Tragic Queen, an American President and Guilty Secrets; Family Roots WE Asked You to Share Research on Your Family Trees and Reveal the Fascinating Stories Your Detective Work Has Unearthed. Many of You Have Scoured Church Records and Quizzed Relatives for Tales Dating Back Hundreds of Years and They Provide a Fascinating Personal Look at History

Coventry Evening Telegraph (England), December 21, 2007 | Go to article overview

Tragic Queen, an American President and Guilty Secrets; Family Roots WE Asked You to Share Research on Your Family Trees and Reveal the Fascinating Stories Your Detective Work Has Unearthed. Many of You Have Scoured Church Records and Quizzed Relatives for Tales Dating Back Hundreds of Years and They Provide a Fascinating Personal Look at History


Byline: By Sarah Seaton

A TRIP to London with an 80-year-old aunt started Glennys Tierney off on research for her family tree - a trip that has included links to prostitutes and the American presidency.

Glennys was born in Banbury, but now lives in Hollis Road, Stoke, Coventry.

She started her tree "purely out of curiosity".

But it was a great shock to the budding history detective to find evidence of prostitution and bigamy along with links to the British throne and American Presidency.

In her working life Glennys was a home help around Coventry. Now widowed and retired, her main hobby is to look back over hundreds of documents figuring out the labyrinth of names and information to identify her family line.

Glennys has worked hard in tracing her family and identified one member called Amy Pargenter.

She married Lawrence Washington of Sulgrave Manor, near Banbury, the ancestral home of the Washingtons. He was the great-great-great-great-great-grandfather of George Washington, the first president of the United States, from 1789-97.

"It is amazing how things changed, many of my ancestors were well to do with a lot of property but my father worked in the pits from the age of 13."

Glennys is dedicated to detail and has uncovered a lot more than dates of births, deaths and marriages.

Not content with being associated with the American Presidency, Glennys uncovered a relation to the British throne.

This time it was William Pargenter who went on to marry Abigail Willoughby. Her second cousin was Lady Jane Grey, who was famous for being queen for nine days in 1553 before being imprisoned and beheaded, along with her father and husband, by order of Mary Tudor, who became Queen.

"Well I'm nearer than most to the throne and at least I still have my head."

There was more to come with revelations of a closely-guarded family secret.

Pictures of her great-grandmother would never have revealed her line of work, but Glennys's detective skills did.

According to information from the census, Glennys's great-grandmother Alice Rowbotham of Banbury was a prostitute and, so it seemed, was Alice's daughter Mary. It was noted that in 1871 Alice, aged 39, and Mary, aged 23, lived in a brothel and her great-grandfather Jon Rowbotham was the pimp.

"You watch these programmes on television and you have men crying about how hard up their ancestors were. …

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Tragic Queen, an American President and Guilty Secrets; Family Roots WE Asked You to Share Research on Your Family Trees and Reveal the Fascinating Stories Your Detective Work Has Unearthed. Many of You Have Scoured Church Records and Quizzed Relatives for Tales Dating Back Hundreds of Years and They Provide a Fascinating Personal Look at History
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