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How the family tree came about

The inspiration for this family tree came from Marian Pratt's "Book of Houghams" published in Utah in the 1950's

The inspiration for this family tree came from Marian Pratt's "Book of Houghams" published in Utah in the 1950's. She was an Australian genealogist who made it her life’s work to trace the Hougham and Hurley families, no easy task without the internet and modern communications and where it may take 6 months to get a reply to a letter.

My father acquired a copy of the book in 1967 but it was no easy read, hand written and with so many notes and directions to refer to other pages it was impossible to follow in its entirety. The book was forgotten.

Towards the end on the 1990's I was reading an article about genealogy software in a computer magazine when I remembered the book and decided to see what I could make of it and I started entering data, it was simple. Suddenly I had a tree of some 1500 names all interlinked and recording the family for nearly 1000 years.

I then decided to do 3 things, firstly to check as many of the references Marian had provided as I could, secondly to see if I could get back any further and thirdly to bring it up to date.

The first item was relatively easy, a few trips to the local study centre where they had many of the books which contained the references, visits to archive centres to look at Bishops Transcripts and wills and visits to churches to view memorials. All in all, I decided that Marian was predominately right with few errors, sadly one of those errors was in her own family, she had failed to connect her great great grandfather to his father and so never proved that she was part of the main branch.

The second item was relatively easy, with the aid of the internet I found Snorri Sturluson Scandinavian Sagas. He chronicled the lives, myths and legends of the ancient Kings in Scandinavia from the 1st century to the 12th and listed them all. However to my mind any discussion on the Hougham family much further back than Sir Robert the First should be left to conversation round the dinner table after several glasses of wine!

The third item was and is also quite easy but time consuming. I obtained all the UK's phone books and wrote to all the Houghams and Huffams I could find. Most were quite helpful and wrote back with their own family trees, stories and pictures. Using the internet I went through all the censuses from 1841 to 1901. I found the wills of prominent family members in the Public Record Office. I obtained access to the Ellis Island records in New York to trace USA immigrants and much more. I put all this information together as best I could and published it to the web.

Additionally I looked at every web page that Google came up with containing Hougham or Huffam or similar and started emailing family members and so the tree grows. I have a list of over 390 email addresses of family members who have contributed to the tree in one way or another and new contacts are made almost every week. From the 1500 names that Marian had in 1950, there are over 20,000 now.

The current tree is probably the most comprehensive gathering of Hougham related data anywhere, but there will of course be errors, how could there not be, from simple transposition of digits to deliberately misleading information, some errors occurring simply from failing memories; some members of the family have asked to be removed from the tree completely others that they should only be referred to as "Living". So if you spot any errors, please do not keep them to yourselves, let us put it right together, but most of all, enjoy your heritage.


Owner/SourceRobin Young
DateSep 2006
Linked toLiving

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