Wheatley Local History Society

by | 13 May 2019 | Gainsborough, Heritage, Hobbies, Retford

The Wheatley Local History Society welcomed back Lynda Hotchkiss on Monday 17th September, with her extraordinary tale of ‘A Family Tangle.’ Her own profile notes read as follows — “ I was able to work at my hobby and get paid for it when I became staff genealogist at Lincolnshire Archives. The old dusty records used to build a family tree, hide so many stories just waiting to be told.”This proved to be so true as she took us through a maze of names and relationships that sent us dizzy with the confusion of marriages, births, cousins and inter marriage within close families. All this led to great amusement as we tried to keep up with surnames used as given, or Christian names to identify the fathers. Half siblings by blood, half in laws by marriage as well as half cousins by marriage were all documented, there were great step grandmothers and on the screen we watched as lines were drawn through generations to show the links.

The investigation started with the Rippin family which was traced back from Tattersall, Lincolnshire to Sprowston, Leicestershire. The research led to murder, and one man marrying two sisters, confusion with two cemeteries next to one another in the tiny hamlet of Froghall. People seemed to have disappeared, only to be found on the census called by nickname rather than registered names. Newspaper reports of murder over a tin of corned beef and a dog, wives buried with husbands but named on the stone by their second husband’s surname all added to the intrigue. One name of a participant in this story was the wonderful Charlotte Fanthorpe Brackenbury — how could you miss her on a census? Then to cap it all Betsy, the youngest sister in one family married both her deceased sisters’ husbands before marrying her stepfather with children fathered by them all. So it is not surprising that Linda’s talk was truly ‘A Family Tangle’. Her two published books incidentally are titled ‘Bad Boys and Naughty Girls’ and ‘Mrs Cave, Her Husband and His Wife’. If our talk was anything to go by they should both be a good read!

Our next meeting of the Society will be on Monday 19th November when we welcome back retired ‘Bobbie’, author and raconteur Martyn Johnson who’s talk will be entitled “How the Black Diamonds Book was Made”. For details of any of our activities call Dave on 01427 880934 or Alan on 01427 884147.