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The Longleys of Leeds – Background


When Mum (Anne Valerie Longley (nee Marks)) was ill with cancer in 2007, I spent a week with her in March while Dad (David Michael) was spending a few days in France. During this time, she and I talked about a number of things, including her family tree research. This was something that she had talked about on and off for some time, though it had never interested me.

She talked about some of the work that she had done on tracing the family, and I knew that she had done some work in Family Tree Maker. While staying with her, I spent a little time on her computer and noticed a Family Tree file on her PC desktop. Knowing that neither she nor Dad had the time to regularly take backups, I emailed myself the file plus her Picasa photo albums.

After her untimely passing in November 2007, I did nothing with the file until early 2011. My interest was awakened when Ollie and I visited the Titanic Artefacts Exhibition at the O2 arena in London. At the end of the exhibition, which was less than scintillating, there was a huge board that showed the classes of travel, and within each, the names of survivors and those who perished. Listed in the survivors was a Gretchen Fiske Longley! We were off!
Pestle and Mortars

Getting going

I opened Mum’s tree, and what I found was a quite substantial tree that covered various branches of the Longley/ Marks tree, but my interest lay in the Longleys. The tree went as far back as a possible Thomas Longley (Abt. 1780).

I quickly set off in different directions, due to various possible interesting connections in my (Longley) line as well as Jen’s family (Hawes). There have been a few Longley’s of minor note, a reputed connection to Major General John Lambert (d1684) – a close ally of Oliver Cromwell – and a reputed connection between Jen’s family and Sir Thomas More (d1535) up the Roper line through a marriage between Thomas More’s daughter Margaret More and William Roper in 1525.

What has become clear is that every family has one or more reputed connections to famous or wealthy people, and I have little doubt that at some point, these are true and do exist. What I have also learnt, to my cost, is that following these leads down from someone in the 16th century and up from the 21st century is hugely difficult and frustrating. Looking at my own tree, and going back to Thomas Longley (my 4th great grandfather), and assuming some averages, I have 1500 direct and indirect relatives!

So, I have focussed on going straight back up the Longleys, investigating other branches only sufficiently to validate the facts that relate to my direct paternal line. This, I thought would be simple. Oh, how wrong I was!

The family is quite straightforward once you’ve untangled it, but it gets a little interesting where you find one Longley marrying another! I owe a debt of gratitude to Dominic Case – one of my father’s cousins, who had done much of the leg-work. He had found out, for example, that Alice Monica Longley marries Reginald Walter Longley…

Possible connections

Possible, but unlikely, connections:

Joseph Longley Bedsteads, Leeds

James William Longley, Leeds (Engineer with Augustine le Prince, of first moving picture camera)

If you’d like to know more about me or my experience, and how I can help your business, please get in touch. I’d love to chat.