Thursday, September 27, 2012

Flashback Thursdays: Tracking Family History--with a Will

   Because mine is a fairly unusual surname and because my ancestors didn't move around much (or at least not until the railway system was up and running) I know quite a bit about my father's side of the family. For instance, I know that, in 1525, in the reign of Henry V111, my multi-times great grandfather was born.
   I've been doing more and more research and, by pure fluke, found out that he made a will and that it rests in the archives of the Records Office in Bury St. Edmunds.
  Long story short but they brought it up from the depths of the building and delivered it directly into my hands. No plastic gloves, no anything, so I was, in effect, touching a document written by my direct ancestor when Elizabeth 1 was on the throne. Except that he couldn't write. That would have been done by a scribe. Instead what John Merrills left (the spelling changed over the years) was his mark and seal. The curator at the local museum says that that little rectangle was probably the mark of a weaver, which is what my ancestor was.
  I'm still trying to decipher it...

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