Since commencing my family history 34 years ago, I have gained numerous “cousins” from all over the World. Some of them are fairly close blood relations who share my ancestry, others simply share my maiden name of Pillinger.

Sadly, today, as I start my blog, I have heard of the death of two of them.

Diana Pillinger (of the Abbotsleigh branch of the Pillinger clan) died recently in Australia. I said to my informant, her proper cousin, “I suppose she was getting on…” He replied “Born 1938”. As I was born 1937, this came as a chilly reminder.

The second death was of Margaret Hamblin who died today in her 97th year. Margaret and I are related, both being descended from Henry Fray and his wife Harriet Reed. Henry was a descendant of the “Dutchmen” – the skilled brassmakers who were brought to the Keynsham area from “foreign parts” in the middle of the 18th century. I have always been proud of my economic migrants. A few years ago I advertised for Fray relatives in the Bristol “Evening Post” and through the advert met Margaret’s daughter Dorothy Acford. We have kept in touch ever since. Dorothy kindly gave me photos of our great-great-grandparents Henry and Harriet and they have hung in the hall of my home ever since among the other ancestors as part of my “rogues gallery”.