Meet our Members: Frances Piercy-Reins

+19 votes

Hi WikiTreers!

C:\Users\FRANCES\Pictures\Family pictures\Frances\FKP-R.jpgIt's time to get to know another one of our wonderful WikiTreers. This week's member is Frances Piercy-Reins.

Frances became a Wiki Genealogist in July of 2020. She's active in our England Project and also leads the Chamberlayne Name Study.

What are some of the surnames you are researching?

Some of the surnames I’m researching at the moment are Bates, Brooks, Chamberlayne, Cheyney, Piercy, Plowman, and Thompson

What are some of the locations you are researching?

Present locations – all of them in England: Halifax and Kingston-upon-Hull in Yorkshire, Stourbridge in Staffordshire, Princethorpe and Southam in Warwickshire, Hatfield Broad Oak in Essex, Hoddesdon in Hertfordshire, Romsey and Beaulieu in Hampshire, Teffont Evias in Wiltshire, Crewkerne in Somerset, and Fakenham and Reepham in Norfolk. 

When and how did you get interested in genealogy and family history?

I’ve been interested in genealogy for about 37 years. It wasn’t until the internet became available that I was really able to tentatively start researching my family history. 50 years ago, my grandfather used to say that his ancestors descended from the Percy family, which we always used to pooh-pooh. It is possible, of course, but it’s unlikely that I’ll ever find out if it is true. My father’s mother’s sister, who was a scientist at heart, had collated a lot of family documents and photographs and had written her family’s story as much as she could remember and research. I love collecting items associated with the family. For example, I discovered that two ancestors were brewers. Eventually I was able to find some old Victorian bottles produced in their breweries, which now grace a shelf in our bathroom.

My mother’s grandmother, Mabel Alicia Chamberlayne, had passed her family tree down to her children and grandchildren, and it was this which really sparked my interest, because it goes all the way back to 1066 at least. What blew my mind last year was when my husband discovered that because of several marriages into the Chamberlayne family, I was directly descended from the Plantagenets, William the Conqueror, Alfred the Great and Charlemagne. Of course, many people are, but it was amazing to be able to prove it. Funnily enough, it turned out that because of this, my mother’s family definitely is connected to the Percys. 

Who's your favorite ancestor and why?

My favourite ancestor, at least the one I have found out the most about so far, and who seems to have been a really great man, is a 4x great grandfather, Thomas Thompson, Alderman and twice Mayor of Kingston-upon-Hull. He was called the ‘Dick Whittington of Hull’ and ‘Salt Tom’ because he came from a farm labouring background in rural Northumberland, near the Scottish Border, walked 160 miles down to Hull at the age of 12, and worked his way up from being a penniless nobody to a wealthy ship-owner, Alderman, Justice of the Peace, Mayor, simply by hard work, integrity and compassion for the poor of his adopted town. He was outspoken, honest, the bane of wealthy hypocrites, and had a hilarious sense of humour.

Tell us about a brick wall you hope to bust through.

My father’s family – the furthest I’ve got back is 1718 with William Percy. I still have to write his biography and those of his son Richard and grandson Jeremiah, who was a farm and brewer’s labourer. William lived in Norfolk, and I haven’t managed to identify his parents yet, or work out where they lived. That would be a great breakthrough. Another tricky one on my mother’s side is my 8th great grandfather, William Chamberlayne. Burke’s Peerage says he was born in 1628, but so far I have found no source to confirm this. I think he was the father of Edward Chamberlayne. It would be great if I were able to corroborate this one day. 

(Interview continues in comments)

WikiTree profile: Frances Piercy-Reins
in The Tree House by Eowyn Walker G2G Astronaut (1.7m points)

If you could pick one person in history to be related to, who would it be and why?

I suppose if I were to research my entire family tree, I would find out that I was related to everyone, so one could say that that’s a bit of a moot point. ☺ If pressed … no I really can’t think of anyone in particular. 

What are some of your interests outside of genealogy?

Cooking, nature, reading, writing, language, art, music, poetry and getting to the bottom of things! 

How long have you been on WikiTree and what do you spend the most time doing?

I first started in WikiTree in July 2020 and spend most of my time in it writing up my ancestors’ stories – at least at the moment. My aim so far is to finish all their biographies and to get as much practice as I can in finding sources and creating correct citations. I completed the first part of the Orphan Trail in the England Project last autumn, and decided to work on my own family to get practice first, before moving on to the next stage. Eventually I hope to get pre-1500 certification and work on the Chamberlayne profiles further back, as these were created years ago and have no sources. I spent almost all of the last ‘Corona year’ researching them, have oodles of sources, but can’t edit the biographies as they’re all pre-1500. Once that’s sorted, I hope I will have gained enough experience to be able to be of the kind of help to others that many in WikiTree have been to me so far. 

What brought you to WikiTree?

As I mentioned above, I spent months researching the Chamberlaynes last year. My parents had given me a 6 month subscription to Ancestry in March 2020. We live in Germany, had no work and used the time for genealogy. My husband and I were researching all day long, every day, and little by little, every now and then, I stumbled across WikiTree profiles, read them and was impressed by the commitment to accuracy and good scholarship. That’s what made me want to join.

What is your favorite thing about WikiTree?

That would be impossible to say. Where do I start? Finding a profile I can connect my family to, as well as finding cousins, wherever they may be. I love the Connection Finder. I’m really impressed with the different free space profiles, which I’m only beginning to discover. I’m a bit of a troglodyte; only got acquainted with computers in 2000, and am frequently amazed at how clever computer language is. It’s been really fun to learn (thanks to Pam Moen of the Orphan Trail) how to make good citations, tables, and use these new skills in creative ways to enhance people’s profiles. I know it’s somewhat virtual, but within the limits of what the digital world can offer as far as social relationships go, I’ve been touched by the kindness of people I have never met, all over the world, who offer their time to help others in their own search for their ancestors. This is something I have found on no other genealogical platform so far. 

If you could improve one thing about WikiTree, what would it be? 

I don’t consider myself qualified to judge something which has obviously been created with such an incredible amount of skill and forethought by so many who know so much more than I do. I still have a massive amount to learn – so far, I’m delighted – and hooked!

What is an example of how WikiTree has helped you with your genealogy?

I think completing the first part of the Orphan Trail last year was extremely helpful. It was really fun learning new skills and it taught me to be more disciplined with sources. I don’t think I’ve come far enough to be able to help others much yet. 

Any tips for someone just starting out on WikiTree?

Take time to learn, be patient with yourself – it’s different from other genealogical platforms and takes a while to get used to everything - but with WikiTree you have the opportunity to use your creative skills and produce a wonderful memorial to your ancestors which can be a resource for a much wider community than just your family. The fact that it’s free of charge is an incredible blessing, and should make everyone want to give out to others as much as they’ve received.

Hi, I'm from the United States, grandfather left royals from the UK William Davis Tudors-4

7 Answers

+10 votes
Congratulations, Frances, on being chosen member of the week.......recently, I had the great pleasure of conversing with her about some interesting family connections on WikiTree.
by John Thompson G2G6 Pilot (113k points)
Thank you John - very kind. I enjoyed our chat too!


+9 votes
Congratulations, Frances, on your wonderful WikiTreer designation, and thank you for all you do, for our tree.  I was interested to learn of your Kingston-upon-Hull connection, as I have ancestors from that area.  The most wonderful aspect of WikiTree is those shared connections, be they genealogical or geographical.
by Mark Weinheimer G2G6 Pilot (266k points)
Many thanks, Mark! I don't really do much. Just a beginner!
+8 votes
Congratulations, Frances for being mentioned as Wonderful WikiTreer of the week.

Thanks for that interesting interview. It looks like you can write the history of England with your family history. And if you manage to go back a little further, you might even get some history of the Normans, Angles, Saxons, Jutes, Romans and Celts, whose traces can still be found all over the British Isles.
I wish you much success with your interesting family history.
by Dieter Lewerenz G2G6 Pilot (903k points)

You know, Dieter, this is exactly what I've noticed. I love history, and I have found it absolutely incredible how my family tree seems to show a microcosm of English history. Funnily enough, although I haven't entered any of the lines further back, my working tree on another site does show the lines going back to some very early tribes. Before March 2020 I had no idea.  
And it even looks as if we are distantly related, too. Fascinating. Nice to have another German cousin. laugh

+8 votes

Congratulations, Frances, on being chosen as Member of the Week.  I enjoyed reading your answers above.

I happened to come across a Tankerville James Chamberlayne while doing some research in the Paris online archives.  I was surprised to see that there were other Tankerville Chamberlayne profiles on WikiTree.  It would be interesting to determine the relationship between them.

by Greg Lavoie G2G6 Pilot (302k points)

Hi Greg - thank you! That would indeed be interesting, yes.  The Tankerville name comes up time and time again in the Chamberlayne tree. I love it - shows that they were very much aware of the Tancarville connection from Normandy. 


+9 votes
Congratulations, Frances! It's been wonderful to meet another Chamberlayne cousin, even though it's distant. I'm happy you started the Chamberlayne Name Study, and that you've made so many great contributions to WikiTree. I've really enjoyed reading your interview!. Many thanks!!
by Donna Harris G2G6 (7.1k points)
Dear Donna,
Thank you!! You are probably the first person I met in WT and I'm thrilled to be in touch - and to enjoy the journey together. The more the merrier! If there are any other Chamberlaynes out there who would like to jump on the train, you're very welcome.
+9 votes
Great story Frances.  It's wonderful to get to "know" you through this profile.  Best of luck moving forward.
by Brad Cunningham G2G6 Mach 3 (33.4k points)

Really kind of you, Brad. Thank you. I'm honoured. All the best for you. smiley

+8 votes

Great interview, Frances!  You have certainly put to good use what you learned on the Orphan Trail!  Your profiles look great!  Your former TB yes

by Pamela Lohbeck G2G4 (4.4k points)
Awww - so kind, Pam - thank you very much! Want to keep improving, and intend to start the next orphan trail stage soon, hopefully! Hope all's well with you!
Happy to hear you are considering OT2! You're a great candidate. Hope you're doing well.

Yes, thanks - things turned in a very positive direction just at the right time! laugh

I am so glad to hear that.  You deserve good things!  I am very happy for you. smiley

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