#52Ancestors – Start

2018 Week 1

Back in early 2018, I decided to challenge myself and take part in the #52Ancestors Challenge. This involves writing about an ancestor each week along a theme (the first week was ‘Start’) set by Amy Johnson Crow (https://www.amyjohnsoncrow.com/52-ancestors-in-52-weeks/). You can follow other people’s inputs via #52ancestors on social media.

This first week the theme is ‘Start’ and, as I am regularly asked how I got started doing family history, I am going to start with Percy James BENNETT (1912-2003). Percy was my grandfather and was affectionately know as Brud (his sisters couldn’t say brother when he was born). To me, he was Gramps.

Percy James BENNETT (1912-2003)

On Boxing Day 1994, I sat down with Gramps and asked him about his family. I still have the scribbled notes and, although some of the dates and names proved to be slightly wrong, it provided an excellent basis to start my research. In fact, many years later I revisited the notes again and cracked a brick wall. I had been struggling to find my great great grandparents’ deaths. They had lived on the Isle of Wight and had the common names of Joseph and Ellen RICHARDS but there was no sign of deaths on Isle of Wight. There in the original notes was the statement ‘retired to Boscombe’. It was then a quick job to find their deaths in Dorset and fill another part of my ancestor stories. It certainly taught me the importance of revisiting sources.

Gloster Meteor – High Speed Record – 1945

Back to Brud, he had an interesting life. He wrote many of his memoirs down and I will share them on the blog sometime soon. [See Parts One, Two and Three of his shorter memoir.] His career included working with Frank WHITTLE on the design of the first jet engine which was installed in the Gloster Meteor plane (Gloster Meteor speed record website). Here are the test pilots with Brud (2nd from left on back row).

Brud was a great sportsman. He met his wife Joan Ethel Blanche LEGGATT (1914-1993) at the local tennis club. He was also an avid cricketer (3rd from left on front row) and later in life scorer for the local cricket team. In his latter years, I remember him watching Wimbledon and other sports matches via his Sky box!

He loved his family and was a regular church goer. Having grown up with Congregational Church parents, he was involved with the CoE church in Barkston, Lincolnshire during his retirement. He had a close relationship with his two sisters Chris and Florence (Fodge) and Fodge’s daughter Elizabeth. He also got on well with his sister-in-law Kath (who remains the oldest member of the family still alive at 94)!

Bennett Family Newspaper

So each week will be different with some recent ancestors and some much older ones but hopefully all with interesting stories.

Did you enjoy the post? Leave me a comment!