The speaker for the July Meeting of the M.U. was Nick Bebb, a Reader for the Church. His talk was entitled “What’s In A Name?” As he introduced his Power Point presentation, Nick said it was the ‘twists and turns’ of family history.

Nick began by showing photographs of both sets of his grandparents:- Lucy Duckworth, who was born in 1890, married John Henry Casson, born in 1892. John Henry served in the Lancashire Fusiliers.

Edith Crossley, also born in 1890, married Thomas Bebb, born in 1899. Thomas served in the Grenadier Guards. These were the starting points of his research into his family tree. He decided to research his mother’s family first.

Nick found that important facts were to be gathered by looking at legal documents, such as Birth certificates, Marriage certificates and the Ten Yearly Census, which was first produced in 1841.

He was handicapped because he discovered that some of his ancestors lied about their ages – even on these official documents – and consequently found it difficult to trace dates of birth. One lady always subtracted 4 years from her age and on the Passenger list of a vessel she had given some 30 years below her actual age!

Before 1841 it is possible to find information from Parish records. In 1829 a John Casson paid £200 for a marriage Bond. This enabled people to marry outside their own Parish without Banns being called. He married Anne Barritt. The Bond would be £13,560 at present day prices! Another John Casson, born 1750, also paid the Bond to marry Margaret Preston in February 1777. His annual tithe was 15/- at that time.

Thomas Casson was Church Warden at Cartmel Priory. A Nancy Preston was born illegitimately in 1771. The Preston family lived at Holker Hall.

In 1868 the home of Henry Preston was attacked. He successfully defended himself and his home by running through the attackers with a sword, but died afterwards from his injuries.

The Casson family lived in various villages in Lancashire and Cumbria. In one village, Warton, the church is allowed to fly the ‘Stars and Stripes’ on July 4th because the family of George Washington had lived there.

Although the family was Catholic for two generations, they also had some connections with the Quaker movement. Hugh Lickbarrow, a relation of the Casson family, lived at Brigflatts, near Sedburgh. In 1696 George Fox was known to have stayed there – a place was named after him – his pulpit, where he preached to some hundreds of people.

Nick was able to trace members of his mother’s family on both the Yorkshire and Lancastrian sides of the ‘Wars of the Roses’, and beyond them through the Plantagenets, to King Edward the Confessor.

Nick was thanked by Frances Branton for his very informative and sometimes amusing talk, saying it was obvious how much time and effort he had put into the research for his Family Tree.

In view of the outcome, perhaps his talk should have been entitled “WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?”