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Genetic memories …. or just coincidence?

The picture above is taken looking west from fields in Yapton. The spire in the distance is Chichester Cathedral and if you stand in exactly the right place the spire can be seen on a clear day. It is about 12 miles as the crow flies. At least one of my ancestors must have known the same view and the footpaths through the local fields. The fields themselves are soon to disappear under houses, but I hope that the new residents will enjoy their view.

When I relocated to this part of West Sussex in 2008, I had no idea that my ancestors will have known the area. More and more records were coming online thick and fast and I found it very exciting as locations that I knew were coming up in my research.

My great x2 grandmother, Elizabeth Adams, married a William Cheesman in Blendworth, He was from Climping whose maternal grandparents, Richard Till and Mary Northest, were married in Yapton. He died of typhus 6 months later in Kingston, Portsmouth and was brought back to be buried in Climping churchyard alongside his father John, and later his mother Martha Cheesman was buried there too. In 1851, Elizabeth and Martha were in Aldingbourne – did they walk along the same footpaths to visit the churchyard? When I walk the dog out there I often fantasise that I am treading in her footsteps especially when it it is wet and windy and I am wrapped up in modern winter coat, wellies, scarves and gloves.

The great, great grandson of John Usher, publican, standing outside what was the Cross Keys public house in St. Ives.

Elizabeth later married Charles Reed who was the son of John Reed, Tailor, of Chichester. Charles and Elizabeth married in London where they settled and raised their children – did they already know each other? Were they perhaps related? Did one follow the other? Why leave West Sussex in the first place?

I did my teacher training in Chichester in 1970 and my daughter later did her degree there – I had no idea whatsoever of the connection until she had graduated and we had moved to the area. Does this explain why I was always so comfortable in the city? I hadn’t been there for 40 years when we went back for her audition but I felt as if I was home. Is that what drew me to Yapton?

We moved around a bit when I was growing up. My brother started school in Farnham, Surrey – turned out that our paternal great x4 Samuel Lewcock had been married and raised his family there. Some of his wife Sarah’s [Taphouse, Combes] ancestors came from Grayshott and Headley in Hampshire where the family home was for several years after we left Farnham. His daughter-in-law Jessamine Hart’s ancestors [Elkins, Diggens] came from West Sussex. Before we lived in Farnham, I had started school when we lived in Glasgow where one of our paternal great grandmother Kate Simpson’s [Whitehill, McKirdy, Renfrew] came from. Our parents spent several years living near St Ives, Cambridgeshire where one of my paternal great x2 grandmothers, Lucy Usher was born.

So far the only location on our maternal side which may have a possible connection is that I lived in Belgium for 32 years and de Fraine is a common surname there …. .. .. . . .

 

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