Tuesday, November 9, 2010

How My Indian Princess Led Me Back To William The Conquerer!

I am convinced that if we could trace back everybody that we are descended from, we would eventually discover that we are all related to one another. My recent research into my Ogilvie ancestors has convinced me of this.

I had discovered that my 5 x gt grandfather, John Hugh Donnel Ogilvie had been a Judge in Madras and that he had married an Eliza Letitia Catherine Ricketts there in 1802, returning to England around 1831 after 42 years service with the Honourable East India Company.

From the discovery of John's Will I discovered that he and Eliza were living at an address in Dover and that he had died in Boulogne-Sur-Mer on March 10th 1851.

Boulogne-Sur-Mer at this time was full of the English great and the good. Charles Dickens and the explorer, Richard Burton to name but two could also be found there in 1851.

Whilst searching for John's death record in the General Register Office indexes we found his death recorded in the Consular Death Indices. It gave his abode as Boulogne-Sur-Mer and further investigation showed that he had been buried in All Souls Cemetery, Kensal Green in the district of Kensington and Chelsea in London. Kensal Green Cemetery is where the Victorian elite were buried.

I have contacted the Cemetery via their website to enquire if there is a headstone and any details for John Ogilvie and I will let you know if I receive a response.

John's wife, Eliza Letitia Catherine Ricketts has a very interesting family tree. She was the only sister of Vice-Admiral SIr Robert Tristram Ricketts who was created 1st Baron Ricketts in 1828. Because of his Baronetcy his family tree can be found in various volumes of Debretts, Burke's Peerage and books detailing the genealogy of the Landed Gentry. The current Baron Ricketts is Sir Stephen Ricketts who became the 9th Baron on the death of his father in 2007.

Debretts state that the family surname was originally Ricards and was of Norman extraction. They record that Eliza's grandfather was a William Ricards, a Captain in Cromwell's army. It also states that William's father was Thomas Ricards, a Colonel in King Charles I army during the Civil War and was killed at one of the sieges of Lichfield.

Much work has been done on the Rickett's lineage and it was interesting to me to discover that one of Eliza's nephews, Cornwallis Ricketts the 2nd Baron Ricketts married, Lady Caroline Augusta Pelham-Clinton, daughter of the 4th Duke of Newcastle in January 1852.

It appears that the Ricketts are descended from "everyone" including William De Warenne 1st Earl of Surrey and even William the Conquerer. How true that is I do not know at the moment but it amused me because the Dukes of Newcastle's former estate of Clumber Park is only a few miles from where I live, and my local village church was built by William de Warenne in 1079!

All of this information came about after discovering my Indian Princess in Madras earlier this year!

Best wishes

Paul Rowland

The Indiaman Magazine

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

You wait 39 years for a new discovery and two come along at once!!

Genealogy is an emotional subject for those of us who have been bitten by the bug. Once bitten, the consequences can be fatal... especially for other family members who don't share our enthusiasm!

I regularly liken genealogy to crossing a river on stepping stones. All too often the stepping stones run out leaving you stranded mid-stream wondering which way to turn. Occasionally, you make it to the other side, but this is very rare because the records are not available to lead you back to our very distant family members.

I have met many people who claim that they can trace their family tree back past the Norman Conquest but usually they simply gather similar sounding surnames together and make the assumption that they are all related. I can't bring myself to do that. Unless I can prove beyond doubt that I have the correct person I won't enter them into my records. I discovered Captain Henry Tristram Ogilvie 20 years ago but it has taken me that long to prove beyond doubt that we are definitely related.

Yesterday a letter arrived from Canada from a lady who is distantly related to me through the Ogilvie branch of my family tree. This is a branch of my family tree that was virtually unknown to me until last year when I finally discovered the name of my Indian princess that family legend recounted. Obviously, she was not a princess but an "Indo-Briton". The child of an English man and an Indian woman.

The letter was a revelation to me because the writer knew nothing of my Indian princess or her brother who were born to an Indian woman by the name of Paupah in Madras in 1832 and Captain Henry Tristram Ogilvie of the 23rd Madras Native Infantry. She did however inform me that Captain Henry Tristram Ogilvie married a Miss Avice Chapman on November 12th 1835 in Singapore. At the moment I do not know if he was a widower or if indeed he was ever married to Paupah but I have ordered a copy of this marriage record to see if I can learn more.

Interestingly, in December 1835 Captain Ogilvie was returning to England for his health onboard the ship True Briton when he died enroute. Presumably, his new wife was with him and arrived in England a widow after less than a month of being married.

Captain Ogilvie's mother was Eliza Letitia Catherine Ogilvie (nee Ricketts) the only sister of the 1st Baron Ricketts and the wife of John Hugh Donnel Ogilvie, a former judge in Madras. In the letter from my new contact she says that she thinks she has a picture of Eliza but she knows nothing more about the Ogilvies.

The excitement that her letter has stirred up in me is indescribable. Contact with a distant relation from this branch of the family and her piece of information about Captain Ogilvie being married in Singapore are new stepping stones that I intend to follow as far as I can.

Paul Rowland.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

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