Family reunited by their roots
TWO families have been brought together after tracing their roots to Melbourn s United Reformed Church. Mark Ward spent 15 months tracing his ancestors, and thanks to the Melbourn History Group, found more than secrets from the past – he also discov
TWO families have been brought together after tracing their roots to Melbourn's United Reformed Church.
Mark Ward spent 15 months tracing his ancestors, and thanks to the Melbourn History Group, found more than secrets from the past - he also discovered his long-lost cousin.
Mark, who is originally from Orwell, came into contact with his cousin Jane Fitzgerald through the history group after they had both separately tracked their great-grandfather William George Baker.
Jane, who lives in Bedford said: "It came as a great surprise when the history group put Mark in touch with us.
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"I had been looking to find out more about my great-grandfather, and didn't expect to find present family."
Mark added: "It was so nice to meet Jane and her husband, and share with them the stories we have all heard about our family.
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"And visiting the focus of these stories has been very interesting."
William George Baker was born in Melbourn in 1834, and according to the families findings, he was an important member of the community.
For 36 years he was secretary of the Melbourn Lodge and was also the church's caretaker.
Joined by his wife Christina and children Rachel, Matthew, and Katharine, Mark travelled from Norfolk to meet Jane and her husband John at their great-grandfather's headstone in the church grounds.
The two branches of the Baker family then spent the morning renovating the headstone and clearing the grave of weeds, before visiting another family member's grave in Meldreth.
John, who has researched family history for more than 20 years, said: "I have had an interest in the Baker family for years, and discovering George's grave was an incredible find.
"We had much to offer each other to increase our knowledge of the family, and as a result, more parts of the Baker jigsaw have been slotted into place."
Mark said that tracing his family's past had now become a hobby, and said his main motivation was having the knowledge to pass down to his own family.
He said: "What is most interesting is the fact we have not only uncovered facts from the past, but also learned about the present.
"It's been hard work, but very worthwhile.
"I would encourage anyone to do this, because it gives you a sense of who you are.
"The possibilities are never-ending, and I don't think I will ever find all the untold treasures."
Mark is also researching the history of George's daughter Emily Baker and his granddaughter Beryl.
He is also tracing the Reynolds family, who have links to Steeple Morden, Bassingbourn and Therfield.
Both Mark and Jane thanked Melbourn History Group for putting them in touch with each other and said that they would remain in touch.
Chairman of the Melbourn History Group Colin Limming said: "This is what it's all about.
"It's proving to be a great way of bringing people together.
"I'm delighted by their find and I feel this sort of research is absolutely vital because it is very easy for families to lose their past."
- If you would like to trace family members from the past who originate from Melbourn, contact Colin on 01763 260072