Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Coming soon to this blog

I have been a little bit neglectful of my blog recently, mainly because I have been pre-occupied with research and with writing and creating more of my online documents about different branches of our family tree.

To recap, my name is Pete Millington, I was born on 25 December 1961 (yes on Christmas Day). My parents (Geoff and Joan) were working class Brummies. Just to explain, Brummie is a slang colloquial expression for a person from Birmingham UK, a large industrial city in the English West Midlands. The region is synonymous with metal bashing and manufacturing trades, but also for William Shakespeare, Cadbury's chocolate and the steam engines that drove the industrial revolution. 

Both of my parents have a fair bit of Irish Catholic genes. I have four sisters and one brother. I'm married to Theresa (also of Irish ancestry) and we have three teenaged children.

I took up genealogy about 20 years ago, although really I thought of it more as collecting stories as my family, like many others I would guess, had a great tradition of passing on oral history from one generation to the next. In fact, my fascination with family stories was started for me as a child by my grandmother who told us stories about her life in India in the early 1920s. For me then, genealogy is about collecting and conveying stories, or narrative, just as importantly as it is about adding ancestors to my tree.

I'm intrigued by the coincidences and random moments of inspiration which occur in family research, I'm not a very religious person but I do often feel a strong sense of ancestors leading one in the search, I hope that doesn't sound too weird though I am certain that other family researches will relate to that sense of the past speaking to us. The past is another land, as someone once wrote, and travelling through the past is truly a wonderful journey to go on from time to time.

So, now I am recommitted to my blog (famous last words) ...what's to come?

Earlier this year my sister Alison married an American named Mike Cipriano and I began a quest to trace Mike's tree for him and his brothers. This has pre-occupied me for some months and I finally finished the project (well for the moment) in August 2016 in time for their family reunion. So I will start to blog that research soon, but in the meantime you can read the full document by clicking the relevant link in the right hand column (under Calameo publications).

It really was a fantastic journey for me as I learnt all about the migration of southern Italians (Cipriano and many other Italian family names) from the port of Naples to New York in the late 1800s and early 20th century. On Mike's mother's side there were the Bregg family who were the archetypal American settlers of the 18th century who travelled across the mighty new continent,  laying down their roots and taking part in all those momentous battles of American history. For the first time in my family research.... cowboys!!

In amongst the Breggs I discovered a branch of Mike's family named Elliott who were Ulster Presbyterians, the frontiers-folk of the 1700s who took part in rebellions and battles before laying down their own roots of American respectability. There's also some fascinating insights into American Deaf culture in there too, which was something we weren't expecting to find.

Also on Mike's mother's side were the Blumbergs of San Francisco, originally poor Polish Jews from Russian occupied Warsaw who went to the States via London. I am certain this must have been a common experience for tens of thousands of American Jewish families.

I've also started some research into the Palmer and Parsons families of the south coast of England. This is the family and ancestors of a sister-in-law of mine here in England, Rachel. Again, some fascinating stories here, such as Rachel's great grandfather, a London based journalist who set out to debunk the spiritualists of Edwardian England and America and ended up falling out with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle but earning the respect of Harry Houdini. That story is coming real soon to the blog.

There are plenty more stories in the pipeline, on the Irish side of my family I have recently learnt of a family connection to a rebel leader who signed the 1916 Proclamation of Irish Independence. On my wife's side of the family there are leading rebels in the 1798 insurrection in Wexford, including the priest John Murphy who led the rebellion. Plus loads more to come.

If you want to read my research please click on one of my books in the Calameo format.

If you think we are related or have any kind of connection, please email me at

Thanks for reading!    


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