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The Saturday List: Notable Relatives Mar 20

Well, as a way of making sure I post at least once a week, this series is doing its job so far – even if I haven’t had time to post in between lists.

This week’s list of celebrities and other persons of note who have cropped up in my family history research. Some of them are distant relatives by marriages (and have been mentioned on this blog before); the others are direct relations.

  • Tony Benn – Not news to long time readers of this blog as it’s been mentioned before but the Howellses and the Benns are joined by marriage, as recorded on By virtue of this marriage, I can also include
  • Hilary Benn, and
  • Margaret Rutherford – her father having changed their name from Benn after murdering his father
  • John Edward Emile (Von) Holtorp – Another relative by marriage I’ve mentioned before (his son married my great-great-aunt), Holtorp was a member of the General Council of the International, alongside Karl Marx.
  • Frank Bough – yes, that Frank Bough. His wife Nesta (née Howells) is my third cousin once removed.
  • Rees Howells – Nesta’s great-uncle and the founder of the Bible College of Wales. I talked a bit about him in this podcast, and he’s on Wikipedia too.
  • Richard John Blackler – My great-great-uncle and the founder of Blacker’s, a large department store that operated for about 80 years in the centre of Liverpool. George Harrison briefly trained as an electrician there in the 1960s. The old store building is now host to a number of smaller outlets including a Wetherspoons pub called The Richard John Blackler.

Got any interesting/notorious/celebrity relatives? Do share in the comments 🙂

3 Responses

  1. 1
    Mark Pack 

    Ah, that’d be why we went to the Wetherspoons in Liverpool. I’d forgotten that!

  2. 2

    Well, Samantha Janus (of Game On and more recently some rubbish about the east end of London) is my great uncle’s son’s step-daughter. I discovered this when a former uncle of mine was told off for making lechy comments about ‘family’. I have, of course, never met her.

    Russ Abbot spells his surname differently, for which at least 2 generations of my branch of the Abbott’s are grateful. Sometimes having the more common version of the surname is useful.

  3. My grandfather apparently took the Foster side of the family tree back about 200 years, but I haven’t seen the fruits of his labours. Seems though, apparently, they had all been seed and corn merchants in Leominster with a side order of preachers in a variety of non-conformist sects. “There have been Fosters in Leominster for 200 years!” is a family saying that will soon no longer be true, as my Dad is the last to remain. His sister and me and my brother all left in pursuit of education or gold paved streets, and we’ve all stayed away so far.