It's time to get to know another one of our wonderful WikiTreers. This week's member is Trevor Pickup.
Trevor became a Wiki Genealogist in March of 2018. He is currently a Team Leader in our England Project.
When and how did you get interested in genealogy?
I first got interested over 30 years ago, and visited a number of County Record Offices in the south of England to consult documents. I then got bored and handed over my files to my Dad, who did a lot more work. He then passed it back and I began again, and joined WikiTree as the best way of storing and sharing my research. My Dad has now also joined WikiTree and we are both hooked.
What are some of your interests outside of genealogy?
I work full time for a housing charity, I am involved in my local church and my wife and I grow a lot of our own vegetables.
What is your research focus?
I started off by researching all I could about my ancestors, building the tree in every direction, but then wanted to learn more about who these people were and what their lives were like. I subscribe to the British Newspaper Archive, which gives access to millions of pages from local newspapers. I learnt that my G-Grandfather ran a greengrocer’s shop in Chelmsford which was disrupted when a horse escaped in the town and ended up in the shop. I also found stories of real poverty, with ancestors living in Deptford and Greenwich, with children dying young of malnutrition, adults in court for theft and violence and one relative who became homeless and who was arrested in over 20 different towns over a 10 year period for begging and being drunk.
I then started on my maternal grandfather, who was an Elder in the Sandemanian Church in London, a very small strict Calvinist church. Quite a few profiles had already been added by other WikiTreers, but many needed sources, so I adopted them and started building on them. The family had always had a few questions about the Sandemanians, and so I began to research further. According to Wikipedia, the church was known for the high number of members who married within the Church. I therefore started a Free Space page to record these marriages and have found over 70 so far. I then tracked down the membership lists from the archives, transcribed them and created further free space pages, with links to all the profiles. I began to get emails from other researchers who were also descended from the Sandemanians, and who shared what they had learnt.
The London church began in 1760, when a number of ministers left their previous churches and began meeting together. There were many who opposed the Sandemanians, and churches and families were divided. Records from a number of churches exist from this time and I am trying to write a detailed history of who all these people were.
Are you are interested in certain surnames or locations?
I am now trying to research other nonconformist churches in London, to understand their histories. I started a free space page on the History of Nonconformists in London, England and surrounding Counties which has been adopted as a topic by the England Team. I am researching churches, schools and academies, religious societies and publications and missionary societies. I am trying to build sense of the nonconformist community and how it functioned. As I get familiar with more and more families, I can start to draw links together. For example, many sermons got printed in this period and some have lists of subscribers who help pay for the printing. These lists include friends and relatives of the author and are sometimes names I am familiar with.
Do you have a favourite ancestor?
If I can have two –
The famous scientist Michael Faraday was a member of the Sandemanians. There is a famous picture of him giving a Christmas lecture with the Prince of Wales in the audience. What is less well known is that the original image was a lithograph, was produced by Alexander Blaikley, a printer and fellow Sandemanian from church. They were also family, with Faraday’s sister being Alexander’s mother-in-law.
John Boosey grew up in Essex but moved to London and set up a lending library and publishing business. He joined the Sandemanian Church and both his wives came from church families. In 1773 he was granted the Freedom of the City of London, Membership of the Clockmaker’s Company, and to reimburse him the expense of providing Coats, Caps, and Breaches for the City's watermen on the last Lord Mayors Day. The watermen worked on the River Thames and took part in the annual event to honour the Lord Mayor of London.
(interview continues in comments)