The research into my family tree has taken many years already, and is far from over. During this time I have come across personal tragedy ranging from the untimely passing away of individuals to several children of the same family passing away with in a few years of each other. I have even uncovered one suicide. I have uncovered criminal behaviour that has resulted in time at Her Majesty's pleasure but, on the other hand, I have also found instances of achievement where individuals have been awarded medals for heroic behaviour for saving lives at home and whilst at war.

My family all come from Suffolk with the odd smattering of Norfolk and Essex families. The two main clusters within Suffolk are around the Glemsford area in the south and the Hoxne area in the north east.

From the many tragic stories I have found one that stands out. John NOY, a farm labourer from Laxfield in Suffolk was born in 1785. On the 28th of December 1812, at the age of 27 he married Latitia WELTON.  They appear to have 9 children altogether from 1813 to 1839, unfortunately, by 1827, four of their children have passed away. Two within the same year of their birth and two of them in the same year as each other. None of these children are older than 14 years. By the time of John's death in 1865, he has out lived at least 5 of his 9 children.

As you would expect these tragedies become less frequent as medical science, knowledge and the availability of health care becomes more prevalent. Unfortunately this advancement fails to keep some members of my family on the straight and narrow and many have felt the local constabulary on their collar. These crimes do seem to be more of delinquent children and crimes of necessity rather than hardened criminals however for the 9 person's that I have found a criminal element to, they have amassed punishments including 'four strokes of the birch', fines totaling over £6, several months hard labour and 3 years penal servitude. Their crimes have ranged from trespassing and poaching to robbery.

Among the other items of interest are the story of William OAKLEY who took his own life with a razor after being drunk for several days, the family with 16 children, the person with 3 marriages, the person who lived until they were 95, a 14 year old bride and an apparently 13 year old father!

With 1195 people in my tree at the time of writing this, and some trees having 10's of thousands of people in, I am sure that many more stories will be unearthed.

Ben Oakley
February 2011