Twelve Generations of Amotts

For Easter weekend we took the ferry from Seattle to Victoria, BC on a sunny Friday.  It is always a treat to visit Christian’s father Allan and his wife Grace in this pretty harbor city. In addition to the usual feasts they cook for us, the pure adoration they give Xavier and the overall generous hospitality, we were looking forward to something extra special this time.  Allan was to give us a presentation about his extensive research into the genealogy of the Amott Family. After a Saturday night dinner of grilled lamb chops and Malbec from Grace's homeland of Argentina, we settled into the living room in front of the fire to listen.

Allan was born in England in 1936 and he remembers hiding under the table during the bombing of London in WWII.  After sailing the world as a merchant marine, going to college for engineering and marrying Christian’s mother Jane, he immigrated to Canada 1960’s.  As "Landed Gentry," Jane's family history was well-documented in the Burke's Peerage back to the 1600's.  But when Allan asked his father about their background he didn't know much as he’d never thought to ask his own father when he was alive.  Thus began Allan's forty-year hobby of tracing his family tree and at this point he has compiled a remarkably detailed history going back 400 years and twelve generations.  In his written report he has included maps, reigning monarchs, fashion of the times, family photographs and supplemental pdf files for many Amott ancestors including their life history and chronology. All this adds rich detail to the history and makes for fascinating reading.

For instance, the definitive family history starts with Thomas Amott, an excise officer, in 1746 in Tewkesbury (before that the information on direct descendants is spotty).  John Amott was the Organist at Gloucester Cathedral for 35 years and is buried there.  His younger brother Thomas had a habit of "borrowing" musical instruments and then turning around and selling them at London flea markets, a crime for which he was then tried, sentenced and sent off to the penal colony at Devil's Island, Hobart, Tasmania in 1842.  Interestingly Thomas's eldest son Thomas went on to become the mayor of Hobart. Allan has traced 180 Amott ancestors and has provided so much more than birth and death dates for most of them.

Through his research and correspondence - much of it before email - Allan has connected with fellow Amotts also interested in their common family tree and they've pooled their respective research.  Not only has he has deepened his knowledge but he has also become friends and collaborators with distant cousins, some of whom he's gone on to meet in person during recent trips back to England.

From the 1600's Allan has traced the family all the way down to our son Xavier Rhys Amott, the latest  decedent in the blood line. When I was pregnant with him, my father-in-law had expressed hope we’d have a boy to carry on the Amott family name as Christian is his only son.  It all makes sense now and I hope that Xavier might someday have a son to continue the family name.

Allan's obvious passion for his ancestry is contagious and I'm suddenly very curious about my own father's Burns family history and my mother's Markley side.  I have some aunts and cousins who have done some research so I need to call them up to learn what they've discovered and ask how I can help.

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