our family stories

Family stories are what makes genealogy so rewarding. Funny, moving, unusual or heartwarming, real-life tales of your ancestors' activities bring them to life in a way names and dates alone can never do. Here, we're giving you the chance to share your favourite stories, and enjoy those from other members.  Perhaps you can pick up tips from their research?

Lin's story

My ancestor was photographed by the Queen

Lin Hyde, via email

Lin traced her father's line to one of the best-known men in British India

My father's family lived in India during the years of the British Raj. I've been able to trace the line right back to 1700, and I'm still going. The most fascinating relative I've found so far is my 3x great-uncle, Sir Dighton Macnaghten Probyn, who had an incredible link to royalty.

Sir Dighton was something of a hero during the Indian uprising. He was knighted and received a number of notable medals – he's the only person other than a royal to ever hold the Knight Grand Cross. He even had a regiment named after him, Probyns Horse.

Around 1870, Dighton became Comptroller to the Royal Household – he held this position for 54 years, during which time he was also Secretary to the Prince of Wales and Equerry to Queen Victoria's son Alfred. On the death of Edward VII in 1910, he became an extra equerry to King George V and Comptroller to the Household of Queen Alexandra.

It appears he and the Queen had a very close relationship. She took to carrying a small pocket knife with her, as Dighton suffered from occasional seizures and it enabled her to cut off his collar to help him breathe. It must have been quite a sight to see the Queen beside a prone man on the floor with a knife to his throat!

Queen Alexandra was a keen photographer, and I've even been able to find photographs of Dighton at Sandringham that she took with her Kodak camera.

He died on 20 June 1924 and was buried at Kensal Green Cemetery in London. The Queen placed a cross of flowers on his coffin with a hand-written note: "For my beloved General Probyn, with thanks for all he has been to me all these years - 52 years. We shall miss him so much, but he will draw us up to Heaven, where he is sure to go. God bless. From his devoted ALEXANDRA."

QUICK TIP

Britain had a huge presence in India throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. Many of you will have family connections to the country – if an ancestor seems to suddenly disappear, it's worth checking whether they took up a colonial position. You can start this process with our East India Register & Directory, 1844

My forebear was an accidental bigamist

Eilleen Parsons, North DevonRead more

My great-grandad performed for the King

Lesley Elson, KentRead more

Share your stories

Do you have a funny, exciting or unusual family story to share? Send it to us, and you could win two day-passes to a National Trust property of your choice, plus a cream tea voucher.

Please use no more than 300 words and include your name, address and phone number. We’ll select one winner each month, plus two other stories to publish here. See *terms and conditions.

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Share your photos

If you have interesting pictures of your ancestors you'd like to share, why not join our Flickr group? It's absolutely free, and is a great way to meet other members researching the same people. Check out our current photos and find out how to join

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Story submission agreement

By submitting stories or other information: (1) I give Ancestry.com Operations Inc. ("Ancestry.com") permission to copy, edit, distribute or republish my story and any photos, crediting me as the source; (2) I accept that I have no right to receive payment for my story and Ancestry.com is not liable to me for any use of my story; (3) I confirm that I am at least 18 years of age.

Competition Terms and Conditions

The Promoter of the prize draw is Ancestry.com UK Limited (CRN: 05246359) of Amberley Place, 107-111 Peascod Street, Windsor, Berkshire, SL4 1TE. The draw is open to UK residents aged 18 and over, except employees and immediate families of the Promoter, their agents or anyone professionally connected with this draw. Only one entry per person, entries submitted which don't win will be carried forward to the next month's draw, no bulk or third party entries. The entry must consist of your name, address, contact phone number and email along with your family story and relevant photographs. Closing date for receipt of all entries is the 28th day of each month with the final prize draw closing on 28 December 2010. Proof of sending is not proof of receipt. No responsibility can be accepted for entries incomplete, delayed, damaged, wrongly delivered or not received for whatever reason. No cash alternatives to the prize will be offered, and the prize is not transferable. The winner will be notified by e-mail or phone within 14 days of each closing date. An independent person will draw the winning entry. The Promoter's decision is final and binding. No correspondence will be entered into. By entering into this draw you accept these terms and conditions. The Promoter reserves the right to substitute a prize of equal or greater value should circumstances make this necessary. The winner's name and county will be available 28 days after each closing date from Ancestry.co.uk, 3rd Floor, Waterfront Building, Hammersmith Embankment, Chancellors Road, London, W6 9RU, UK. The Promoter reserves the right to use the winners name in promotional activity relating to this draw. In the event of any prize not being claimed within 1 month of each closing date, a redraw will take place with no further obligation or liability to the intial winner.

National Trust day pass terms and conditions:

  1. Not valid at the following houses and gardens: Ascott, Avebury Manor and Garden, Antony Woodland Garden, Boarstall Tower, Buscot Park, Carrick-a-Rede, Chastleton House, Clumber Park, Coleridge Cottage, Crom, Dunster Working Water Mill, Eastbury Manor House, 20 Forthlin Road, Gawthorpe Hall, Giant's Causeway, Gondola, Grantham House, Greenway, Gunby Hall, Hardy's Cottage, The Homewood, Horton Court, Lawrence House, Little Clarendon, Lundy, Max Gate, Mendips, Murlough NRR, Oakhurst Cottage, Old Soar Manor, Orford Ness, Philipps House, Portstewart Strand, Priest's House, Red House, Shugborough, Stembridge Tower Mill, St Michael's Mount, Tatton Park, Treasurer's House (Martock), Waddesdon Manor, Wakehurst Place, West Green House Garden, Westwood Manor, White Mill, and all properties managed by Historic House Hotels Ltd, English Heritage CADW and local authorities.
  2. The card must be surrendered upon admission and is not transferable against the cost of membership.
  3. Photocopies will not be accepted.
  4. There is no cash alternative.
  5. The card cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer.
  6. Valid at participating properties during the published opening times. Please check individual opening times before you visit.
  7. Not valid at National Trust events where a separate charge is made.
  8. Not valid on Bank Holidays or Bank Holiday weekends.
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