There is a very curious group that meets every Monday afternoon from 1 to 3 p.m. and has a monthly meeting on the second Thursday of the month.
The Encounter Bay History Group has 26 people involved and they trace, using DNA, the history of a person.
There’s a saying “you can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family” and family history researchers Tracey Treloar and Peggy Beckett have spent years discovering whether their family tree was connected to the convicts or the royalty.
Tracey is the group’s DNA expert and with a lot of hard work helped Peggy and many others track down previously unknown ancestors.
“I already knew I had Greek and Scottish ancestry and Peggy knew she was British, but Peggy was amazed to find out through her DNA results that she is also a quarter Jewish through her paternal grandfather,” said Tracey.
The research certainly does not stop there since the duo plunges back into the Middle Ages to discover many surprises.
“The biggest surprise and a huge coincidence is that we found out that on the British side we are both descended from William the Conqueror, the first Norman king of England,” Tracey said.
“Our research takes us further back to the Norse ancestors of William the Conqueror.”
Over 36 generations occupy the family trees they have constructed.
Peggy is linked to two royal lines, a 52-generation Welsh king and princes and said one of the most interesting ancestors was a Finnish pirate named Hrolfe Ragnvaldsson, who was born in 846.
“He was known as Rolf le Ganger and plundered the coasts of northern Europe for many years and was a complete wicked fellow. When he reached the coast of northern France, around Normandy , the terrified locals offered him the title of Duke of Normandy to appease him,” Peggy said.
“He accepted, settled there and started a family. His three-time grandson was William the Conqueror, who became King William of England in 1066 after the Battle of Hastings.
“Some ancestors may not have such a colorful history, but discovering it is interesting, fun and often addictive.”
Peggy has been interested in her heritage for about 30 years and Tracey since 2012.
“I am related to Marjory Countess of Carrick who lost her husband during the Crusades in 1269 and after hearing the news locked the man who delivered the sad message in the castle until he agreed to leave. ‘marry,’ Tracey said.
“His name was Robert de Brus, who became the father of Robert the Bruce and was King of Scotland.”
Tracey said it’s like solving problems and being a detective, because you follow all the different strands.
“You hear about people leaving for the Crusades, but now it gives us a greater connection. It gives meaning to the names your family has inherited over time,” Tracey said.
“Peggy and I have been blessed with family bibles. My family bible is the oldest in the State Library of New South Wales. It dates back to the 1600s. Peggy’s dates back to the 1720s.
“It gave us our start and then we researched from those dates. We solve mysteries and puzzles and it’s so satisfying. It’s so good for the spirit and we invite others to join us to rejoin.”
You can receive three free sessions and if you wish to continue, you are welcome to join the group for an annual subscription of $25. This will include the monthly meeting on the second Thursday of the month from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the library.