Meet the Bunbury Clan: Nobs, Naval Heroes, Sopranos, Planters. and Me; Historian and Author Turtle Bunbury Toured Ireland This Summer as Part of the Team from RTE1's the Genealogy Roadshow. through Exhaustive Research, He Helped to Uncover Extraordinary Stories about the Ancestry of Ordinary Irish People. Here, He Delves into His Own Past to See What Secrets Can Be Shaken from the Bunbury Family Tree

The Mail on Sunday (London, England), October 2, 2011 | Go to article overview

Meet the Bunbury Clan: Nobs, Naval Heroes, Sopranos, Planters. and Me; Historian and Author Turtle Bunbury Toured Ireland This Summer as Part of the Team from RTE1's the Genealogy Roadshow. through Exhaustive Research, He Helped to Uncover Extraordinary Stories about the Ancestry of Ordinary Irish People. Here, He Delves into His Own Past to See What Secrets Can Be Shaken from the Bunbury Family Tree


Byline: Turtle Bunbury

WE'VE all had some decidedly unpleasant photographs hanging in our homes down the years. Whether it's the sullen child on Communion day or the sunburnt adult in that cheesy holiday snap, they give a home character. But in the big dusty house of my childhood, there was little charm in the pictures that adorned the walls.

I grew up at the foot of the Wicklow Mountains in a house called Lisnavagh. It lies close to the village of Rathvilly, Co. Carlow, in a landscape bound by overgrown ringforts, a defiant dolmen and the last crumbling traces of an Augustinian abbey.

The corridors of our big old house were lined with oil portraits of poker-faced men sporting snow white wigs and sullen women in sombre shawls. As a youngster, those portraits petrified me. Their penetrating eyes chased me all the way to the safety of the kitchen.

Then, in 1988, I was a bored 16-year-old rummaging through the attic at Lisnavagh when I plucked out an old scroll. It turned out to be a family tree, tracing the Bunburys back to 1066, when a Norman described as 'a younger brother of the Baron de St. Pierre' apparently arrived in England and was granted the lordship of 'Boniface's Borough' in Cheshire.

As a child who was always obsessed by the past, you can imagine what a treasure trove this was. I know that many think of history as the dullest subject ever invented, and can't wait to finish studying it. But I struck lucky and had several good teachers who instilled in me a love of bygone days.

It was family history that caught my attention most. Finally I could find out who all those people in the portraits were. My father was also about to turn 50 so I thought an updated family tree would be an ideal gift for the occasion.

As I sat in the dusty attic and my finger trawled through the generations, I noted that the family had adopted the name 'de Boneberi' and, by the 14th century, the family head was a guy called Roger de Bunbury who was marshalling English troops against the French during the Hundred Years War.

In the 17th century, the tree split into the English branch and the Irish branch, which was descended from Benjamin Bunbury, who arrived here in the 1660s.

The tree stopped at about 1830 although someone had tried to pencil in a few later generations.

And that's the moment I became hooked on genealogy. It is the greatest jigsaw ever made. It's deeply indulgent and utterly fascinating and it gets bigger and juicier every time you find a new piece.

Working out what actually happened to anyone in the distant past is a hugely speculative business. All you have to start with is a person's name, sex and maybe his or her date of birth or death. So what do you do from there? It can be a daunting prospect.

In Ireland, we've evolved our genealogical research skills enormously over the past decade. There are many extremely talented genealogists operating in this country, solving family puzzles for Irish people and people of Irish origin all over the world.

There's tourism money in it too. If you can tell an American or an Australian which townland in Ireland their ancestors hailed from, there's a very good chance they will come and visit it. And if they enjoyed the visit, they will bring their family next time.

The 1901 and 1911 censuses have done much to enable people to work out which street their forebears were resident in 100 years ago. Resources like Griffith's Valuations, the Tithe reports and specific church records can also be helpful. Add in the wonders of Google, and the possibilities for researching one's family history are expanding at an extraordinary rate.

I specialise in producing family history books, profiling each generation in turn. It's all about keeping the history flowing, peppering it with detail about the main events, countries, professions and people that shaped their lives. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Meet the Bunbury Clan: Nobs, Naval Heroes, Sopranos, Planters. and Me; Historian and Author Turtle Bunbury Toured Ireland This Summer as Part of the Team from RTE1's the Genealogy Roadshow. through Exhaustive Research, He Helped to Uncover Extraordinary Stories about the Ancestry of Ordinary Irish People. Here, He Delves into His Own Past to See What Secrets Can Be Shaken from the Bunbury Family Tree
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.