Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine - - CONTENTS -

Your ideas, com­ments and ad­vice

In Fe­bru­ary 2010 you fea­tured a Reader Story about how I dis­cov­ered that my 3x great grand­fa­ther was an Ital­ian fenc­ing-mas­ter in Ed­in­burgh in the late 18th cen­tury, and how in the process I had re­con­nected with a cousin, Rachel, who was also de­scended from the fenc­ing­mas­ter Fran­cis Ros­sig­noli. My cousin and I met for the first time in Ed­in­burgh for the photo shoot, and have kept in con­tact.

Fran­cis had a num­ber of chil­dren, but his daugh­ter Josephine is our di­rect an­ces­tor. She mar­ried James Adams and had two chil­dren, James my great grand­fa­ther, born in 1842, and Wil­liam born three years later. My great grand­fa­ther had three chil­dren, among them James, Rachel’s great grand­fa­ther, and Sarah my grand­mother. Wil­liam had 11 chil­dren and we of­ten won­dered what had hap­pened to them. Our James Adams was a sol­dier and left Ed­in­burgh when he was 18, fi­nally mak­ing his home in Net­ley near Southampton. So we imagine he lost touch with his fam­ily.

Imagine my de­light then when I re­ceived a hint from An­ces­try about Fran­cis Ros­sig­noli which had been posted by some­one called Kath. I was able to con­tact her and dis­cov­ered that she was the great great grand­daugh­ter of the brother Wil­liam Adams, and was still liv­ing in Ed­in­burgh.

She had lots more in­for­ma­tion about

Fran­cis and his sis­ter Teresa who was a danc­ing mis­tress. Not only that – Teresa had been a prima bal­le­rina, who had per­formed in her home town of Parma, Italy, and in Dublin. She ap­pears to have been very well con­nected. She taught danc­ing to the il­le­git­i­mate son of the Comte d’Ar­tois, later to be­come Charles X, when he and his mis­tress were in ex­ile in Holy­rood Palace dur­ing the French Rev­o­lu­tion, and she also taught the three daugh­ters of the Duke of Gor­don among many oth­ers of the elite in Ed­in­burgh so­ci­ety.

So in April this year, we de­cided on a gath­er­ing of the clan in Ed­in­burgh. My hus­band and I trav­elled up from Manch­ester, and Rachel and her mother, Ruth, flew up from London. We met on Ed­in­burgh’s Royal Mile in a restau­rant in Bailie Fyfe’s Close where Fran­cis had given fenc­ing lessons, and where many of his fam­ily had lived. Bailie Fyfe’s Close is next door to Pais­ley Close which col­lapsed in 1861, throw­ing Wil­liam Adams into the street where he mirac­u­lously sur­vived although oth­ers were

not so for­tu­nate and 35 peo­ple were killed.

We all got on splen­didly, and Kath was a mine of in­for­ma­tion. She brought a huge file of facts about Fran­cis and his sis­ter Teresa. In June Kath and her son are go­ing to Parma to visit the ar­chives to see if she can dis­cover any more about the Ros­sig­no­lis. My brother and I plan to visit Parma in the au­tumn.

The Ed­in­burgh City Ar­chives where Rachel and I were pho­tographed look­ing at the Reg­is­ters of Aliens of 1794 and 1798 was closed on our visit, but we were able to see the orig­i­nal min­utes of the Ed­in­burgh Academy or Rid­ing School in the Cen­tral Li­brary which in­clude a cou­ple of di­rect ref­er­ences to Fran­cis Ros­sig­noli.

I marvel at the way that in seek­ing my an­ces­tors, I have dis­cov­ered liv­ing rel­a­tives in the process, lovely peo­ple with whom I know I shall stay in touch all my life. I think Fran­cis would be de­lighted about that.

Erica Moores, by email

Ed­i­tor replies: What great dis­cov­er­ies. I’m de­lighted you and Rachel stayed in touch.

Erica, Ruth, Rachel and Kath visit a restau­rant on Ed­in­burgh’s Royal Mile where Erica’s Ital­ian 3x great grand­fa­ther used to give fenc­ing lessons

Erica’s cousin Rachel looks at old min­utes with her mother Ruth

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