Posted by on 10 August 2010 in General

I thoroughly enjoyed Monty Don’s Who Do You Think You Are? episode last night. Two completely separate strands both came to fascinating conclusions, with real repercussions for Monty’s life today.

Monty’s 2x great-grandfather, Charles, seemed like a rather unpleasant chap, didn’t he? Perhaps one of the reasons his parishioners stayed away from his church was that they were scared of the vicar!

All the same, it was entertaining to see his story take shape, as his apparently long-suffering wife escaped to New Zealand, only to find he followed her six years later. I knew little about the Royal Charter disaster, so I was intrigued by that story, and the image of Charles preaching to the passengers as the ship went down is a powerful one.

If there are clergymen in your family’s past, check out Crockford’s Clerical Directories. These vastly under-used resources are absolute goldmines of information on the nation’s vicars, and make fascinating reading.

Many of you will I’m sure be shocked to read I’d never heard of Keiller marmalade. Despite this, I thought the way the personal story of Monty’s great-grandfather William was intertwined with the larger tale about the growth of the company was a perfect example of family history at work. Those very emotive letters showed how difficult it is to keep private relationships separate from business.

You can learn more about your ancestors’ working lives through a wide variety of our collections. City and county directories are a great place to start, but we also have specific records on doctors, policemen, pilots and many other professions. Find out more



I think it would have also been interesting to mention that Alexander Keiller purchased the Avebury Heritage site in Wiltshire in the 1930s—-unless it was tagged on the end which I missed.

10 August 2010 at 3:43 pm
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10 August 2010 at 4:03 pm
Paul Horvath 

In replie to Paul. The Avebury connection is mentioned in WDYTYA? magazine article.

Another great episode,an hour wasn’t long enough!

10 August 2010 at 8:15 pm