Our guest speaker in April was Anne Fletcher who took us on a journey from Bradford to Monte Carlo. Anne told us how a family story had been passed down through the generations. Her great great uncle Joseph Hobson Jagger, who went to Monte Carlo and ‘broke the bank.’
Life for Joseph in Bradford was that of a mill worker who later moved to a better house in the Manningham area. He started a small free lance business that was not a success. Joseph, a Methodist, went to Monte Carlo using his knowledge in engineering to try and make a lot of money. He didn’t squander his winnings but ensured that his family was looked after and he invested in quite a few properties in and around where his family lived.
Anne has researched online, in libraries, the Family History Centre in Wakefield looking at Deeds and Wills and newspaper reports to confirm the story. She also contacted a number of relatives. Gradually the story of ‘ breaking the bank,’ emerged and confirmation of the story was made.
The culmination of 10 years of research ended with Anne writing the story of Joseph Hobson Jagger and the publication of a book which received good reviews. Jonathan Foyle wrote, ‘ A thrilling true detective story that redefines family history. While Tracy Borman said, ‘ An utterly compelling and deeply personal account of a working class Victorian man who broke the bank at Monte Carlo. In telling this story of her ancestor, the author brings to life one of the most transformative periods in British history. Her painstaking research is as fascinating as the tale itself. Not to be missed.’ Anne’s book is out in hardback with the paperback version coming out soon.
Nick Barrett, our guest speaker March 6th, is an English Genealogist Consultant at the University of London. He explained that he wanted to take us behind the scenes of the tv programme ‘ Who Do You Think You Are. ‘ Nick has been involved with programme since its inception in 2005.The idea was to present a look at the social and family history from the perspective of ordinary people’s lives and not from an academics point of view.
Working initially at the Public Record Office in London, Nick was affected by the enthusiasm of family researchers and their stories. He recounted how he eventually became involved with the tv programme and how, along with others, wanted to capture the interest of viewers through the life stories of celebrities who it was thought would make the programme interesting and entertaining. Nick quoted from a sample of well known figures such as Lesley Garrett, Jeremy Clarkson, Jeremy Paxton, Bill Oddy and Ian Hislop . There was family tragedy, a potential murder, a case of extreme poverty, infidelity and of a narrowescape from some armed conflict. Each participant had to agree to certain conditions which included not to see the programmer’s script, not to get in touch with other relatives and not to be involved with the editing procedure. Nick concluded a very entertaining and informative meeting by warning us not to rely on storing our family histories digitally but to ensure we keep hard copies too.
Our next meeting is April 3rd when Anne Fletcher’s talk is ‘From the Mill to Monte Carlo. ‘