Geneology is a hugely popular hobby, a lot of people love to trace their ancestry. While I’m not one of those that spends hours tracing back through various lines in my family, I have several cousins that do and I find it very interesting to read their discoveries.
Some time ago, my cousin uncovered a nine times great grandfather through my father’s mother’s line who was burned for heresy not once, but twice in England in the early 17th century! His name was Edward Wightman and he became a Puritan near the end of the rein of Elizabeth I. There’s more about him here on Wikipedia. In 1611 he ruffled a few too many feathers, was arrested and consigned to the flame for his heresy. He recanted and was pulled from the fire but a few weeks later, he started his blasphemous preaching again and this time, his words literally turned to ashes in his mouth. He was also the last person in England to suffer death by fire for Heresy.
My cousin had discovered that there is a plaque dedicated to Wightman in the town square of Litchfield, England, a cathedral city near Warwick. That was the city where he came to his end and she always hoped that on one of my visits to the U.K. I could manage a stop there and take a photo of the plaque, mounted on the side of a little church which is now home to a market and community centre.
In 2001, I stayed with a friend in Redditch, near Birminham and we planned to go to Warwick castle. The morning was a bit rainy but he kindly drove into Litchfield so I could have a look for the plaque and take a photo!
That’s pretty much the only traveling I’ve ever done that had geneology at it’s roots though I did see some old gravestones in a cemetery in Moffat, Scotland with the same last name as mine. I do know there are some far reaching branches that are border Scots though my auntie says we mainly came from Northern Ireland. I know a few people that have made visits to towns specifically to search records in the town halls and in churches or find long lost and distant relatives of their parents and grandparents.
My family has been Canadian for quite a few generations now. The most interesting thing my cousin, related to me through my father’s sister, discovered is that her husband is related to me on my mother’s side and is my 7th or 8th cousin!