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The British Newspaper Archive

British Newspaper Archive

Read about historical events at the time they were happening. Perhaps you'll discover your ancestor in their local newspaper?

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The Pious Shepherd of Salisbury Plain

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MauriceW Report 3 Jan 2014 22:34

As a young family we had always been told that we were descended from the Shepherd of Salisbury Plain, David Saunders. In 1795 the evangelical writer Hannah More, a friend and supporter of William Wilberforce in the fight against slavery, wrote a religious tract about him which became a best seller and is still in print today.

I very soon found that our Family Tree was wrong and the line of descent impossible. Disappointed that the family story might not be true I tried hard to find out the truth, but kept on coming up against brick walls..

Five or six years went by and a lot of research was done, by corresponding with people on Genes Reunited and by visiting a number of other genealogy sites; several visits were made to the Wiltshire Family History Centre, but all in vain. I finally came up with a solution which almost satisfied me but which I just could not prove. Then last autumn I joined a relative at the Centre and after some searching she found a marriage which began to point us in the right direction, but which left us with another question to solve. Finally I found a local Wiltshire lady who provided the missing link for me - I had previously found a dozen children of the Shepherd's daughter Sarah but missed the 13th. This 13th daughter proved to be my great-great-great-grandmother and the link was proved beyond all doubt. Well worth all the effort! :-)