A house of Maxwells: family history fun with Family Tree's Dear Tom columnist

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29 May 2018
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Screen-Shot-2018-05-25-at-16.30.29-45693.png © Ellie Keeble for Family Tree
A Family Tree reader uncovers a family history headache when he starts researching a family with successive generations of ancestors called Maxwell, Alice and Ellen. Stalwart family historian Tom Wood, who pens our popular Dear Tom column, found out more...

A Family Tree reader uncovers a family history headache when he starts researching a family with successive generations of ancestors called Maxwell, Alice and Ellen. Stalwart family historian Tom Wood, who pens our popular Dear Tom column, found out more...

 

We know that lovers of all things family history enjoy a good genealogical tale and in Family Tree we love to share our readers' stories of family history wonders, gems and funnies. You'll find such snippets collected from all over the world by stalwart family historian Tom Wood in his regular Dear Tom column.

 

Recently, Tom heard from reader Ian Brooke, who wrote in to tell us about a family he is researching that seemed to be rather short of Christian names for their children. Ian came across this confusing family (you'll soon find out why!) when researching a gentleman called Maxwell Morris.

 

Born around 1822, Maxwell had a son also called Maxwell, who died when aged only two, but in the same year he had another son who he also named Maxwell. Then that Maxwell had a son in 1883 – you guessed it – named Maxwell.

 

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In addition, Maxwell, the original father, had a daughter called Alice, who sadly also died young, and named the next daughter Alice. After that, he had a daughter called Ellen who also tragically died; so again, the next daughter was called Ellen. In total, Ian told us that Maxwell Morris had two sons named Maxwell, two daughters named Alice and two daughters named Ellen, plus a grandson called Maxwell!

 

Ian reveals that they haven’t been the easiest family to research, what with Morris being such a common surname, and he is sure more Maxwells, Alices and Ellens are going to ‘pop out’ soon! We wish him luck!

 

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You might also enjoy this Dear Tom snippet: Women's War Work.

 

Incidentally, this makes us wonder if any of our other readers have families in their trees who were even worse (or better?) at repeating Christian names through successive generations. Can anyone make it to five or six successive generations, or more? If so, Tom would love to know about them. The rule is that they must be first names and in successive generations, boys or girls, or both, without breaks. 

 

• Have you got a genealogical gem for Dear TomEmail us or comment on our Facebook or Twitter pages and we'll pass your snippets on for Tom's consideration. 

 

This is an extract from Dear Tom, published in the July 2018 issue of Family Tree.

 

Illustration © Ellie Keeble for Family Tree.