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My family history - by guest blogger Gerald Dickens

Published on 31 Jul 2013 16:33 : 6 comments : 2779 views

I had a great great grandfather, who died 143 years ago. There’s nothing unusual in that, of course. Everybody had great great grandfathers. However, my great great grandfather was Charles Dickens and therefore I am able to find out all there is to know about him with a few clicks on a computer keyboard, and I feel so fortunate to be able to build a complete picture of who he was, where he lived, how he was received and perceived. Whilst learning about Charles Dickens I can see traces of him throughout the current Dickens clan, many of whom are involved in the world of communication. We have writers, actors, journalists, musicians, marketing experts and restaurant owners among our numbers.

I myself am an actor and much of my professional life revolves around the works of Charles Dickens. I record audio books and perform one-man stage adaptations based on his work. I did the voiceover for one of Kent’s top attractions, Dickens World, located in Chatham Maritime. My voice can be heard in the Haunted Man, a dark and sinister part of the Dickens World attraction. I also did the voiceover to go along with spooky holographs at Dickens World known as ‘Pepper’s Ghosts’, an invention of the period used to great effect by Charles Dickens himself. I introduce a whole host of weird and wonderful characters from Miss Havisham (Great Expectations), Stoney Durdles (Edwin Drood) and Wackford Squeers (Nicholas Nickleby), to the spirits of Jacob Marley and the ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas Yet To Come from (A Christmas Carol). Looking at my family lineage and our involvement in the world of communication, I realise it is another wonderful link across the generations and makes me appreciate that despite being separated by more than a century, we are as close as if we knew each other well.

I’m lucky in that my family story is so easily accessible, but the same links exist in every family. It is an amazing thing to discover your forebears, and find out how those ancestors shaped you. I urge anyone to use Genes Reunited and to start an incredible journey.

Gerald Dickens is a professional actor and details of his tours and audio recordings can be found at


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by Sylvia on 14 Aug 2013 20:05 :
As one of our Greatest Britons, Charles Dickens is the one we should all know about. He should be widely read in all schools.
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by Joan on 14 Aug 2013 21:35 :
I always loved the books of Charles Dickens, his characters really came alive to me.
Those stories had everything tragedy, romance and humour, he also bought the issues of the hardships poor people lived with on a daily basis to the notice of public. <3
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by Lynnedee on 16 Aug 2013 17:10 :
I remember being about 11 and siting in the school hall with the rest of the pupils and staff and being told that a gentleman was going to read us one of Charles Dickens stories and there would be a surprise when he had finished.

The story was David Copperfield and as the gentleman told the story he started to apply theatrical make-up, next he put on a gown, a woollen shawl, a little cap and by the time he was finished he had transformed himself into the character of Peggoty.

Silence all through the performance as we all listened to the story and watched the transformation take place before our eyes- the cheers of appreciation at the end of the performance nearly blew the windows out!
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by Ann on 19 Aug 2013 14:09 :
Nice to read about your family connection to Charles Dickens, although from watching a recent TV programme about his train accident, which I think you were in, and how he tried to cover up the fact that he was travelling with a femail companion, leaves us in no doubt that he was also a 'bit of a lad' where the ladies were concerned. I have heard Miriam Margolyse's readings of some of Dickens work which are very good. She seems to have adored CD for a long time.
Good luck with your projects GD.
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by Diane on 31 Aug 2013 15:56 :
The Christmas carol I think is my favourite. I love Northern Ballets version of this great novel and have seen it many times when it has been to Hull New Theatre at Christmas time. I think it really sets the scene for the Christmas period. Diane.
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by Kathleen on 4 Sep 2013 17:29 :
I love Charles Dickens - esp. his sense of humor. I bet he would've loved the Muppet's version of A Christmas Carol! :-)