Genealogists on Twitter profile
Tell us a bit about your genealogy/family history journey
I’m descended from a Huguenot who came to England in the 17th century with a pretty unusual surname, Jacob de Rouffignac. Lots has already been done about the de Rouffignacs as they were a well-known family, but there’s always more to do. I’m married to someone whose surname in the UK will sadly die out with us, but we’ve had a lot of fun researching the Wichbolds and even got as far as Gdansk looking for the family.
I’ve spent the last couple of years using my free time to research other people’s family trees for my book on the Herefordshire suffrage campaign; I ended up writing that during furlough last year. Hard Work – But Glorious was published in June 2021, and as a result of this, I’ve made contact with a descendant of one of the suffragettes I wrote about!
I just love family history, graveyards, sorting out knots but end up down a lot of rabbit holes which I need to try and avoid at all costs, but they can be such fun…
Favorite food or beverage
Tea. Despite my Huguenot background I’m Yorkshire born and bred
Surnames of interest
de Rouffignac and its many variants, and without the de as some people now have the name
If you could meet one person from your family tree that died before you were born, who would it be and why?
Captain Francis de Rouffignac, my 2 x great grandfather. Master Mariner, travelled the world, but had some sort of breakdown in Brazil on the way back from Chile having gone round Cape Horn in the early 1860s. He ended up in an asylum in Liverpool but eventually was released after a few months and went back to being a sailor again. What on earth happened to you, Francis, when you lost your command?
Genealogy pet peeve
Favorite place where you’ve traveled
New Zealand, South Island, we want to go back and do North Island sometime…
From a genealogy/family history research perspective, what would you have done differently?
I would have talked more to my great uncles and aunts and grandparents on the de Rouffignac side of the family before they died to get their stories. I wasn’t working on the family tree that much before they were all gone by 1990 and deeply regret it to this day.
What are you currently working on and what’s next?
I’m collaborating with my sixth cousin who got in touch earlier this year and helping where I can as she’s writing a novel about a family member from the 18th century. It’s really exciting to have met and be sharing stories and ideas.
I’m also starting work on my second book about the suffragette Constance Radcliffe Cooke, she did lots of other things and her family tree is now my priority to help untangle her uncatalogued photograph collection at Herefordshire Archives.