Some time ago I began researching all branches of my family tree on ancestry.co.uk I found out that this process can lead the unwary and inexperienced researcher down all sorts of fascinating but often completely irrelevant paths. As a result my first family tree very quickly became huge and rather unmanageable!
Over the next few years I created several other smaller trees, researching either certain sections of my family, or the families of people connected with them e.g. witnesses to marriages or fellow lodgers in one household. These people often turned out to be distant relations.
“This blog is my attempt to describe what I’ve found out about my family history, starting with the Yates family, the line about which the least is known”
My mother’s grandfather was Edward Cavendish Yates and when I started this research my family believed him to be illegitimate and the son of a woman called Fanny. This information proved to be correct, but the circumstances leading up to his birth and his life before he married my great grandmother, Priscilla Jane Mecham, remained a complete mystery.
Some members of my family believed that Edward’s middle name, Cavendish, was given to him because he was the illegitimate son of one of the Dukes of Devonshire. I doubt this will ever be proved one way or the other, but what started to fascinate me more was the identity of his mother.
“The only story ever passed down to me about Fanny Yates was that my great grandfather, would stand at the gates of his boarding school in Epsom, watching his elegantly dressed mother (Fanny) pass by in a carriage on her way to the races”