Friday, 19 February 2016

A famous author in the family tree

Thanks to my mother, I have a pretty good idea who's sitting up there in the branches of my family tree.

Up until now, there's been nobody famous, although she discovered I am directly descended from a man who fought in the last battle on English soil, the Monmouth Rebellion, in 1685.  I'm rather proud of that, and the fact that he was on the ill-fated Rebel side. It's something I plan to explore further when I have more time.

Mr Grigg thinks he has a link to Archie Leach, better known as that suave and most debonair of English-born actors, Cary Grant.
He knows this because he found a Leach in his family tree who lived in Bristol, which was where Archie was born. I got very excited and suggested it could be the same family as Archie's. When Mr Grigg has more time, he's going to look into it further.

In the meantime, I had nobody famous in my tree and always felt a little bit of a Billy No-Mates.

And then, this week, I had a message via my Maddie Grigg Facebook page from a man in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He'd found a post on my blog about my grandfather, a farmer and poet, who lived in Somerset.

Was it the same one as the one in his family tree, he wondered, giving me some details.

Indeed it was, I was able to tell my new distant cousin.

He quickly responded by giving me more information, and then a little aside about one of the greatest American novelists of the 20th century.
It turns out that the brother of my great-great-great-grandmother, Harriet Hancock, was Ernest Hemingway's sea-faring great-grandfather, Alexander.
According to an interview with Hemingway's nephew, John Sanford, for the Hemingway Project, Ernest's mother Grace’s maternal grandfather, Alexander Hancock, was 'a sea captain and part-owner of the three-masted barque, Elizabeth of Bristol. Captain Hancock sailed his ship from England in 1853 to Melbourne, Australia with a load of immigrants seeking gold. 

'Also on board were Hancock’s three young children who had lost their mother in a train accident just days before departure. One of those children was Grace’s mother, Caroline Hancock (Hall) who traveled from Australia to Panama with her father, sister and brother, crossed the isthmus on mule-back and took passage to America. From the East Coast they Hancock family took trains to Dyersville, Iowa where they had a relative and where Captain Hancock “swallowed the hook” and became the town’s postmaster.'

So Ernest (I'm on first name terms because he's family) and I share common ancestry, my third great-grandmother Harriet and Captain Alexander Hancock's parents being my great-great-great-great grandparents and Ernest's great-great grandparents.

I've got my genealogist mother on the case.

That's about it.

Love Maddie x

1 comment:

  1. It had to have been a famous author!! The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.


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