Beckingham One-Name Study
Meet the Family
Wiltshire map c. 1773
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This is Alex's maternal grandmother's line which has been traced back to circa 1513 and a Thomas Fitchett from the Witney/Bampton/Aston area of what is now Oxfordshire. The majority of them were "ag labs", (agricultural labourers), but a couple of family lines were shoemakers and master shoemakers.
The greatest part of my research initially hinged around the Fitchetts as I was always told as a boy, that "We come from Coleshill where we were farmers". Well, I found Coleshill, a beautiful and quiet village between Faringdon and Highworth, but as I have already said, most of the family were "ag labs" on the farm, not Farmers with a capital "F".
My grandmother was one of eleven children born to Harry Fitchett and Polly Hacker, who married in Coleshill in 1886, and then on Polly's death in 1914, Harry remarried, this time to Sarah Chivers and raised another eleven children!
The first family are now all deceased but their descendants are scattered over the UK, with some in New South Wales, Australia, and many of the second family are still alive and we are in contact with each other. There are numerous other relatives scattered throughout the world and I am also in contact with many of them as well.
Of the first eleven children of Harry's large family, there are still some I have yet to trace or they do not wish to become involved in the research, but one, Ernest, was killed in the 1st World War, and I was lucky enough to borrow some letters that he had sent one of his sisters from the trenches, (they were found when she died), and make them into a booklet around his very short Army Service. I was even able to have the Coleshill War Memorial altered to show that he died, (he was noted on it as having served in the conflict), and some of the family have attended the annual Remembrance Day Service in Coleshill.
This booklet was in 1998 basically a family book only, but I have now updated it (June 2009) and copies can be obtained from me for £7.50 exc postages (ISBN 978-0-9543154-1-2). Some of Ernest's letters and thoughts are also now published in "Boy Soldiers of the Great War" by Richard van Emden, ISBN 0-7553-1302-X.
The youngest of the first eleven was Ivy Constance Fitchett born in December 1904, for many years she lived with her Aunt Sarah (Polly Hacker's sister), but before the 2nd World War she left and was never heard of again, even advertising in The News of The World for her in 1945 when her father, Harry, was dying brought no response. She was last seen visiting her step-mother and children in the mid 1930's but after that, there is no trace of her. However, in July 2007, I found that she was married in 1938 to an Albert Kidney, a widower, in Cardiff and they moved to Stratford on Avon where Ivy died in 1980.
If you have any more information of any of the family, then please e mail.
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