Unfinished Portait-Who are we really?

March 8, 2010 at 12:49 pm 4 comments

In search of my son- in search of me

Part One In search of my son- In search of me
Part Two Tourjours Moi-Always Me
Part Three Always Me – Always Chris
Part Four In search of My Son-
Chris Ritchey – Thanks

Part Five Dark Humour- Shedding a Light
Part Six- The Unfinished Portrait
Part Seven -Unfinished Portrait – The Artists

OR What does Elizabeth the First, off with their heads , Sir Walter Raleigh , the founding of Virginia, the Doomsday Book , a few Knights , Panama , Romano British Archeology , Harrods and being French have to do with my search for Chris and me?

Why is it that whenever I start to “document” anything one thing leads to another and I find enough material to fill a warehouse? Who knew that when trying to fill in the blanks as to who was my son, what made him, HIM and do we get certain traits handed down through generations as happens with our physical features – who knew research on this little family would lead me to actually having a pedigree!

It all started Sunday with a photo copy of some notes made by a great aunt on my Grandmothers side found tucked away after 30 years in a drawer. It seems we have a pedigree handed down through the female side of the family tree.

We all have family history’s “flavoured ” by time and recollections and misinformation and I am under no illusions that our family followed suite.

I found it was no earthly use at all to search for Bob ( you would think the nickname for Robert) – No! he was Eric Gordon Douglas or Den for Dennis – his name was really Frederick Jerome. And that is just my uncles, can you imagine what went on further back in the family. Everyone wants to be related to the King of Ireland or Catherine of Russia.

Sir Adam de Stokke Great Grandad ( many plusses) perhaps?
There are any number of sites that will trace your family tree back to Knights , and Landed Gentry and Coats of Arms, so I took with a smile and a grain of salt the “top of the family tree” as drawn by this aged great aunt.

Before claiming a family crest , a great grandad with many plusses who was a crusader , I checked out some of the other “history” she had written in her notes.

I was surprised that indeed all checkable facts in her notes proved accurate and a rum lot we seem to have been.

William Blithing– deserted his wife, fled to Australia, never again heard of – reasons unknown- the (i) changed to “y” by his daughter Josephine – said to have thought it more aristocratic.

or how about :

Lucky Cooper Henderson of Aberdeen – said to have found a cache of gold on Aberdeen beach – immediately left for England- no record of the money

However one of Lucky Cooper’s issue a daughter or grandaughter -can’t find the dates- my great great grandmother married into the Stokes of the Stokes of Stanshawes family ( could this be why a son was disinherited??) .

The male line apparently died out in 1853 or did it because according to great auntie

Stokes of Stanshawe – Yate, nr. Bristol- Heir disinherited after family quarrel- relevant page torn from Parish Register ??????

but at least this “female side “continued on through to my grandmother and to me and then to Nikki and Chris and now through Nikki to Gavin .

Seems the Stokes were always falling out about something or being notorious

Adrian Stokes was a romantic character who married the Duchess of Suffolk when she was in disgrace after the decapitation of Lady Jane Grey and the attainting and subsequent execution of her husband the Duke of Suffolk. ( ED Note: On 9 March, two weeks after her husband’s execution, Frances married Adrian Stokes. It is likely that she was pregnant
at the time as the next November she gave birth to a daughter who died shortly afterwards- oh those Stokes 🙂 )

After the Duchess died Adrian married a widow, Dame Throgmorton.

(ahhhhhhhhhhh families!!!! You remember the scandal and upheaval with regard to the Roman Catholic Church and being disestablished and then re-established and off with there heads. I wish I could invite all these people to my dinner table to talk over politics, religion and art 🙂

Then there were some other interesting Grandads and Uncles of the oh so many greats ago.

Richard didn’t like his eldest son’s (Thomas) ways and made provision to disinherit him unless “he do reclaim and become a sober mane and a good husband and marry a wife with a fortune not less than the sum of one thousand pounds”. The marriage provision was designed to prevent his marrying his “cozen” Sarah, the daughter of Abjohn Stokes (1675-1725). However Thomas was a resolute man and he married Sarah about four months after Richard died. He was disinherited and went off to India for fifty years. He returned to Stanshawes in 1782 when he inherited the estate under the will of his brother, Richard. In India he had served in the army of the Honourable East India Company attaining the rank of Captain.

I did find a lot of Christophers in the ancient family tree –

including the Christopher Stokes who left Stanshawes and emigrated to the USA


Christopher Stokes emigrated from his native Stanshawes, Gloucestershire, England to Jamestown, Virginia in 1624. He afterwards settled a plantation called “Stokes Neck” in Charles River County which later became York County, where he died before 1646, leaving a will and issue.

My Christopher, was not named ironically enough as any sort of family ties- I never knew Christophers existed until this morning- Chris was named after my favourite actor Christopher Plummer.
Who knew that if the pedigree is correct I would have to admit to having a “FR**CH ancestory -Oh the shame 😉

From Burke’s standard work of the landed gentry of Great Britain, this family is of Norman origin, and claims to be a branch of the ancient and illustrious house of Montespedon, now believed to be extinct in Normandy”

NOTE: now there is a coincidence because Montespedon has claims going back to Charlemagne and I have his sword

( well the replica hanging on my dining room wall 🙂 )

The original Stanshawes was destroyed but you can book a room at the modern 1874 ( by the Stoke family standards – Stanshawes Court Hotel
http://www.stanshawescourthotel.co.uk/about.htm– I should warn you it is said to be haunted !

The journey for genes will continue but if any of the aforementioned is accurate then it explains a lot as to my make up at least 🙂

Entry filed under: Brit take, Chris Ritchey, death, journey, men of substance. Tags: , .

Coming to the surface!-The Complex- Complex TELL IT TO THE —- EDITOR—

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Richard Robbin  |  March 9, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    HMMMMMMM…connections to the French 🙂
    Maybe that’s why we get along so well after all these years ….
    Keep a smile on your face. I KNOW it is difficult.

  • 2. dave c  |  March 9, 2010 at 4:23 pm


    I am envious of how far back your information can take you!!

  • 3. thatwoman  |  March 9, 2010 at 5:19 pm

    Woulfd that I had the power of some of those ancestors.. I know a couple of people that would walk the walk from the Tower…….:)

    But how fascinating would it be to sit and talk to these people at the dinner table …… idea for a script maybe 🙂

  • […] As readers know I started exploring who my son was , what made him- HIM. I went on a “genes journey” and in that search I came across ancestors I hadn’t thought of and some of whom I didn’t know existed. […]

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March 2010

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