Title - Find my family - part1Ever since I was a young girl I have memories of my Papa (my mothers father) telling us stories of his upbringing & our heritage. He was very proud of the humble circumstances from which he was raised as he learned skills such as resilience, mental ‘toughness’ and resourcefulness which he may not have learned to so finely tune under any other circumstance. My Papa was very proud of the whakapapa which he also penned as a boy & had so keenly maintained into adulthood, and he passed that keenness on to a few of his mokopuna or grandchildren, including myself.

Being of Maori descent traditionally our culture are an oral culture, genealogy was passed down through generations through song or waiata rather than by keeping hard copy records as Western cultures have done. In fact New Zealand didn’t start keeping records of births deaths and marriages until the early 1840‘s so anything that happened before then is often only recorded privately by families. You can imagine the frustration when you gain information which changes everything, or should I say generations of your family history, especially when proof of these changes is scarce.

So without further ado: Robert Charles Lucas Reay

Meet Robert . Robert was christened in 1839 in Whitchurch England while his father (rev Charles Lucas Reay) was vicar of Swanbourne in Buckinghamshire from 1838-1841.

In 1841 the Rev then relocated to New Zealand to preach the Christian faith to the Maori people. His wife (Marianne) joined him in New Zealand a couple years later (1843) with the children Robert (2) and Jane (around 6).

After his father died aged 37, his fathers sister Maria wrote an interesting letter informing him of a family secret. She told him how his mother was in fact a woman named Sanders, and how his so called ‘mother’ palmed him off as their own child. She told him how he was in fact no relation to the parents whom he knew and loved. See the letter here.
Now stop. Rewind. Robert was christened in 1839, his father was vicar of Swanbourne in Buckinghamshire from 1838-1841. Swanbourne is over 200km away from Ellesmere. Why would a vicar have his own flesh & blood christened over 200 km from his own Parrish?
CLR map Ellesmere to Swanbourne
 What about birth record, well as far as we can tell there is none. Is there any proof that his supposed birth mother exists? Well yes.
I’m sure you can understand the skepticism, so I’ve decided to follow the path of proverbial breadcrumbs. But why search? Well I simply must, because there is a potential shift in thousands of names in our family tree which I need to correct, if something most certainly is out of place.
So I’m going to search for proof. After all, it’s only my sons namesake in question.
What am I going to use? I’m going to use FamilySearch.org , Ancestry.com , and a myriad of other known / little known genealogically relevant websites that I’ll list as I go. And hopefully I’ll get to the bottom of this.