Family tree hunt leads to reunion

The Ilsley and Pearson family reunion at North Antston.  Pictured is the extended family  (w121009-2b)
The Ilsley and Pearson family reunion at North Antston. Pictured is the extended family (w121009-2b)

When Glennis Pearson and Esme Cartwright started researching their family tree they never expected this day to come.

But all their hard work paid off recently when more than 50 members of the Ilsley family, over four generations, were reunited for a gathering. They travelled from all corners of the UK, including Wimbledon, Keswick, Leeds, Cambridge and Kent, to meet at Anston Cricket Club.

“It was a really wonderful day. We are all going to keep in touch from now on,” said Glennis.

Mrs Cartwright (nee Ilsley), 92, who was unable to attend but was thanked at the party for all her hard work, had traced the family back to 1688, and Mrs Pearson up to the present day.

Glennis added: “I asked everyone if they would be interested (in meeting up) and they agreed. It was wonderful. Everyone was delighted. Many had not seen each other in over 40 years.”

At the party was the family tree, photographs, along with birth, death and marriage certificates.

Sadly not all members of the family could make it to the party including Gerald Ilsley, 89, of Spalding, who was too ill to travel.

Glennis found many interesting, and some heartbreaking stories, about her family including how her great grandparents met.

Her great grandfather Thomas Ilsley, came from Basingstoke and moved to Nottingham in search of work. It is believed he met Mary Foulds at a goose fair before the couple married and settled in South Anston. They had 10 children, but tragedy stuck on 6th August 1899, when two-year-old Harry died. The heartbreak continued when their son Frank died the following day aged seven.

The Ilsley family was not just tracked down in Britain.

After researching her cousin Malcolm, Glennis discovered he was christened James Malcolm, and moved to Australia in the 1960s, where he married and had three children Ian, Fiona and Christopher.

She tracked them down and the cousins are now regularly in touch.

Glennis is hoping to find out more about her family history in the Basingstoke area. If you can help email glennis.pearson@sky.com.