family tree is starting to get quite wide, and new branches are popping
out everywhere. Ive noticed a pattern emerging as well. In the late
1700s, Thomas was a popular name and was passed down over at least four
generations. William as a second name also seemed quite widespread.
from the website team suggested that a quick pursuit on an Internet search
engine might be a good idea. I was sceptical but gave it a go and got
a result on my first search. I put my great-great-great-great-grandfather's
name, Thomas Camm, as the subject and a web page for Coaley was listed.
It had all of the memorial inscriptions for St Bartholomew's Churchyard
down, and my descendants were listed. It not only opened new doors by
telling me where they were buried, but it also told me the year they were
born and their exact date of death.
to visit the graves so I went to Coaley and found them. It was one of
the biggest and most lavish tombs in the Churchyard, so the family obviously
had some wealth. In the one crypt lay the bodies of Thomas, his wife Anne,
his daughter Anne and his son John, next to it was the resting place for
a further six family members.
This is the
furthest that Ive managed to go back, so it was quite a find and
will help with further research.
was in the village I also got talking to some of the locals, and they
told me about Dr Ray Wilson, an expert in local history. I met up with
him and he told me about the tithe map from 1839. It contained the information
about who lived, what property they owned and how much land they were
farming. Back then, before income tax, the locals had to give ten percent
of their produce to the church and the landowner. Thats where the
term tithe barn comes from, where ten percent was collected. My Internet
research told me that my great-great-great-great-grandmother Anne Camm
died in 1940 in Coaly so she should be on the map, but that would involve
a trip to Gloucester records office.
along early to the Records Office and James Turtle was there to greet
me. He managed to find the right map in the huge vaults and it also came
with an apportionment. This was a large old book that contained all the
details. The map was huge at over eight feet long and not in the best
condition but we found what we wanted. Anne was listed as occupying over
eighteen acres in the south of Coaly, which was owned by her son Samuel.
This gave me a further insight into my families past, with farming being
a major link throughout the generations, and still going on to this day.
Internet search engine went blank for the rest of the family, that is,
until I put in the name of my great-great-grandfather's nephew, Sydney
Camm. Dozens of references came up for him as being a famous aircraft
designer, who was responsible for creating the Hawker Hurricane. I remembered
that my Nan used to talk about an old uncle of hers that used to design
planes. I needed to prove a connection, so I phoned the Berkshire record
office as the websites said he was born in Windsor. The team there were
very helpful, and found out that Sydneys father was Fredrick William
Camm, Thomas William Camms brother!
We got it.
I was really proud of my family's past, but now I was connected to a man
who made a huge contribution to World!
still got lots of research to do, and I must admit that for someone who
didnt really want to start in the first place, Im really looking
forward to it. Its been an amazing adventure, and a valuable and
wise investment of my time. Ive learnt so much about my family's
past, and feel richer for it.
advise everyone to start their family tree as its great fun and
you just never know what you might find.