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Like many, I wish I had started earlier, and asked more questions of the living

Discussion in 'How I got started in Family History' started by RowlandD, Nov 18, 2019.

  1. RowlandD

    RowlandD New Member

    My late father, had been researching our family name 'Dicker' in Devon, near Yealmpton for years but hadn't gotten far although engaging researchers from late 1950s to 1970s. I started researching online in the late 1990s having been brought up on the cusp of the computer age.

    It is interesting but hasn't quite produced the connections that I would like such as people on 'Lost Long Family', 'Who Do You Think You Are?' and most recently 'Ant and Dec's DNA Journey'.

    I've hit so many brick walls on Dad's side, not helped by the fact that whilst the surname isn't that common, a lot of records in Devon were lost during WWII. Also, it seems that our family seems to have been remarkably ordinary. Also, these days I am unable to physically research record offices, parishes etc, due to poor physical health, relying solely on the internet and other people's trees.

    My mum's side is even harder to expand on. She was born in Essex (Dovercourt) and sent to a boarding school aged 8 when her mum died and father remarried. It appears her paternal line - Cooper, have Scottish heritage. The maternal line is Irish - O' Neill. Trouble is I am led to believe that the mother Ellen O' Neill was estranged from her family because she married someone who was a protestant while she was catholic. Her family hails from Cork (Cobh) and/or Queenstown I think, but I can't tell if she was born there or in Essex, and there seem to be numerous Ellen O'Neills in both Ireland and Essex around that time.

    Since doing the Ancestry DNA test I got a lot more information and found a 3rd cousin I didn't know of, a Yorkshire ex-pat now in Canada. I've got information of 4th cousins all round the world in both families, mainly in Australia, some in the USA, and several in Canada, even some hailing from Mexico. If I believed my newly-found 3rd cousin's tree, it is possible that we are distantly related to William the Conqueror, but I am not confident in his research.

    I haven't utilised Lost Cousins sufficiently yet, despite having been a member for some time now. I did match with one cousin, but I'd already been in touch with them during the course of my research. There seems to be habit of re-marriages and lots of half-siblings. I have three half-sisters from my dad's first marriage, a half-brother from my mum's plus a sister we didn't know about that my mum gave away for adoption! This sort of family structure seems to appear in generations further back, so it's more like a soap opera script than anything else.

    I'd love to get more information on the Dickers of Devon originating Yealmpton/Plymouth region and further north - Torrington way. Other important names are Thorn(e), Banbury and Dymond from those areas. If I could just catch a break on my mum's side, Coopers of Dovercourt, Essex, and O'Neills of the same and more importantly Cork, Ireland, that would be great.

    Doing the DNA test at Ancestry has certainly thrown up more possibilities to investigate. I feel I should do more to extend my Dad's original research and get back further than I have, if possible. I also feel I owe it to him somehow as he was a Prisoner of War in the Far East, working on the notorious 'Railway of Death'. I don't know why I feel so compelled, but there it is.
    • Thanks! Thanks! x 1

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