I have been interested in my family history for many years now. On these pages I will publish the results of my research.
We have been a family of nomads over the past hundred and fifty years, with some branches of the family spending just one generation in a country, then moving on. Family members have lived – and some had children – in Northern Ireland, Scotland, England, Germany, South Africa, Canada, Belgium, Spain, Puerto Rico, New Zealand, Australia, and the United States! Oh, don’t forget the 6 months I spent in Saudi Arabia!
My grandfather, Frederick Collins, was born in a small country town called Kineton in Warwickshire, England. His Collins ancestors moved there from Blockley, Worcestershire in the 1820s – but his mother’s people, the Worralls, were there in the late 1500s and their name appears in the early pages of the first baptismal register for St. Peter’s Church. They seem to have been farm labourers and later on, glaziers, and were probably bound to the local manor house – which tells me they were likely Saxons – no Norman nobility in MY family (*2*)!
One whole quarter of my ancestory was blank – for about 40years. My Danish great-grandfather, Rasmus Pedersen, proved elusive but cousin Louise is on his track! One of Rasmus Pederson’s sons, Neils Pedersen, was the Postmaster in Randers for many years. Much of my Danish branch was discovered by a Danish cousin who was kind enough to share it with me.
When going backwards in time gets frustrating, I have started coming forward and finding descendants like my cousin, Michael Collins. We found each other because we were looking for the same ancestor – William Collins (born about 1765 in Wiltshire, England) – and posting questions to the same village websites. William Collins had three sons – Michael is descended from one son, me from another – that makes us very distant cousins – but we are friends on Facebook! I have since found other cousins in England, Scotland, Denmark, and Australia.
I posted a note to the curiousfox.com website for Seaham Harbour, Co. Durham – the town where my mother was born – looking for information about one of her uncles – George Mason – who was union organizer in the gold mines in South Africa in the early 1900s. His grandson, now living in South Africa, responded and brought me up to date with his descendants.
I want to give a big shout-out for durhamrecordsonline.com. Those amazing folks have over 3 million County Durham records online and keep on adding to them. Searching is free and the costs for credits are low AND they keep track of what you have paid to see and you NEVER have to pay twice to view the same record. They even send you an informative monthly update telling you what has been added to the site.
My good friend, Zane Berge, (whose tree I also maintain) gave me my first world subscription to Ancestry.com and I have been able to make amazing progress on all my family lines. There is also a vibrant, European community on MyHeritage and I have found Danish cousins who have helped me locate my Pedersens. I have separate trees for my father, Thomas W.R. Collins, and my mother, Norah Marie Pedersen-Collins and many other branches of our far-ranging family.