top of page

Family history: My paternal grandfather's side

I have almost completed my journey, covering the rest of my family history. Now to my paternal grandfather's side. You'd think, growing up with a surname like Martyniuk, I might have some exotic tale to tell?! I spent a lot of time correcting people on the pronunciation when I was younger, explaining that my grandad was Ukrainian. I remember a teacher at high school asking if I was a Ruski, a work colleague asking if I was Inuit? The surname Martyniuk was always a talking point.

Sorry to disappoint you all but, I am a phoney! The grandad I knew, although he will always be my grandad, wasn't actually my biological grandfather. My biological grandfather's name was Robert James Head and he was born in East Dereham in Norfolk in 1920. My Dad was actually born in Norwich but moved back to London with his Mum as a small child when the marriage broke up. Bob Head died in 1970. I have been told that he was a sign writer and a fantastic artist. This was him - in the middle with his in-laws and nephew (my great-uncle Terry).

Again, he is pictured in the middle with my granny Joan and his mother-in-law on the left. Sitting on my granny's lap is her youngest brother Terry.

Getting to follow the trail of the Head's has been interesting. You see Head's married Head's so I have gone wrong a few times along the way. Believe me, one wrong turn lead me to the Plantagenet family and other royalty! But I seem to have got there in the end. When you are searching for records there are so many resources which can help you including Genealogy Bank and websites such as Ancestry and Find my Past. All of these websites are a great help when searching your family tree.

My great grandparents:

Sidney Robert Head (1879-1958) and Ethel Mildred Head (1884-1968) were both born and bred in East Dereham, Norfolk. They had 3 children Leonard, Dorothy and Robert Head.

That is my Dad on the front left, this picture was probably taken in 1955/6. Ethel and Sidney Head (my great-grandparents) are seated. Behind them to the right of the picture is their daughter Dorothy (Dorrie) and her husband "Tip" - their son Leonard is partially hidden behind his wife.

Here is another picture Leonard Head (my great-uncle) is on the left.

Sidney was the son of Robert Head (1852-1922) and Ann Wegg (1854-1930) again both from East Dereham.

Robert Head's parents were Robert Head (1816-1899) and Charlotte Haylett (1818-1882).

Ann Wegg's parents were Sampson Wegg (1820-1891) and Mary (possibly Coleby) 1820.

Ethel Mildred Head was the daughter of Micheal Head (1857-1940) and Ann Eliza Wells (1860-1895). Ethel's mother died young (aged 35) and Michael remarried a woman called Florence Boyce. From what I can see my 2 x great grandmother Ann ended up in a lunatic asylum at the age of 30 - then died 5 years later.

Micheal Head's parents were James Head (1818-1897) and Ann Bone (1821-1894).

Ann Wells' parents were George Wells (1836-1891) and Sophia Hawes Rix (1823- 1874). George Wells' father, Elijah Wells (my 4th great-grandfather) was the landlord of a pub called the Light Horse on Baxter Row in East Dereham in 1839.

My direct line Head trail ends with yet another Robert Head who was born in 1730 in East Dereham. Robert Head and Mary Elms seem to have ties to both sides of the family.

Again, I have gone into much more detail on my tree on Ancestry. On Ethel's side you will find the surnames Wells, Rix, Hawes, Mason, Allen, Learner, Peak, Eagle, Crisp, Millatt, Crickmore, Herring and Negus. Looking back it seems my 9th great-grandfather was John Herring, Rector of Walsoken (1664-1717). One of his sons was the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Thomas Herring back in the 1700s.

Moving further down the line via the surname Negus I came to my 12th great-grandfather John Loveland - Lord of Norwich, born in 1556 in Guildford Surrey he died in 1648 in Norwich. This line can be traced back to Thomas Loveland (Leueland) of Worplesdon, Surrey born in 1458.

On Sidney's side you'll find the surnames Wegg, Wigg (yes a Wegg married a Wigg!), Goddard, Mott, Blomfield, Bowman, Peck, Crisp, Syer, Newton, Claxton, Yorke.....

So, pretty much the entire side of the family were from Norfolk, a few turns back to Surrey and London and a possible connection to Pembrokeshire in Wales along the line via John Loveland and Lady Mary Thomas (1515-1558). Her parents were Sir Evan Thomas and Mary Davies from Pembrokeshire.

Any family who would like to connect - I would love to hear from you.

bottom of page