6 Jul 2010


Inspired by Tracie's post entitled WARNING: FAMILY TREE MAY CONTAIN NUTS, I thought I'd post about my researching my family tree.

Something I'd thought about for a lot of years, it was my late Nana's insistence that we were related to the Rowntree family that finally decided me. That, and the very first episode of Who Do you Think You Are - A BBC tv programme in which 'celebrities' trace their family trees.

Now as lots of you are aware I love (with a capital 'l') my chocolate. So much so that people have been known to joke that it is chocolate that runs through my veins, that when I cut myself  I bleed pure chocolate - imagine then how excited I was to think that Nana could be right and I might indeed be related to JOSEPH ROWNTREE, founder of the chocolate dynasty.

To cut a long story short and not to keep you all in suspense, research showed that I wasn't related to Joseph Rowntree but ..........

I was related to a family of Rontree's who, believe it or not, were confectioners. Living in York at the back end of the 18th century, the lady of the house was one of many COTTAGE INDUSTRY workers who, in order to 'make ends meet', worked from home as a subcontractor, producing confectionery.

An easy mistake to make, I can see how over the years Rontree became Rowntree. I'm just so glad that Nana wasn't completely wrong.

So did I learn anything else?

Yes, I learnt that a lot of my ancestors actually came from Norfolk. Finding it difficult to cope with the onset of the INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION many travelled to the north east of England looking for work in the factories and the coal mining and shipping industries.

Most strange of all though, it turns out that some settled not far from Husband dearest's long-dead relatives, working in the same coal mines. To think that our relatives worked and lived side by side really excites me and I sometimes joke that if I go any further back we will find that we are actually related.

Have you tried to research your family tree? Did you discover you were related to anyone with an exciting story to tell.


Jessica said...

I can see how the names could be slightly changes over the years but its still in the chocolate area.

My MIL is really into family tree stuff but unfortunately nothing as interesting came up. It did make me chuckle a little as my MILs mum likes to think of herself as a little 'higher' than everyone else and is a bit of a snob. So she wasnt happy when her family tree just threw up labourers.

Vivienne said...

The Rontree/Rowntree history shows you how easily history can be misrepresented through time, doesn't it. I was told that my dad's side of the family were originally Romany gypsies,but I am not so sure. My mum's side were Welsh miners, which I am quite proud of and apparently my great grandfather helped to build the Severn bridge, but you never know if that is true.

NabilaHazirah said...

i've never research my family before,but its sounds really exciting..i mean who knows what you might discover about your ancestors!

i think yours is really cool!
thank you for the award,no doubt i'll post it.


GMR said...

Interesting post! Family trees are those things that always hold some bit of the unknown....it's great that you were able to discover yours more fully and found out one reason why you love chocolate! LOL. Have never researched my own as we really don't have any extended family to speak of, but perhaps one day.... Thanks for sharing! ^_^

Arti said...

You definitely love your chocolates...thats why you are so sweet!! My dashboard didnt update your posts until this one...missed some posts of yours..

Kelly said...

Like Arti, my dashboard didn't notify me about several of your posts, either. So I haven't been ignoring you!! I really should just check your blog every day considering you're usually good about updating it daily.

I'm not much into genealogy, but I've had lots of relatives who were, so they've done much of the research for me. Actually, most of my kinfolk came from the UK and Ireland.

I think it's all quite interesting as long as I don't have to do the research myself!

Oh...and I think we all have our share of nuts in that tree (and skeletons in the closet)!

Oddyoddyo13 said...

I wouldn't know the first thing about researching something like that...I only know that my grandmother's grandfather's name is french. LoL

Its so awesome that you found this stuff out! :)

Valerie said...

You and your husband just might be distant relatives!

My dad's paternal grandparents were distantly related to each other from Edward II (and his direct ancestors), but they never knew it. The connection was made years later when my aunt discovered it through genealogical research. She, and my late grandma, are the ones who did all the research, not me!

Nikki-ann said...

I've climbed all over my tree and most of my ancestors seem to be agricultural labourers... not much of interest there... and no hint of anyone famous. Still, I do enjoy doing family history research :)

Oh, just imagine if you had been related to THE Rowntrees!

purplume said...

Love the drawing.
My sister does the genealogy studies.
On my mother's mother's side we came from Canada. My sister said some French whores were sent over to marry soldiers and one was a relative of ours.
I am very much a mongrel, but the French part has always been y favorite.

purplume said...

I wish I had said prostitutes. I think that sounds a tad better.

Alison said...

How cool! My family has been in the US for a very long time. My grandmother's ancestors arrived in the mid 1600s and even sold land to the ancestors of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. One branch of my grandpa's family arrived on the Mayflower in 1620. The other came over from Germany in the mid-1700s.

Alison said...

One more thing: I just gave you an award. http://alisoncanread.blogspot.com/2010/07/prolific-blogger-award.html

chitra said...

Nice post PW
My husband's side family tree was made and it was really interesting to see the number of families linked with ours.

Ocean Girl said...

You must be overflowing with love and romance too :) My family tree went up to my greatgrandparents and that's it. And they were from Indonesia, China and India.

Dorte H said...

I loved that one about the family nuts! LOL

I don´t need to research for nuts, several of them are still alive, but I know I have some thieves among my ancestors. They stole wheat off a wrecked ship in 1790 and went to prison for two years. I also have an ancestor whose brother *may* have killed his wife by throwing her down a well.

Congratulations on your 100 followers!

Jenners said...

That is so weird that your relatives worked side by side in the mines!

Tracie said...

I don't know that much about my family tree. It's always been something I've wanted to research though.

Thanks for the link!

Diane said...

I never took on this project, but an aunt on my father's side did research -- nothing interesting though.

Trac~ said...

LOL how cool is that! So neat! I want to trace all of my relatives back but haven't gotten very far with it. I have a lot of stuff written down that I got from my grandfather years ago. Also, regarding the trunk, yes I am refurbishing it myself and it will be a gift to my daughter. :o) xoxoxo

Betty Manousos:cutand-dry.blogspot.com said...

How interesting!
I think your ancestors are really great!
I need to trace all of my ancestors ..I really don't know that much about my family tree.

I have taken a blog break. Just popped in to say hi, Tracy.

Have a great Thursday!
Love and hugs,
~B xx

Sandy M. said...

I'll have to send you some chocolate from Australia Tracy! :) We're a bit famous for it, but perhaps England has great chocolate too? :)

It was fun to read a bit about your family tree, thank you! :)