Buried treasure? Not quite what you’re thinking, I imagine

This has been an exciting week for me. I found something I have been looking for for many years.

When I say looking, I admit I have not been spending all my spare time on the project. It has been a rather intermittent search, not carried out in the most efficient manner. If you know me, that may not come as a surprise.

But then I realised that I could get professional help. Not a therapist in this case, but the people at the Norfolk Record Office. And they came up trumps. A very nice man on the end of an e-mail not only located my mother’s parents’ grave in general terms, but gave me a reference number.

Two reference numbers, to be precise. And while one of them was not very helpful, the other one was. Now I knew that the grave was not only in Norwich’s Earlham Cemetery, but in which much smaller section it could be found.

I had tried looking round Earlham without the reference numbers, after my sole surviving aunt on my mother’s side told me the grave was off Farrow Road, straight in and underneath a tree. This was not as pinpoint as you might think, especially as Earlham Cemetery lies on both sides of Farrow Road and contains a veritable forest of trees. Typically, I explored the wrong side first.

When I got the numbers, I realised it was on the other side. So this week my wife and I took a sunlit stroll in Section 55, and eventually we pinned it down. As the NRO man had predicted, my grandmother’s name was Rosanna, not Rosa, as I had thought. The grave was under a tree. It was a nice moment.

I already knew where my father’s parents were buried, because their resting place is almost within an arm’s reach of my parents’ grave in the Rosary. I also know where two great-great grandparents are buried (Harlestone, in Northamptonshire). Nice grave, actually. If you happen to live there, or nearby, it’s near the church door, and their names are William Archer and Elizabeth Benson. I also have a great-grandfather buried at Folksworth, near Peterborough. His name is Henry Lenton, and he married William and Elizabeth’s daughter, Jane.

Sorry, boring. Other people’s family trees are usually not very exciting, and mine is particularly dull. I would not make it on to Who Do You Think You Are? though I would love to have all those historians at my beck and call. I am fascinated by where I come from, because as one someone of WDYTYA said this week: “If you don’t know where you’ve come from, how can you know where you’re going?”

Not sure about the connection, but it sounds good. And really, I would love to know more about my ancestors, especially if one of them did something remarkable. My father’s mother used to say she was related to the founder of the Salvation Army. Her name was Booth, but that was about as far as it went. I would like to go further.