A Challenge for 2014

5 January 2014

Are you up for the challenge set by Amy Johnson Crow… 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks? The challenge is to have one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor. It could be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem — anything that focuses on one ancestor. Not only should this get people blogging more – as Amy says herself! – but it will also make us take a deeper look at some of the people in our own family trees. I’m up for it and I am going to make it my Sunday blog topic for 2014.

Will the challenge be greater in January or December? I think the challenge will just be different… today, I have struggled to decide who to begin the year with!

Over the course of the last four months, I have highlighted a few ‘issues’ in my own quest for knowledge about my ancestry. Many readers will know that I collect all references to the surname Sillifant on a worldwide basis. This study came about largely because of the character I have chosen to start the year with…. he has a lot to answer for!

My 4 x great-grandfather was Humphrey Sillifant. Not many of them around! In fact, only one has ever lived…. but that doesn’t make him any easier to find in the records, sadly. Humphrey Silliphant married Elizabeth Spry in Pyworthy in 1793:


One of the witnesses was George Silliphant – possibly a relation? Humphrey had six children: John, George, Elizabeth, William (my 3 x great-grandfather), Ann and Richard. Living in Pyworthy in 1841, Humphrey died just prior to the 1851 census and was buried 6 March 1851 aged 79 years in Pyworthy. The question is: who were your parents, Humphrey?

I would be delighted if anyone could offer any thoughts – I have a theory but would love to see what others think before sharing it!

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