Rick has been exploring his family ancestry for some years now and, believe me, it’s astonishingly rich, stretching back at least to William The Conqueror (may he be eternally damned for conquering England) and much of Britain’s royalty, and including those emigree pioneers who were the first arrivals on the Mayflower ship to the New World.
Rick could write several books on the personages in his ancestry, but fortunately they’ve already been written, and perhaps Rick will start creating his own large library with them.
Rick’s history is so rich that I’ve become fascinated by it and I’m happy to support and accompany Rick in his efforts to discover more dead relatives and details of their lives; and even living relatives, as we met on this trip. By contrast, my own ancestry, at least on my father’s side, stretches only as far back into the mists of time and the English countryside to a pair of peasants in the fields of south Staffordshire, about 40 miles from home, in the mid-1800s.
So when Rick announced to me, in June of this year, 2018, that he was coming over again whether I liked it or not, I was keen to know why, not just because it was inconvenient for me but because he was sounding as if he’d struck gold, which he had.
One of the unsolved mysteries of his ancestry concerned his grandfather on his father’s side, namely Albert (“Bertie”) Mutton who had disappeared at the age of 13, seemingly leaving his family home in Essex in the south-east of England, to emigrate, by himself, to Canada, and not to be heard of again until the age of 21 when he joined the Royal Canadian Dragoons – in a handsome scarlet tunic uniform. Somehow, young Bertie had done himself proud. But how?
Associated with Bertie’s story is the Wakefield family whose present-day descendants, living in Essex, had recently contacted Rick to ask for information about Bertie Mutton whom they had discovered had lived, or lodged, with their great-grandfather’s family in Finchingfield, Essex – who is Bertie, they wanted to know. The Wakefield’s also had a mystery on their hands, having discovered that their grandfather William may have been the illegitimate child of a local landed gentleman with an aristocratic-sounding, double-barrelled name. But who was the mother? Rick knew some of the answers to this. The Wakefields were at the top of Rick’s priorities to meet on this trip.
So Rick arrived at Manchester Airport at 9.00am on Thursday July 12th, to stay until Tuesday August 14th. This length of time would enable us not only to follow the trail of Bertie’s travels, and meet with the Wakefields, but also visit the National Archives in London where some more ancestry research could be done, and also visit some places in England, Wales and Ireland that Rick had not seen yet.