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Was there anything in particular that you hoped to find out when you began researching?
Yes, I really didn't know anything about beyond my grandparents because it wasn't something that was ever discussed in the family, so I was curious to find out where they came from, things like that.

Have you found out anything surprising, any skeleton in the cupboard?
Yes indeed, in fact it was this year when the 1911 census was released, it was released two years early, I discovered that instead of just having two aunts and my father there were another seven children, which I had no knowledge of at all, including triplets who were one month old, so, and they were never spoken about and there's no way of finding out what happened to them or where they went.

And how did you feel when you found this out?
I think it made me angry, to be honest, because my father had never ever mentioned anything like that, and they were a lot of kids, there were triplets, there were two more brothers and it may just have been as though they hadn't lived at all, because there was no mention ever in the family about it. And frustratingly, of course, there's no, absolutely no way I can find out, so that's a shame.

Why is there no way you can find this out?
Well, there's no record of their birth, there's no record of their death, if they were given away, which I don't think is impossible, because they were a poor family, then the surname would have changed and there would have been no record of that, so, and there's no living relatives that I can talk to.

So have you just given up?
You hate to give up on it and you rack your brains and think, 'Is there any way I could find out?' and of course, the only possibility with the Shepherd family I mentioned in the 1911 census is when the next one comes out in another ten years, there might be some possibility of seeing if they were around somewhere then, but that's a long way away.

Did you find out anything else surprising?
I did in fact find some births that were quite close to the marriage dates, and that was a little unexpected, but my secret wish, I suppose, was to hope that Dick Shepherd, the highwayman, might have been somewhere in the family tree, but if he is, I haven't got that far back, but I wouldn't mind at all. It would be quite exciting to have that sort of ancestor, I think.

Do you think that research into family histories is addictive?
Oh yes, yes I think any hobby can become so, but this is a fascinating hobby. Perhaps fortunately both my wife and I work and we're still working, so time available is dictated by work schedules, but yes it can be, it's a fascinating, fascinating hobby.

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