‘My family are like the Dingles in Emmerdale!’

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  • Vicky’s nan died recently and meeting loads of people at the funeral she didn’t know prompted her to start looking into her family tree. Here’s her story…

    ‘My mum fell out with her family quite a few years ago so I didn’t know much about them, all I knew was that she had four brothers, her Dad was German and they lived in Abingdon in Oxfordshire – I didn’t even know their first names.

    I decided that the best place to start was by talking to my mum.

    I found out that my grandma was originally called Muriel Thatcher and her mum, my great-grandma, was called Ena Fitzgerald. My uncles were called Nick, Simon, Gavin and Adrian and my grandad was called Erwin Ewald Herbert Reinhold Bosse! I thought my Grandma’s line would probably be the easiest to do so that’s where I began.

    I signed up to Genesreunited which was really easy and started building my family tree there; just putting in the information that I knew.

    I then started searching on Ancestry.co.uk. I just typed in Ena Fitzgerald in Oxfordshire and got a list of results.

    I found out that Ena’s middle name was Victoria and that I was named after this. She was born in June 1897 and she got married to Harry Thatcher in 1920. This was quite a find for me because my mum didn’t even know her grandad’s name was Harry.

    I got the names of Ena’s sisters and parents by looking at the 1901 census which showed me all the people who lived with Ena on that date.

    I then just carried on searching for all the names using the different censuses and records and have now managed to go back to 1796.

    I’ve discovered that my great-great-grandma was called Zilpah and other relatives were called Shadrach, Lot, Tozia and Lazarus – at least this narrows things down when I’m searching, although it does sound like the Dingle family from Emmerdale.

    My great-great-great-grandma died during childbirth leaving her husband to bring up six children on his own, my great-great uncle Shadrach died when he was only 17 and I have two sets of twins in my family history!

    I’ve also found relatives which are still alive and lines of my family I never knew. One of my very distant cousins not only went to the same university as me she is also doing a very similar course and lives next door to someone I met at university myself!

    I’ve only looked at one line of my tree and I’ve found out loads of information for very little money. I think my nan and my grandad’s family trees will be a lot harder to find because they’re abroad but I’ve become addicted to finding out all about where I come from so it’ll be a good challenge!’

    Vicky Woollaston, 23, from Portsmouth

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