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Diarist Gill Shaw charts the rollercoaster ride of researching her family history


I’ve got that kid in a sweet shop feeling. There are so many possibilities now I know Agnes and Henry Wrigley are my 4x great-grandparents. But for once, I’m going to be sensible and stick with the censuses. How many of Agnes and Henry’s children can I trace, and what little nuggets might I have missed when I thought they were just a side shoot of my tree?

First, let’s quickly recheck the 1841 Census with Agnes Wrigley and co living in Woodward Street, Manchester – and right next door, Mary Ann Whitham, née Maffin, with her husband and young son. Ah, of course! Now I know what I know, this makes even more sense. These two women already have a family connection, don’t they? It’s not just that in five years’ time Agnes’s son William will walk down the aisle with his next-door neighbour’s sister Sarah Maffin. It’s that 10 years earlier, Agnes’s eldest son Joseph, my 3x greatgrandfather, had married Sarah and Mary Ann’s big sister Richmon. Love it when things tie together!

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About Family Tree

There's something undeniably special about visiting our ancestors' final resting places. Read the guide in the latest issue of Family Tree about graveyards and we will help you step back in time. Graveyards and cemeteries are a very real reminder of earlier generations and visiting them will not only spark thought-provoking memories - they may also provide you with new clues and details... And speaking of 'new clues' - don't miss our brand new series 'Taken a DNA test? Now what?'. This is the advice you need if you want to get the most from your DNA test. Discover how to make sense of the results, find more details and grow that fabulous family tree of yours! Join in with the DNA adventure today! We also have a fabulous free guide for you in this bumper issue, Heritage Days Out, packed full of ideas for family and local history trips to take this summer. Enjoy your travels through time!