Sunday, 21 July 2013

An Online Adventure: Researching for Free and 18th Century Aristocracy

I have a lot to thank my paternal grandparents for in terms of all the family history and enthusiasm for research that they have passed down to me. When I was contacted by my grandad a couple of years ago concerning who his great-great grandparents William and Caroline Lamb were I hit a brick wall. Shamefully, with little information to go on and records going back to the 18th century scarce, I gave up very quickly. On Friday I finally picked up the research query again, this time simply using the free research engine that is Google and came across not one but a whole line of 18th century aristocrats, the Ponsonby baronetcy! In genealogy you frequently have to take a leap of faith and working out that William Lamb (my grandad's great-great grandfather) and William Lamb (1779-1848) 2nd Viscount Melbourne and Prime Minister of England were one and the same opened up the family tree to a plethora of stories. As a prime minister he seems not to have been regarded highly, but is described as "kind, honest, and not self-seeking". He was the son of Lady Elizabeth Lamb (nee Milbanke), socialite and London lady. Lady Melbourne was known not just for her political influence but also for her friendships and romantic relationships with members of London society including Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of DevonshireGeorge, Prince of Wales and Lord Byron. I'm happy to say that I can finally answer my grandad's questions about his family!

Happy Hunting!

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