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The Genealogy of
the Lewis Family

An ordinary family, its heritage, and its trip through history

This is the story of an ordinary family and its progress from the late 1600s to the present day. Like most English families, it consists mainly of agricultural labourers, domestic servants, factory and railway workers. It doesn't include dukes, duchesses, earls or barons, although it has its share of stories of their dalliances!

It also has it's fair share of illegitimacy, with all the challenges that that poses for the researcher, and many of its branches that just peter out. But that's part of the fun of trying to piece together events that took place well over 100 years ago.

Our family is typical of the majority of British families of the working class of the 1800s, and that is part of its fascination for me. Just filling in boxes on family charts may be interesting in its own way, but the real essence of researching family history is trying to imagine what life was like for our forebears, and place their story in the context of the social history of the time. That's when we can start to see the picture as a whole, rather than just a series of births, marriages, and deaths.

How was the news of the pregnancy outside wedlock delivered and received? What made up the day-to-day work of the "vermin killer"? How did an ancestor suddenly go from "agricultural labourer" to "innkeeper and baker"? Why did the whole family leave their rural village after 100 years and move 200 miles to start a new life in a far-away city?

We may never know the answer to all of these questions, but the quest that we start will hopefully motivate others to carry on beyond our research and our time, helping our family to better understand where we came from, and how we survived the challenges of the last 300 years.

Chris Lewis
(6th great-grandson of Thomas Lewes, 1697-1766)


The Arnisons. This branch of our family was discussed in a book published by the Cambridge University Press in 1994.

It was used to illustrate the varying paths followed by different branches of the same family. In this case, one branch became successful businessmen and solicitors, while the other was predominantly made up of agricultural and factory workers.

Read more about them here...

The MacFalls. Following many years of research, in 1990 John E. MacFall published a private book chronicling the story of the MacFall family in their travels from Scotland, via Leicestershire, to the rest of England, and overseas.

Follow their story here...




Please feel free to contact us with comments, questions, or to provide additional information.

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As part of the exploration of our past, we are taking part in the national Genetic Genealogy project operated by GeneBase. This fascinating exploration of the genes of hundreds of thousands of people is allowing them to discover their genetic roots.

DNA studies have shown that everyone shared a common ancestor who lived in Africa between 50,000 and 200,000 years ago. As our ancestors migrated out of Africa into the rest of the world, small mutations occurred in their DNA. These changes allow us to trace the path of our ancestors and find out who they were, where they lived and how they have now migrated throughout the world.

Find out more here...


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