Climbing my family tree
Despite having a degree in history, until a few months ago I had never bothered to look into my family tree. Then I re-connected with my long-lost cousin in my home town of Leeds, Bernard Hare , who has the Musgrave family archive, and I was spurred me into action. My dad, Eric, and Bernard’s mam, Joyce, were siblings. In the archive box was a memorial ribbon for a man called Richard Walmsley Musgrave, who, it turns out, was my great-grandfather. That ribbon led us to Burmantofts Cemetery in Leeds (now called Becket Street Cemetery), and this Musgrave family grave. The man listed at the top of the headstone, William Musgrave, was Richard’s father and so was my great-great-grandfather. Richard’s son, Arthur, was the father of my dad and Bernard’s mam.
We did not know this grave existed until a few weeks ago. By a weird coincidence, Bernard lives right next door to the cemetery. And we were both born in the late 1950s at St James Hospital (aka Jimmy’s), which is across the road from the graveyard. Burmantofts Cemetery was the first municipal burial ground in the UK. There are 27,000 graves in its grounds and an astonishing 180,000 burials have been recorded as there was widespread use of common graves. Most of the 91 Musgraves in the burial index appear to have been laid to rest in these common graves.
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