Showing posts with label Pickering family. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pickering family. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Pickering village flooded

My future great-grandfather William John Pïckering [1843-1914] left London for the Antipodes aboard the Zealandia in 1860, at the age of 17. He got off the ship in Auckland, New Zealand, where he ended up working as a surveyor, planning the layout of the future great city. It wasn’t until a couple of decades later that he decided to step across to Australia, where he purchased an outback sheep property, got married to a local girl, and raised a large family.


Meanwhile, his youngest brother, John Edward Latton Pïckering [1851-1926], remained in London, where he became a librarian at the law courts known as the Inner Temple. He seems to have led a sophisticated existence, residing in an elegant old house called Cedar Cottage in Datchet, on the opposite side of the Thames to Windsor Castle.


Over the last few days, this lovely old village has been on the front page of British news because of the severe flooding.





It was in Datchet that we saw images of the two princes, William and Harry, manipulating sandbags alongside their military comrades.



For a long time, I liked to imagine that my great-grandfather had immigrated to a harsh Down Under environment that provided me with the title of my genealogical writings: They Sought the Last of Lands. Meanwhile, I had the impression that his young brother led a relatively cosy existence in Datchet, enhanced by his unexpected decision to get involved in a bigamous union with a parson’s daughter from Chelsea, enabling them to create a family of five offspring.

Today, I’m no longer sure about the relative environmental harshness of the two places: the dusty plains of  Currabubula Station out beyond Tamworth, or the submerged banks of the Thames.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Unexpected links

A few days ago, a friendly reader of my blog sent me a link to a list of online genealogical resources [here]. I replied that an all-important resource was glossed over in the list. Genealogical research is often dominated by black swan happenings, in the sense suggested by Nassim Nicholas Taieb: that's to say, totally unexpected events that upset the nice and tidy little applecart upon which the researcher had been basing his beliefs.


The biggest black swan that has alighted upon my genealogical research over recent months concerned my Pickering relatives (through the family of my paternal grandmother). On 3 March 2012, my bucolic blog post entitled Vicar's garden [display] evoked the rural existence of our forebear Henry Latton [1737-1798],  the vicar of Woodhorn in Northumberland. I ended that blog post by saying that the vicar would have surely disapproved of my science-based atheism.


Be that as it may, my dear great-great-great-great-grandfather did not deserve to be murdered by bandits while returning from an afternoon of betting on the horses at Newbiggin-by-the-Sea.

Six months after having evoked this Latton ancestor, I got an unexpected e-mail from an unknown Englishman named Latton who told me an amazing tale. He alleged that his own grandfather, known to him as John Edward Latton, was in fact the same individual designated in my document They Sought the Last of Lands [display] as John Edward Latton Pickering [1851-1926]. In other words, my correspondent was saying that we had a skeleton in one of our family-history closets: a respected Londoner (archivist at the Inner Temple law library) who had invented a new name for himself (borrowed from our Latton ancestors) and forged a marriage certificate enabling him to become a full-fledged bigamist and raise a second family in parallel to his first one. Needless to say, I've got over the surprise by now, and I'm looking forward to meeting up with my new English cousin when he drops in at Gamone with his wife this summer.

That wasn't the only recent black swan. In April 2012, I became really excited about a possible research avenue aimed at elucidating the mystery of the Norman origins of the Skeffington family. In blog posts entitled Patriarch [display] and Skeffington/Verdun links [display], I evoked the identity of a celebrated Norman family with close attachments to the Leicestershire village of Skeffington at the time of the Conquest. I concluded my first blog post, on 27 April 2012, as follows:
Another fascinating question emerges. Is it thinkable that our patriarch Bertram de Verdun might have descendants today in France and elsewhere? Well, to put it mildly, judging from what I've seen through a rapid visit to the Genea website, it would appear that the community of my so-called "genetic cousins" includes many present-day members of the old nobility of Normandy and France.

When I asked that "fascinating question", I had not yet started to look around in France with the aim of contacting living de Verdun descendants. From this point on in the present blog post, I'm obliged to be deliberately vague, because I wish to avoid mentioning names that would be picked up by search engines. Let me explain in roundabout terms that, in April 2011, French police had come upon a nasty crime scene in the city whose mayor was our present prime minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault. They unearthed the bodies of a mother and her four teenage kids. As for the father, he has totally disappeared. Most people consider that the father—whom I shall refer to as X—is indeed the culprit. On the other hand, X's sister is convinced that her brother never murdered his wife and children. In the ongoing crusade aimed at protecting the honor of her brother, this determined lady is assisted by her husband... who happens to bear exactly the same ancient Norman name as the Conqueror's companion associated with the Leicestershire village of Skeffington, evoked in the "fascinating question" that I have just quoted. For all I know, X's brother-in-law could well be a direct descendant of the 11th-century personage who interests me. Naturally, in the context of my Skeffington research, I would be interested in the possibility of examining a description of the Y chromosomes of this present-day Frenchman. For the moment, though, such a request for DNA data would be out of place, and unwise.

POST SCRIPTUM: In the wake of my initial enthusiasm about the possibility that Bertram de Verdun might have been the "elusive patriarch" whom I've been seeking for so long, I now believe that this was a false track. Click here to download the latest version of chapter 1 of my slowly-emerging Skeffington One-Name Study.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Sydney stables

This blog post is intended primarily for members of my family out in Australia. I've just been informed by my cousin Margaret (daughter of the World War I hero "King" Pickering) that her son Gregory, a prominent horse trainer, now has a website.

Ah, I imagine the great pleasure that certain relatives (my grandparents in Grafton, for example, not to mention my father) would have surely experienced if they had known that a member of our clan was training racehorses out at Warwick Farm.

Margaret has been assisting me constantly (along with other members of the Pickering family) in my research for They Sought the Last of Lands [display].