Quick pointers to the most interesting people in the family tree

This summary is divided into 8 sections for my 8 great-grandparents. These are:

Emanuele Azzaro
1840 - 1916
Paternal grandfather of David Azzaro
Ursula May
1849 - 1921
Paternal grandmother of David Azzaro
George Baker
1849 - 1930
Maternal grandfather of David Azzaro
Rebecca Sparshott
1851 - 1892
Maternal grandmother of David Azzaro
Edward Pettit
1857 - 1909
Paternal grandfather of May Pettit
Ann Harris
1858 - 1933
Paternal grandmother of May Pettit
William Barker
1870 - 1946
Maternal grandfather of May Pettit
Louisa Wallace
1869 - 1928
Maternal grandmother of May Pettit

1. Emanuele Azzaro and his ancestors

Apart from identifying where Emanuele was born, my researches don't go back very far. There are plenty of notes to read about all of the Azzaros, both before and after Emanuele but no remarkable ancestors. One interesting bit is that Emanuele had two brothers who emigrated to Argentina where there are plenty of descendants, although one of them returned to Italy and is the ancestor of all present-day Azaros in Casarza Ligure.

2. Ursula May and her ancestors

Ursula's ancestry doesn't go back very far at all. The verbal family story is that she was Irish, but actually appears to have been born in Leicester. There is tenuous evidence that her father was Irish, but strangely he said that he was born in 'Peesa, Italy'.

3. George Baker and his ancestors

Again, I have only a couple of generations of ancestors for George Baker, But these include his father and grandparents who were born in Billingshurst, and his mother who was born in Pulborough. I would guess that this branch of the family are firmly rooted in that part of Sussex 'since time immemorial'.

4. Rebecca Sparshott and her ancestors.

Her father comes over as a colourful character, describing himself in the 1881 census as "Beer house keeper, late sergeant of the 29th Foot'. He completed 21 years service in the 29th Foot, including 4 years in the East Indies. Rebecca herself is the only 'Northerner' in the family, her parents coming from Bolton-le-Moors.

5. Edward Pettit and his ancestors

The Pettits have the longest ancestral tree of all the family. Edward himself was born in Folkestone but moved to London at an early age, becoming a lighterman. His father had been a merchant seaman, and his father a coastguard. The Pettit tree in Folkestone goes back reliably to William Pettit (1695 - 1727) and speculatively a couple of generations before that.

Edward's paternal grandmother was Sarah Spearpoint and this gets us into the Spearpoint family tree which goes back as far as a Robert Spearpoint who died around 1540. Several of the Spearpoints left wills or probate documents so there is more to read than just names and dates.

In 1855 Henry Spearpoint Pettit (Edward's father) married Charlotte Scutt, and the Scutts form another interesting branch. It leads back to Richard Scutt (1743 - 1823) and Sarah Luff who married in Heyshott (near Midhurst), Sussex. Sarah Luff is interesting in having apparently married 3 times, once bigamously, and twice to the same husband. Several interesting documents have survived relating to Sarah Luff's parents - William Luff and Sarah Miles.

6. Ann Harris and her ancestors

The interesting member of Ann Harris' family is her father Mark Harris. He was born near Bristol but found his way to London, evidently stopping off at Guildford where he met his future wife Elizabeth Walden. Most records of Mark describe him as a Dairyman, but by the time of the 1891 census he appears to be running a business described as 'Dairyman and Provisions'. 5 of his daughters are described as 'Assistant in shop' - my guess is that this means that they are employed in his own shop, not somebody else's. Maybe this implies that there is still scope to hunt for more records of the business. Unfortunately the business wasn't sufficiently substantial for him to have left anything much by way of inheritance.

7. William Barker and his ancestors.

The Barkers can be traced back for a few generations before William, but without revealing anything more than names and dates.

8. Louisa Wallace and her ancestors

The most famous name in mum's oral family history was Louisa Wallace's father, Alfred Henry Wallace. There were various versions of the story but all involved him leaving his home and family and eventually being found dead on Brighton Beach. The story also said that he was closely related to the head of the Wallace clan, having run away with a servant girl, and by rights should have been rich.

Fortunately there were local papers and coroners' reports at the time and it finished up that he had drowned in a pond while drunk, having recently asked a passer-by for the price of a pint. As regards the lost wealth it looks clear that Alfred's father had been born in London and wasn't the least bit rich, so you have to go back at least one more generation if you want to find any trace of money in the family. As yet, no trace.