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Welcome: Today is 06 March 2001   Time 20:25:20

Student unearths his family's roots

Story by Raoul Izzard

BUILDING A PICTURE OF HIS PAST: Would-be architect Sean Kisby, who has spent several years researching his family tree.

A STUDENT in Cardiff has set up a website tracing back his family tree to sixteenth-century Whittlesey.

Sean Kisby, of Tynant Street, built the website last February to pass on the knowledge he had gained as a result of many years’ research into his family’s past.

Since he was a boy Sean had been fascinated by his ancestors, and he was intrigued by the bits of information he gleaned from his family.

Sean said: “My great aunt Ettie told me that her father, Charles, who had been a railway guard, had left Cambridgeshire to settle in Leeds in the 1890s.”

So with the little information he had Sean made a number of visits to the family records centre in London and the county records office in Cambridge to find out more.

And although Kisby was not a common name, he still found he had his work cut out searching through reams of paperwork.

During his investigations Sean discovered that the origin of his surname came from the village of Keisby, which is 30 miles north of Whittlesey.

The Kisby family had lived in Coates, Southbank and Eastrea since the eighteenth century and in Whittlesey since the sixteenth century.

Sean said: “Many of the Kisby’s were agricultural labourers or small-time farmers at least until the arrival of the railways in the 1850’s which they may have been involved in building. My great-great grandfather, Levi Kisby, became a mole and plover catcher along the banks of the local canals. I imagine Levi’s job was to make sure moles and water rats did not destroy the local flood defences.” He added: “In October 1914, Levi, aged 70, met an unfortunate watery end – he fell into Moreton’s Leam and drowned!”

Sean Kisby is currently dividing his time between working as an officer in the Benefits Agency and studying for the first year of his BSc Architecture course at the Welsh School of Architecture in Cardiff.

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