Haverhill historians make Suffolk Day celebrations a family affair

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A visitor from South Africa was just one of the many who enjoyed a fruitful delve into their ancestry as Haverhill’s Family History Group played its part in celebrating the first ever Suffolk Day last week.

Visitors explored their Suffolk Ancestors, books and of course cakes as Suffolk Day was marked at the Burton Centre last Wednesday (21).

Haverhill Library and the Haven Café staff had arrays of tempting Suffolk books, cakes and drinks to sustain them in their search for Suffolk Ancestors, with help provided through the day by members of the history group.

Family History Group committee member, Alan Bumpstead, said: “John Baker, who now lives in South Africa, timed his visit to Haverhill perfectly as, with the help of family history group members Wilma Power and Denise Hartley, who co-incidentally lived near John as a child, he managed to extend his family tree back four generations from his grandfather making his visit very worthwhile.

“Suffolk Family History Society records revealed it wasn’t all ‘plain sailing’ as his great-great-great-great grandmother had been married three times, having lost two husbands in 10 years.”

Eric Chapman also, with the help of family history members Barry Young and Gloria Callen, discovered exactly where his ancestors were living 200 years ago in Withersfield.

He was surprised, explained Mr Bumpstead, to find that although recorded as humble agricultural labourers the family were already on the property ladder owning their own house.

It stood close to the present Haverhill bypass near the entrance to Hanchett End Hall and had a garden of area 25 perch (about 1/6 an acre).

Another visitor, Shelia Watson, helped by member Karen Young, also found her ancestors living at Hanchett End around the same time as the Chapman family!