How I Got Started Researching my Family History

I would really like to know what happened to my father, Sydney William Manton!

These simple words spoken by my Aunt Ivy in the late 1970’s catapulted me into years of research to find what did happen to Sidney William Manton. They also led me on a journey of discovery about my own roots, and the fascinating family that Ivy knew nothing about. If you didn’t know better you could be excused for thinking you were reading a novel and one filled with intrigue. Family rivalry, invention, court cases, a mistress, illegitimacy, incest, bigamy, imprisonment, self confidence, together with a good dose of arrogance are all woven through the family of Joseph Manton. Combine these with the spirit of adventure and guts to travel and establish themselves on the other side of the globe in an unexplored land in the hope of making a fortune and you have the foundation of the fascinating lives of the Manton branch of my family tree.

The beginning —–

After the birth of my children and in an attempt to prevent my brain from stagnating Ivy’s curiosity spurred me to explore who exactly was my grandfather. He was a very elusive character! However in some way this proved to be useful when I came to researching the Mantons. The methodology used to search for ancestors i.e. start with yourself and work backwards, lead me to discover an enormous list of names and a staggering amount of information about “the family” very quickly. This was made easier because they wrote letters, and in particular they wrote to Government authorities many now available in our archives. From a list of names sprang wonderful stories that even after nearly forty years more are still being revealed. One thing for certain is that my grand father Sidney William Manton was someone that you certainly would not have been proud of! That is something that you have to accept when you delve into peoples lives – not everything is as you might want it to be.


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