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The British Newspaper Archive

British Newspaper Archive

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The Genes Reunited Nativity Story


Published on 15 Dec 2010 17:00 : christmas : 0 comments : 397 views

This year Genes Reunited is promoting Christmas as a time to connect with our own family history since traditionally it is the time of year that most of us are with our families. We are proud to be a part of Start Your Family Tree week which is running from the 26th December to the 1st January. There will be quizzes and competitions and handy hints each day to help you build your tree and research your own family history.

Christmas is a holiday to commemorate the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem just over 2000 years ago. According to the bible, Jesus and Mary had travelled there to register for the Census as requested by Caesar Augustus.

Using our own Census records from 1841 to 1911 Genes Reunited has come up with a few interesting snippets of how things might have looked if Jesus was born in the UK:

There were only two families with the surname Jesus in the 1871 Census. One of these was:

Elize JESUS born in 1851 living in Hackney London.

There were 3 Wisemen living in Christchurch in Dorset.

Francis Wiseman and his two sisters Eliza and Elizabeth were living in the village of Bransgore, just outside Christchurch in Hampshire.

Francis and his two sisters would have had to travel from Christchurch to visit them in Hackney (about 100 miles) compared to the 80 miles Mary and Joseph travelled from Nazareth to Bethlehem. Luckily Francis and his sisters would have come across 3 Angels and 103 Shepherds on their arrival in Hackney. Mary Angel was living with her son in Morpeth Place, Hackney just a couple of miles from Jesus.

The Kings would have been pretty easy to pick up along the way - there were 52, 000 in England and Wales. They could have invited any one of the 222 Kings living in Christchurch as their neighbours to join them. For example we have found:

Alfred King, born in 1843, living in Christchurch with his family.

Unfortunately for the Jesus family there were 274 Herods in the UK at the time. Given the Herod family reputation for infanticide, the Jesus family may have wanted to avoid them. However, Mary Herod and her family were virtually neighbours to Elize Jesus, living just down the road in Shoreditch.

People say that Jesus was not born in England because they could not find Three Wisemen and a Virgin. However, as well as the three Wisemen we found near Christchurch, we have also discovered that there were 274 Virgins in England and Wales at the time. Samuel Virgin was actually living in Hackney too.

So, little did the inhabitants of Hackney, back in 1871, know that they had their very own nativity on their doorstep.