|About Trees, Branches and Twigs
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I began my search by looking for details on my late father, Frederick William Henry Balkwill, who was killed during World War II in Italy on 24 October 1944 whilst on active service with the 2nd Battalion, Royal Scots Regiment. I knew from speaking to my father's sisters when I was a child that my father's ancestors came from "somewhere in Devon", but that was all the information I had to start with. Prior to the death of my mother I did not want to cause her pain by bringing up the past, but after her death my interest in family research grew and I became "hooked" on this all consuming hobby - it is an ongoing learning curve and I have learned never to take information given to be correct until I have confirmed all details from at least two sources to make sure I have the "right" person!. I must thank Jan Balkwill (England) and Jane Taylor (England), together with other enthusiasts, for their considerable help in pointing me in the right direction when researching into the Balkwill Family prior to 1800. I must also thank Ann Reade for her ongoing support and enthusiasm - Ann is a second cousin who is from the Gibson/Fielder branch of my family tree. I did not know Ann until a chance "Hot Match" contact. I have made numerous contacts with other distant relatives and we have exchanged information on the basis that we check one another's research! I have also met a lot of "name collectors", but I am learning to sort the wheat from the chaff! I am indebted to Peter Evans for all the well researched information he has given me on the Bird/Judge families and also to Roger Mills for his research into the Judge family. Information on the Brill Family can be found in "A Quiet and Secluded Spot" by Colleen A. Cox. Apart from the bare bones of the family tree I have become interested in the actual lives of my ancestors. For example I did not know that my Grandmother Balkwill came from a family of Royal Marines (through both her Bale (paternal) line and her Marriott (maternal line), and I have begun to research the Royal Marines in the nineteenth century; I now have the service records of my two great grandfathers and a great uncle. The Fielder and Gibson males were all shipwrights.The Fielders originated from Beaulieu, Hampshire, and are related through marriage to the Scanes and West families of Beaulieu (who were also shipwrights). I found a great deal of information in the Beaulieu/Boldre areas in the Rev. Comyn's diaries - these were compiled and edited by Jude James. The Fielders, Scanes and West families moved to London at the demise of shipbuilding in Bucklers Hard, Hampshire around the 1830's. The Gibson family originated from Chatham and I have spent weeks searching through the wonderful "free" CityArk Medway site for births/marriages/deaths records. The Gibson family also moved to London and are related to the Fielders by the marriage of Mary Ann Elizabeth Fielder to George Benjamin Gibson. William Edward Fielder (Mary Ann Elizabeth's father) had nine children - seven of whom became shipwrights - I think the Fielder/Gibson males had a monopoly in the shipbuilding dockyards! This is an ongoing project and I will be adding to it from time to time.