Yes, they are related to Shakespeare!
So here is where I admit 'the dirt'. I believe each family is a family that deserves to be remembered for who they were. A local rumor has always been that some of our baptists were descendants of William Shakespeare. Let's face it his line did not grow too far, so this little rumor really bugged me. While it would be great to be related to this great Englishman, what was wrong with just being remembered as the Hart family?
I wanted to prove that they were NOT related to Shakespeare.
I spent a month and a half trying to prove that this family was in no way related to William Shakespeare. I went as far as to not even look at his family tree so not to be influenced. What did I find?
Ellen Hart Ashley (pictured here) is the 6th Great Grand Niece of the famous William Shakespeare. Her father William Shakespeare Hart is the 5th Great Grand Nephew. So, Yes, they are related to Shakespeare!
However, here are some facts about the Hart Family!
Some of the descendants of these baptists would move to two other counties in the UK, others would move to Idaho, USA in 1880 and a couple even moved to New Zealand where the family still live today. Several months after I did this research the BBC found out about the burials at the Old Baptist chapel and wanted to speak with several of us involved on the project. We spent the day talking to them and telling them what we know, they told us what they knew and by that evening we had a 2-minute story on the 6.30pm news. You can see that feature by going to our News and Notices.
So there you have it the overview of how the BBC story happened from my perspective. Later, I will open the gallery of projects and you can read more on the Hart family! Back to Front: Jamie Muddiman Fraser, Relative Theory Genealogy; Jemma Fowkes, John Moore Museum; James Thomas, BBC Radio Gloucestershire; Michaela Marshall, 11x Great Grand-Niece of William Shakespeare; and Maureen, her mother. At the burials of the Hart family - their ancestors, the descendants of Shakespeare's sister Joan.