YOU never know who you can turn up when you start delving into your family history.
I discovered mainly Irish farmers who escaped the 19th century potato famine to come to Yorkshire to work as miners.
My wife Maria, of course, had to beat me hands down. Among her family's yesterdays was the tallest man in the world, a First World War hero who won the VC, and Hanging Judge Jeffreys from the 17th century, now a pub in Dorchester. Fancy, being related to a pub.
Whoever you find, it's fascinating and fun.
Old friend Lynne Schofield is a Family History Tutor who runs classes at St Mary's Parochial Hall, Melton Street, Batley. She covers all aspects of the subject but specialises in Irish ancestry.
“One of my students found an ancestor, PC James Harvey, who discovered the second victim of Jack the Ripper.”
Another was able to trace a will, land property and relatives in Ireland through her grandmother's name.
“Most of my ancestors are from County Roscommon, Kilkenny, and Dublin,” she says.
“My great great grandmother Sarah Rowbottom, nee Doyle from Dublin, ran off abandoning her family to go on the stage never to be seen again. And my husband's family were neighbours of the Brontë sisters.”
Then there is the sad but colourful tale of her Great Aunt Lizzie from Roscommon.
“In 1890 she married John Ben Parkin, a forward with the Huddersfield Rugby Union Football Club, and had three children.
“She was abandoned by her husband and was in the workhouse at one point.
“On one occasion, the feisty Lizzie was found brawling in the street, having collected a crowd of 50 people. She was subsequently arrested and sent to prison.
“During her marital strife, she found her husband was boarding with another woman.
“She went to the house and threw a stone through one window, a bucket through another and a tin plate through another.
“Apparently she was desperate for money and her husband was taken to court for non-payment of maintenance. During one hearing he accused her of selling the bed. Which she admitted.
“Sounds a bit like some of the Friday and Saturday nights I worked when I was a Police Constable!”
For anyone interested, the Family History classes are held on Thursdays for beginners and old hands, plus drop-in sessions. A small charge is made.
The classes resume on Thursday, April 11. More information from Lynne on 07721 517667.