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My family tree covers the Long and Gregory families and their ancestors. Apart from finding my direct ancestors, I have also tried, where possible, to add siblings and spouses, as well as job descriptions and anything else that is known about them. This has helped me to create a rounded, historical picture, not only of my ancestors but of the times in which they were living. My family's pattern seems to conform fairly well with the move from an agrarian society to an industrial one in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century, with many of them altering their lives to accommodate this. For example, my great grandfather, Samuel Long, moved his business from Wiltshire to London where he thought he would be more successful selling chaff for horses' feed in a city containing thousands of horses, rather than in a rural area, and the Shelleys, who had been farriers in the City of London, who added coach building to their skills. Although I have found out a good deal about the various branches of my family and I feel that I have got to know them, there are still a lot of unanswered questions. For example, my great grandfather, Richard Phillips, was a nurse child and, so far, I have found no record of his father, although I do now know who his mother was. The story goes that Richard was the product of a liaison between the master of the house and his domestic servant (where have we heard these sorts of stories before?); whose side did we take during the English Civil War?; what did those brave young men feel when they joined up and marched off to war in 1914-18?; were there any villains or heroes? I could go on. I was fortunate enough to have known all my grandparents and therefore have a direct link to the Victorian age because I used to listen with great interest to their stories of a bygone era, as they must have done with their grandparents, and thus history is passed on through the generations. Before I started my research, I didn't know that I had any living relatives from the Phillips' side of the family tree but I have been fortunate enough to find my second cousins. I have now met up with my lovely cousin, Hayley Green, so we are able to help each other on a side of the tree that, in some ways, is quite mysterious. On first meeting, it felt as though I had known her all my life; blood is indeed thicker than water. Hayley managed to get lots of photographs that her aunt Doll (my mum's cousin) had collected, which we have checked and, between us, we have sorted out who is who. It is so good to have someone else to talk to and I don't feel nearly so alone now with the Phillips family. Hayley has also taken me on a journey of discovery around Dartford, to see many of the places connected with the Phillips' family and we have found the site of Richard Phillips' and Alice Mary Apted's grave although, sadly, no headstone. I have visited the Medway area of Kent, from where some of my maternal ancestors came and in Frindsbury Church was fortunate to find a headstone for my gx4 grandparents James & Prudence Moorey. That was such an exciting find and it was amazing to think that, after 200 years, the headstone was still standing and still readable. On the Gregory side, I have a third cousin, Paul Savill, who is also researching, so we are pooling our resources and coming up with some interesting information, especially after our visit to the Medway Records' Office in Strood. It was the first time that I had met Paul, although we had corresponded regularly, so it was very exciting. I also managed to contact my mum's cousin Lillian Wyatt, the daughter of Eliza Gregory, my grandfather's younger sister. She lived in Crayford for the whole of her life and gave me lots of information about the Gregory family that I didn't know. She also had masses of photographs, many of which she allowed me to copy, thus giving me the opportunity to see pictures of ancestors that I hadn't seen before. Sadly, Lillian died in December 2009; I was invited to attend the interring of her ashes in St Paulinus Churchyard in Crayford, where I was also able to see the Gregory family burial plots that were there. I was recently put in touch with my cousin Alan (Uncle Norman's son) who lives in Calgary in Canada and we have joined forces to look at the Canadian connections within the Gregory family and to research Norman's war record. As for the Shelley family, I was fortunate enough to have contact with my second cousin, Pauline, whose mother and aunt were dad's cousins, with whom he lost touch during WWII. Sadly Pauline's mother Edna has died but we have visited Gladys Shelley; it was the first time dad has seen her since about 1940. They lost touch during the war because dad went off into the forces and Gladys and her family were bombed out of their homes three times. It was a great reunion and Gladys let me have some photographs, including a locket containing one of her mother as a young woman. It is beautiful. Pauline lives in Canada. Sadly Gladys died in November of 2013 but it did mean that Pauline and I met up at the funeral and had an interesting day together. We talk a lot on skype now. I have also found my cousins, June, John, Martin & Janet Long, which is so exciting and we are busy making up for lost time and pooling our resources on the family tree front. We were fortunate that John and Janet were able to come along to join in dad's 92nd birthday celebrations, which was of great excitement to him. We had a family reunion on 10 October 2009 at The Telegraph Pub in Putney. It was a great afternoon, getting to know each other after all these years and meeting the new members of the family. I have some other exciting recent discoveries. The Attree line, on my mum's side, originated in the villages of Wivelsfield and Ditchling, where the name started as At Ree and the origins of the family can be traced back to the Doomsday book (1086). Some of the Attrees migrated to the Dorking area and William Attree was born in Redhill. He married a Sarah Alston, the daughter of Sir Evelyn Alston, of the Baronetcy of Chelsea. Sir Evelyn's mother was Penelope Evelyn, whose great-great grandfather George was patriarch of the family and a manufacturer of gunpowder. One of his grandsons was John Evelyn, famous for his diary, which contains many references to family members and which has proved of great help to me in compiling my tree. When I studied JE's diary at university, little did I know that I was studying some of my own ancestors - bizarre! In April 2010 I visited Tilshead, which is a village in the centre of Salisbury Plain, and where my great grandfather, Samuel Long, was born. It is such a pretty village. We visited the church and found some headstones dedicated to members of the Long family in the churchyard. We also found Sunny Side Cottage, which is where one of my grandfather's cousins lived. I have put a photograph of it on the website. I do hope you enjoy my website. Valerie