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Dear Karen

Karen Clare is wowed by information about the numbers of family burials readers have found in a single churchyard or cemetery… and unearths a few more surprising tales in this issue’s column of genealogical gems


Writing this while looking out of my window at an ominously grey and gloomy sky, I’m rather in need of cheering up. Thankfully reader Amanda West has come to the rescue with a glorious find she made in the General Register Office marriage indexes that put a big smile back on my face. Amanda, from Sunbury on Thames, wrote in after spotting in the September quarter for 1855 that Henry Wooff had married Ann Barker! Not only did that give me paws for thought (whoops, a slip of the tongue/keyboard there!), but Amanda tells me the newlyweds lived in Berkshire (pronounced Barkshire, of course, for any non-Brits reading this). It really wouldn’t have surprised me if they’d come from Barking though!

‘Must have been a noisy household,’ observes our eagle-eyed correspondent (or should that be beagle-eyed? Sorry, I’ll get me coat). Has anyone else chanced upon animal- or other themed names in their researches that made them grin like an, erm, Cheshire cat?


Talking of Barking in Essex, we’ve had a fantastic response from across the world to the challenge thrown down by Vic Grimes in December 2019 FT. Vic wanted to know if anyone could beat the number of ancestors/relatives he has buried in Barking’s Ripple Road cemetery: the figure to beat is 28 (you can refresh your memory by reading it online at

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About Family Tree

Get smarter at tracking down those births, marriages & deaths with our step-by-step guide to using the latest online indexes. Join in with part 1 of our surname supersleuth series and unlock the family history clues hidden in your family name. Learn how to use DNA Painter and piece together the story of your genes. Find out about family history software to make your research so much more organised: an introduction to the key programs. And don’t forget to check out the Family Tree Live programme of family history lectures & workshops this spring. Find your pull-out guide inside! Hurry – some are fully booked already! Find inspiration, information and great ideas to help you trace your roots today with Family Tree...