rootSleuth - genealogist and family history researcher
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AGRA Member Dale Sullivan APG Member Dale Sullivan

I had my first taste of genealogy way back in the 1970's, it was a truly family affair with myself, my mother, aunt and maternal grandmother (Sarah Edna Rennison) all delving into our family's past.  Squinting at those blurry microfilms of census searching page by page (there were no name indexes then) and looking through the original parish registers, these hadn't been filmed yet, again page by page.  Visiting the old offices of the GRO at St Catherine House and searching the birth, marriage and death volumes quarter by quarter, you certainly worked up some muscles hauling those off the shelves, before they were put onto micro film, now available at the touch of a keyboard on FreeBMD!

For many years we concentrated purely on my maternal grandmother's tree, spending a week a year in the North East area cramming as many visits to the archives in the area we could.  I can still remember us, four women entering a pub without a man, the stares we got back then in the 70's!

My own maternal line is one of miners (of various minerals), carpenters and the backbone of our farming history, the agricultural labourer.  None seem to have owned land or been wealthy, so far, but there have been the occasional intrigues of illegitimacy, suicide and accidental death.  My mother after all this time is still hoping for someone to have been transported, but we appear to have been a very ordinary law abiding family, unfortunately.

With a first name of Dale and a maiden name of Taylour (where did that "u" come from?), it was only a matter of time before I wanted to know the source of both.  So my mother and I then looked into my father's ancestry, which has proved to be much more varied.  The Dale came from my father's grandmother Alice Dale who married a chap called Augustus Moseley Hills (Hills and Dale!).  The name has been given to a number of my relatives as a middle name, but, so far I am the only one in the family to have it as a first name.

The "U" in Taylour was only entered into our surname in the early 20th Century, prior to that we were just plain "OR".  My great grandfather John Hybart Taylor, pictured right, must have wanted to appear a little more distinguished, (after all the "OUR's" are landed gentry!).  If that wasn't enough, it also seems that around the same time the family briefly went double-barrelled with the Hybart!  Which we now think may have been in response to his father, Charles, leaving the family home in Colchester to live with another woman in Edmonton for about 20 years!

My dad's side so far has thrown up a Sailing Master on the HMS Enterprise, (well beam me up Scotty!) tobacconists, inn keepers and Post Office workers, much more interesting.

I have also dabbled with my husband's paternal line, Sullivan (Roman Catholic Irish) and Stillie (Calvanist Scots), all new areas and denominations to wrangle with.

I continue to peck away at my own family tree, as much as I can.  I love the fact that I know the names of my forebears.  Those people whose genes have gone into the making of me.  I may not know what they were like as people, but I have their names and these will be handed down to successive generations of my family, so that their memory will always live on.

Genealogy and family history research - John Hybart Taylor

John Hybart Taylor

Genealogist and family history researcher - John William Rennison

John William Rennison