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wanted: Liverpool’s oldest family tree
800th birthday Reward Offered
A competition has been launched to root out Liverpool’s longest established family - with the winners becoming special VIPs on the city’s 800th birthday.
Anyone living in Merseyside who can prove their family tree goes back further in Liverpool than anyone else will be invited, with three of their relatives, to take pride of place in a once-in-a-century procession through the city on ‘Liverpool 800 Day’ on August 28th.
Those who trace the earliest Liverpool-born ancestor will also earn the title of 'Liverpool's Oldest Family', as well as a fantastic heritage weekend in the city in October, which includes:
2 nights for family of four at Hard Days Night Hotel. The world’s first Beatle’s concept hotel. (Opens October 2007)
VIP tour of the prestigious Turner Prize exhibition at Tate Liverpool. (October 19 – Jan 13 2008)
Free annual family membership - two adults and two children - to the National Trust.
VIP tour of National Trust-owned Beatles childhood homes and related attractions.
VIP tour of St George’s Hall - which re-opens on April 23 2007 after a £23m restoration.
Free, special-edition copy of 'Liverpool 800: Culture, Character and History', by University of Liverpool Press.
The next seven ‘oldest’ families will receive special Liverpool 800 commemorative gifts.
The ‘Liverpool 800 Oldest Family Competition’ was launched today (February 28), to mark the six-month countdown to the 800th anniversary of the city’s first charter, signed by King John. As well as a major procession, Liverpool will be celebrating its landmark birthday with city-wide community parties and a major fireworks display.
To mark the launch Councillor Warren Bradley, Leader of Liverpool City Council, was at the city’s Record Office in Liverpool’s Central Library to search his own family history, which includes a great-grandfather (Isaac 'Ike' Bradley) who fought for a world bantamweight title in Liverpool in 1906 and 1911.
(Photo-call: Wednesday, February 28 at 12.15pm - Liverpool Record Office, 4th floor, Central Library, William Brown Street)
Councillor Bradley said: ‘’Liverpool’s history is a fascinating tale of abject poverty and supreme wealth, of wars and revolutions - all of which have been punctuated over the centuries by remarkable people, be they entrepreneurs and innovators or thinkers and entertainers. I’m sure there are thousands of families who through this competition will find many amazing stories about their ancestors and the way they lived in Liverpool. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate Liverpool’s 800th anniversary than by everyone learning about their own histories. ‘’
To assist people, a special Liverpool 800 family history pack has been produced, which can be picked up at any of the city’s libraries or downloaded for free at www.liverpool.gov.uk/archives
People can also use any one of the 250 computers in the Liverpool city council’s community libraries for free, where they can access family history websites such as www.ancestry.com which the library service has a free subscription to. All Merseyside councils also operate a similar free computer service.
Liverpool’s Record Office, the second busiest in the country, also has a vast archive to help people to delve into their past, with church records dating from the 1500s. It also hosts a Help Desk every Tuesday, from 1-5pm, run by the Liverpool Family History Society, which will handle and judge the ‘Liverpool 800 Oldest Family’ claims.
Councillor Mike Storey, Executive Member for Special Initiatives, including Liverpool’s 800th celebrations, said: ‘’This search for our oldest family is a fantastic way to put people at the heart of our 800th celebrations. Our libraries are a fantastic resource and I’m sure people will be unearthing remarkable and surprising stories about their families that they were not even aware of.’’
Other useful records that could help clinch the oldest family title include Medieval land deeds and the city's first directory of 1766. The Central Library is currently housing an exhibition containing this information, as well as the city’s 23 key royal charters granted to Liverpool. The Charters exhibition runs until June 30 in the Picton Reading Room.
David Stoker, Manager of Liverpool Record Office, had this advice: ‘’To trace a family tree, people need to prepare well and consult relatives. Family history is time-consuming and there are no quick fixes, but the results can be amazingly rewarding. As well as on-line support and our family history packs, the Family History Society have a wealth of knowledge to assist people digging into their past. With a bit of investigating the next few months should unearth some fascinating stories which will shed a great amount of light on how people lived in Liverpool over the past eight centuries.’’
‘Liverpool 800 Oldest Family’ - Competition Rules:
To enter, people must provide copies of two proofs of address (i.e. passport, utility bill, drivers licence) that they currently live in either: Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens or Wirral
Claimants must provide a copy of their family tree, with a copy of documented proof. i.e. parish record of birth of oldest Liverpool-born ancestor
All claims to be addressed to the Liverpool Family History Society and handed in at Liverpool Record Office. Deadline for submissions is 5pm, Tuesday, July 31.
People with links to Liverpool's aristocratic families are discounted from entering. These families are: Blundell, de Hoghton, Molyneux, Norris, Sefton and Stanley.
The modern day boundaries of Liverpool – i.e. from Fazakerley in north, Speke in south to Belle Vale in east, apply to the search for the earliest Liverpool-born ancestor.
The ‘Liverpool 800 Oldest Family’ competition is supported by the National Trust, The Open Learning Centre at BBC Radio Merseyside and the Liverpool ECHO’s on-line People’s Archive.
The 2007 Turner Prize will run from October 19 to January 13, 2008 at Tate Liverpool. The winner will be announced live on Channel 4 on Monday, December 3. www.tate.org.uk/liverpool/turnerprize2007
The Hard Days Night Hotel is due to open in October 2007. www.harddaysnighthotel.com
In Liverpool the National Trust cares for Speke Hall, a 15th-century Tudor building, 'Mendips' and '20 Forthlin Road', childhood homes of John Lennon and Sir Paul McCartney, and former home of photographer Edward Chambré Hardman. www.nationaltrust.org.uk
For further information please call Mike Doran on 0151 233 6761 or 0780 145 3918. For the latest news from Liverpool, European Capital 2008, visit www.liverpool.gov.uk or www.liverpool08.com