Ten Generations - Looking Backwards in time

Ten Generations : Looking Backwards in Time
by Chris Birch

Published by the St Christopher Press
on 8th September 2003, paperback, 12
ISBN 0-9545721-0-6

Chris Birch was born and grew up in St Kitts. He went to school in Trinidad and Barbados. When an uncle died in 1987, he found in an old tin trunk an even older family tree. Since then, he has traced his father's family in England back to the early part of the 18th century and his mother's family in the West Indies back to the early part of the 17th century.

He now has nearly 6000 family names on his computer database, and this is an attempt to add some flesh and blood to those dry bones. He has discovered a fair number of colourful characters on his family tree. In addition to a lot of 17th and 18th century Empire builders, colonial governors and chief justices, there are obscenely rich sugar planters who owned large numbers of slaves.

One of the family was the clergyman who conducted the secret and illegal marriage of the Prince of Wales to Mrs Fitzherbert, and another married the Chief of Staff of the Prussian Army. Humphry Berkeley, the pioneer of homo-sexual law reform who succeeded in changing the way the Conservative Party's leaders are chosen, was a fourth cousin.

Also on the family tree are Dominic Serres, marine painter to King George III; 'Princess' Olive of Cumberland, who claimed to be the daughter of Henry Frederick, Duke of Cumberland and Strathearn, the king's brother; Emile Burns, one of the leaders of the British Communist Party; and the Chamberlain to the King of Denmark.
And on the edges of the tree are Leonard Cheshire VC; Group Captain Peter Townsend, who didn't marry Princess Margaret; and Hugh Gaitskell, who led the Labour Party from 1955 to 1963.

“Of exceptional interest in conveying an idea of the multinational nature of some of the wealthier West Indian ancestries” - F L Leeson, Fellow of the Society of Genealogists

With 16 photographs and 49 genealogical charts.