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Berkshire Family Historian
December 1999

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The X-files

Ralph Bradbury

All of us in our time must have looked at those worthy publications: "My Ancestor was a Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor", etc. 1 am beginning to think there is a real need for an addition to the series. 1 have, therefore, done some lateral thinking and hit upon the ingenious idea of an additional index - one might even suggest a "spirit guide". My sense of duty calls me to help those frustrated researchers who have spent night after night burning the midnight oil vainly searching through every parish record they can find looking for that elusive ancestor only to face a blank wall at every turn. What I have in mind would appeal to everybody. How about My Ancestor was a Heathen? No, don't snigger and laugh behind your hand, I am serious. Of course 1 don't mean those far off ancestors who ran around with woad to keep out the cold or who settled friendly disputes with clubs and shields and who shouted down at their neighbours with war cries. No, that would be ridiculous. What 1 have in mind is not any old list. It must conform to our usual run of ancestors, just like you and me. The publication should list people like wizards, witches,

magicians, warlocks, shamans, witch doctors and the general run of helpful people who must have lived in every community. There would be a list of those who organised covens, where they took place, full details of what went on, how they were dressed (or undressed for that matter). In other words, how ordinary people let their hair down and thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Just imagine after a frustrating search for a long lost ancestor, you finally do the obvious and turn to this publication and there is the very entry you have been looking for, together with all the necessar.y details, including references. You then sit back and conjure up a picture and pleasantly imagine yourself joining in. It would make the search entirely worthwhile.

There could also be details of burnings, hangings (even those who were drawn and quartered), and the prophecies or curses they made.

Is there anybody out there who would be willing to join Scully and Mulder and make a start on just such an index?


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