There has been one very elusive branch of my family tree – the Sutcliffes.
Yes, I know that my great grandmother Sarah Ellen ‘Cissie’ was a Sutcliffe, and of course I’ve been able to trace her parents and so on using the basic certificate and census routes, but contacting and getting a feel for their lives and their stories has been so much harder.
If you consider the close proximity of the Sutcliffe branch to my own twig and then take into account that I’ve been researching for 13 years and have only now got in touch with some of my ‘Sutcliffes’ that tells you just how difficult it has been to get close to them.
Yes, my Dillon great uncles were able to tell me about their cousin Keith and back in 2001 I found an address for him but unfortunately Keith could only give me the names of his cousins; they had not stayed in touch with each other.
My good friend Janet found me through the Todmorden and Walsden site in 2005 and what a fantastic person she is to know. Her husband is my 2nd cousin, twice removed on the Sutcliffe side and they still live in the Todmorden area; they have shared their knowledge of the family and Hebden Bridge.
It is again Edward’s photos that have unlocked the Sutcliffe’s hidden locations in this never ending quest for answers. I found Irene through a chance discovery on the genesrunited site. My contact turned out to be Irene’s brother-in-law and he put us in touch.
David has also been ‘rediscovered’ by Janet he was hiding in the Hebden Bridge area, but, I understand, he is very keen to be in touch and share in our new found family connections.
Although there is still a long way to go, many of the unknown faces now have names – Edward’s photo album is becoming alive with the family’s shared memories.
Hebden Bridge and its rich history has already given me enough to keep me busy for a long time and I hope to visit there soon and stay in the Old Town where once my family enjoyed this beautiful and rugged land; but Hebden Bridge has now taken me into new and uncharted territory – I have volunteered to write a book review for the Who Do You Think You Are? magazine.
I’m excited and a little nervous, yes I’ve written articles before and they have been read, I think, by readers of our local family history society but this, this magazine is read by millions (probably)!