Alan Crosby's blog: Where do I really come from?

By Guest, 28 January 2016 - 1:58pm

Alan Crosby mapped out the birthplaces of his 16 great great grandparents – an exercise that revealed just how far apart some of his forebears were scattered

Dr Alan Crosby is the editor of the Local Historian and a columnist for WDYTYA? MagazineThursday 28 January 2016
Alan Crosby
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Did your 16 great great grandparents hail from the British Isles like Alan's forebears, or did they come from further afield? (Photo: Getty Images)

Between 1820 and 1845, a total of 16 people were born who, although they didn’t know it, were destined to become really important figures. None of them had any connection with the others – at least not then.

But by the vagaries of fate and quirks of romantic meetings, one-night stands, looking for jobs, migrating from poverty or being upwardly mobile, they ended up as seven married couples and a casual pairing, and – how lucky for all concerned – go down in history as my great great grandparents.

I was looking at the list while testing a New Year’s resolution – choosing which branch of the family to focus on next. And doing a quick check: how much of a mongrel am I? Where were these 16 born and what fraction of me comes from where?

I was pleased with the results. As a loyal resident of Lancashire, it is very satisfactory that seven-sixteenths of me is from this fantastic county. Six of those sixteenths were from Manchester (the greatest city in England), while another sixteenth came from Salford, just over the River Irwell. Another two of my great great grandparents were born in Cheshire, meaning that more than half of me comes from the North West. Grand!

And what of the remainder? One-sixteenth each from Oxfordshire, Essex, London, Yorkshire, Ireland and Wales. But it’s the first of these places that carried the magic surname ‘Crosby’. Banbury is where that precious ancestral line was located, right back to the 1500s. So I am indeed a mongrel, although not as much as some.

On a map of the British Isles, the pins to show ancestral birthplaces are nicely scattered – more research beckons!

Have you ever done a similar exercise? Let us know in the comments below.
 

Alan Crosby lives in Lancashire and is editor of The Local Historian. He is an honorary research fellow at Lancashire and Liverpool universities.

 

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