward. She is Anne Rudgard, my great grandmother – born in Lincoln in 1824, and passed away at the age of 95 in 1919.
In the only photograph I have of her, she looks really really serious, and conservative. Definitely not a party animal. But then again, she was married at the age of 25 to the local vicar (my great grandfather) who was 47 at the time, and proceeded to have 7 children over the next 14 years.
In the Charles Booth Archive, there is a map of London drawn in 1898 which highlights the extent of poverty in London. Charles Booth accompanied police officers on a tour of each district, street by street where they described the inhabitants, levels of poverty & crime and colour coded a map of streets from upper class & wealthy, down to lowest class to vicious, semi criminal. As my Crowder relations lived in London around this time, this seems to be a good topic to explore in the “MAPS” theme from #52ancestors this week. Could the reason they decided to relocate to the colonies be linked to changes in the social character of their neighbourhood?
When I first started researching my family tree, it was just on my maternal Watson side, as I already had a copy of a tree inherited from my father of the paternal Kent side. This soon evolved to researching the lines of my 2 grandmothers families (Crowder & Hobson) and the lines of my half-siblings (Wall). This proved invaluable when I received the results of my first DNA test, as I was able to trace the relationships of some of my matches and also confirm the research from historical records. There were however many, many DNA matches, who completely unknown to me, which was the prompt to branch out even further.
For this weeks 52 ancestors in 52 weeks challenge, I reviewed a curious record of 2 Dudley Charles Wall’s – One in Canada, and one in the USA …. could they be the same person? It seems feasible that they are both records of the same person, born in England in 1875, who may have migrated to Canada in 1903, and later moved to the USA in 1915, however newspaper articles and obituaries make no mention of his time in Canada, or the family he left behind….. Or maybe they are 2 separate people who happened to have the same name and left England at about the same time?
The theme for this weeks 52 ancestors in 52 weeks challenge is ‘Favourite Photos’. I decided to use the opportunity to find photos of my grandparents, who I never met as they had passed away by the time I was born. I thought I would also try out MyHeritage’s new Photo enhancing and colourising technology …. and the results were amazing!
When I first received an old box of family documents from my mother relating to her Watson family from Holy Island in Northumberland, it included 2 letters from her great