My dad’s family – the Roberts’
I have been able to trace my dad’s ancestors over four centuries – as far back as 1602. The Roberts family story has a cast of thousands. The vast majority lived and worked on farms, villages and towns in Mid and North Devon. My research into 400 years of the Roberts family provides a rare glimpse into the past. One in which my forebears lived without the creature comforts we take for granted today. When the horse and cart ruled the highways and homes were lit by candles and paraffin lamps. When families lived on often meagre earnings in times when they could starve if they couldn’t work, and when children as young as eight worked the land.
Pictures below: My great-grandfather, Benjamin Roberts; my great-grandmother, Elizabeth Roberts (nee Burnett); my grandfather, George Burnett Roberts, who served in the Great War; my grandmother, Lilian Ellen Roberts.
My research reveals:
- How dozens of young men fought in and lost their lives in the Boer and two world wars
- The devastating loss of so many babies and young children from sickness and in accidents
- The families who left Devon to make new lives elsewhere in the UK and abroad
- How generation after generation of the Roberts family have continued to live and work in Devon
My mum’s family – the Arscotts
When I started to research my mum’s family more than 20 years ago, I was given a 30-page document that would provide the foundation for a series of remarkable discoveries. Detailing the history of the Arscotts, it painstakingly recorded the names, births, marriages and deaths of seven generations of the family over a 300-year period dating back to the early 1700s. Brilliantly researched and produced by a cousin of mine, it inspired me to find out more about the hundreds of ancestors and others named in the family tree. In the most detailed history of my mum’s family ever produced, I uncovered an amazing family link to Winston Churchill – and to one of the first governors of New South Wales, Australia.
Pictures below: My great-grandparents, Daniel and Sarah Arscott and four of their eight children; my grandparents, William Henry and Henrietta ‘Hetty’ May Arscott.
I also discovered:
- Heroes of the Napoleonic, Boer and two world wars
- Connections to many of the great families of Devon including the Langworthys, the Luxmoores, whose ancestors have lived in the county since at least 1297, the Bastards of Gerston, near West Alvington and the Reynells, of Malston Manor, Sherford, near Kingsbridge
- Links to some of the most influential early settlers, explorers, adventurers and rulers in the New World in the Victorian age
- How fire, farm and road accidents and illness brought great tragedy and drama in the 19th and 20th Centuries