Family researcher provides missing link for Redbourn villagers

A LABOUR of love investigating her own family tree which turned into a village-wide exercise brought out the crowds last month.

Gemma Vickery, 25, has been probing her family tree for the past six years and the more she delved, the more she discovered how people in Redbourn were connected to each other.

So on Saturday, July 24, at St Mary’s Church Hall in the village, Gemma held an exhibition of the research she had found linking people in Redbourn together and was overwhelmed by the amount of interest.

She said: “It was absolutely amazing. People were queuing to get in and I didn’t really know whether to expect anyone to turn up. There were so many comments including whether I was releasing a book.”

Gemma, who currently lives in Dunstable and is a trainee teaching assistant, first began researching her family tree when she was 19 and by her own admission, quickly got hooked.

In January, with the help of her aunt, she decided to concentrate on her mother’s side of the family and very quickly discovered how many people in Redbourn were connected to her kith and kin.

The more she researched – including going back through the Herts Advertiser archives now kept on microfiche in St Albans and Hertford – the more intertwining of families she discovered.

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That was when she decided to hold the exhibition which was packed with photos, Herts Advertiser articles and her own family tree.

Gemma said: “I have still got a lot of work to do and will be doing this again in February time which gives us another seven months. Next year we plan to release a book.

“You find a bit of information and you just want to go further with it. I didn’t just want to know who my ancestors were but what they did with their lives and what they were like.”

She added: “It was so strange to see so many Redbourn faces turn up on Saturday and to be connected to all those people. I hadn’t come across many before but their interest was really fascinating.”