The Kings of Dal Riada ~ and a project going back to  20AD !!! and some other fascinating projects...


 Some Very Interesting Projects.......




A local man thought his Scottish ancestors were all from the Gorbals of Glasgow and the Highland Clearances on Skye. Imagine his delight when he discovered what had been found.....

During August of 2014 Mary discovered her 'furthest back' line EVER when we traced the ancestors of an Exminster man all the way back to the Pictish kings, and Fergus Mor, King of Dal Riada.


On the way there she met with ROBERT the BRUCE, the saintly KING DAVID, the Cairns family, the Kennedy family and many, many more.  We ended up in the late 400's!! Incredible but true. When we spotted KING DUNCAN we had to investigate further and discovered that the famous, or infamous MACBETH was the 1st cousin 34x removed of the client.


By the time the project was completed almost 6 months later,Mary had traced this line back a magnificent 71 generations from the present day to 20AD in Ireland. Some records go beyond that into legendary times, but Mary felt happy to conclude this project at a point almost 2000 years ago. Mary was able to include a huge amount of research on the individuals we discovered making a rounded and intriguing family history. Working on this project was fascinating and completely mind blowing, leaving Mary thrilled with what had been achieved, but completely drained!! 


The remarkable thing about this next project is that the client who commissioned Mary is an Exeter taxi driver (and former Mayor), who had no idea of his illustrious background. 

Note:- Mary observes a strict code of client confidentiality, and will only mention a clients name with their express permission. Roy gladly gave his permission, and has even appeared on BBC Radio Devon with Mary.

After working on *Roy Hill's father's family history some time ago, Roy asked us to trace his mother's side. Before too long, we came across the Bampfylde family of Poltimore House and Mary rang Roy to inform him of this auspicious discovery. When asked (jokingly) if he had had an invitation to Prince William's wedding, he emphatically replied that even if he had had the invitation, he would not have gone as he was a staunch Republican! Imagine his surprise when Mary discovered no less than 20 monarchs of the British Isles in his ancestry!

 Roy is the 32 times Great Grandson of William the Conqueror and included in his family history are such people as Eleanor of Aquitane, The Empress Maud, and Sir Francis Drake.  William the Conqueror was, in turn, descended from Rollo who was a pagan Viking who conquered what is now Normandy. He eventually converted to Christianity and his tomb still exists in Rouen Cathedral.

There are other projects which are equally fascinating.. 

For example, the five year old Moses Small who, along with his parents, were described as Rogues and Vagabonds in the Dorchester Assizes of 1810. Moses' father was recorded as having dark brown hair, and skin and very dark blue eyes - but also his 'left hand off at the wrist'. This was a travelling tinker family and Moses went on to marry a lady by the name of Cinderella, who bore him at least 12 children. The christening record of their son, Ebenezer, records that the family were living in a 'tent by the roadside'. 

On a roll at the moment..... we have just established a line for a client from the Channel Islands which includes CHARLES DARWIN and his grandfather JOSIAH WEDGWOOD - a work still in progress so watch this space!

6 months later... and we are still working on the above project and have trailed away from Charles and Josiah and are into the Norman kings, oh, we found Charlemagne, the Kings of Italy, and lurking in the distance is our dear friend, Rollo the Viking aka Rollo the Ganger - which means that Barry from the Channel Islands is related ( somehow) to Roy Hill, our client from Exeter... small world indeed.

This story continues as Mary works on.......... ( 12 months into the project)

Still working on the above project and have now discovered countless renown people including the composer Ralph Vaughan Williams....I will let you know when this project concludes.

I am still adding very significant people to this family history, both modern day and in the past. I spent today adding the Earls of Devon - one of whom was a pirate, and so it all continues. Of great interest to us is a connection on this family history with King Richard III - the infamous King who is so much in the news at the moment. Was he Good, was he Evil - no one seems to be quite sure, but he was enigmatic.....


It's now the 5th June 2015 and there are THREE  very thick binders sat on one of the work stations, waiting to be posted!  The client has already received one binder, and 4 charts including one that is 14 foot long! This was a very auspicious project to work on. Well, it's been difficult, intriguing, and gave Mary more than one headache, BUT SHE HAS LOVED IT and will MISS IT  now it's done!

The year has rapidly moved on and one of the most fascinating projects we have worked on involves EIGHT member of the same family working for Queen Victoria and later Edward VII at WINDSOR CASTLE. We have been able to obtain additional information from the Archivist at the Castle who has been extremely helpful.


 It's almost CHRISTMAS 2016 and where have the years gone??

So, a bit of an update a couple of projects - they never fail to amaze me


What about the DOBNER FAMILY - oh, yes, the client thought there was a slight connection to WINDSOR CASTLE and a chimney sweep.  Goodness, she was ever so slightly correct. There were over EIGHT members of this family working at Windsor Castle, in the late 1800's and early 1900's. I discovered the Lord Chamberlains Establishment Book and there were  almost 2000 entries for various members of the family over 30 years. What a find! This part of the project was separated out from the rest and warranted it's own bespoke binder. A particular joy was looking at the 1901 census, just after Queen Victoria's death. I discovered one of the Dobner family was in Windsor Castle overnight on the night of the census -which was fine, but I could not resist looking at the first page for the Castle to see which of the Royal family were in residence. Surely enough the 'Head' of the family was Edward VII - his occupation amused me - it simply said one word 'KING' - there you are. He was home with four other members of the family including the baby who became Lord Louis Mountbatten. The five of them had 146 servants to look after them.

And the latest surprise?


A Cornish fellow, who was named JAMES HARVEY TONKING - married in this country, his wife, Grace had her first baby here. Then they went to America in 1856. They had another son in 1860 - James must have been well settled in  America because this baby was named Harry WASHINGTON Tonking. Anyway, all was not well with the marriage, as Grace was back in Cornwall just a few years later, with her children. She remarried in 1867, ( no sign of a divorce from James). James meanwhile got embroiled in the American Civil War on the Union side and rose to the rank of Captain. He was charged by Brigadier General Rufus Saxton to be released from his regiment, and to recruit and train the first EVER COLOURED REGIMENT for the north. James had a very interesting life, and later became a bounty hunter. He also remarried bigamously and eventually died in New York in 1910. His sons in England appeared to believe that their father had died many years previously. I am now going to order the marriage certificate for his wife's second marriage to see what she says her status is - any bets on her saying she is a widow, even though her husband is alive and kicking in America?


Here is our brave Knight, who kept watch over the shop in Honiton, until, sadly, it had to close in Feb 2017 due to personal reasons when Mary was needed to be at home - the Knight may be gone.... but Plantagenesta lives on to work another day.... contact Mary should you require your family history, or some help with work you are undertaking yourself.