A local woman has recently found relations she didn’t know existed by researching her family tree using a service provided through a Warwickshire County Council library.
Marion Perry from Lichfield made the discovery through Nuneaton and North Warwickshire Family History Society. Through regular attendance at the group’s monthly surgeries at Atherstone Library she has been able to discover four cousins descended from one of her ancestors.
James Miller – Mrs Perry’s great-grandfather – moved to Atherstone from Mancetter, where his family owned Mancetter Manor. He worked as a photographer and was an accomplished musician; he lead a handbell-ringing group, which included some of his children, that gave recitals at the larger houses, such as Merevale Hall.
He was also an organist for Mancetter Church and belonged to a band which entertained at Atherstone’s Albert Hall. It is believed, through information passed down through the family, that he is related to Arthur Gramer Miller, who provided a charity to help build the Mancetter Almshouses. Intriguingly, Mr Miller was the first person in Atherstone to show a moving picture to an audience, which he did at regular film showings he hosted at his home.
Mrs Perry’s research into her great-grandfather revealed the existence of a number of cousins, most of whom still live in Warwickshire, all descended from Mr Miller’s prodigious offspring; he fathered no fewer than 15 children!
As a result of Mrs Perry’s findings she now regularly meets up with her newly discovered family to talk about their ancestors, share photos and research more about their family tree, aided by continued visits to the Family History Society surgery.
Mrs Perry said:
‘The service provided by the Family History Society has been wonderful. I originally went with a family member just to see what it was like and didn’t expect to find anything close to what I’ve been able to discover. I’m planning to get in touch with as many of my new-found cousins as I can’
Warwickshire County Councillor Neil Dirveiks, who represents the Atherstone ward, said:
‘The surgeries are one of a number of services available to Warwickshire residents through Warwickshire County Council’s network of libraries. We are very pleased to host the Family History Society and play a part in such a fascinating discovery.
I hope Marion’s example inspires others to join the Family History Society and carry out some research of their own or visit a library and find out more about the wide range of activities on offer.’
Information about the Family History Society, including meetings and how to join, is available on their website at: http://www.nnwfhs.org.uk/.