Track down a dead Brit's living descendants, from the US.
January 4, 2006 8:33 AM   Subscribe

How would I track down the living descendants of a Brit who died forty years ago, from the US?

I'm doing research on a British explorer who lived 1874-1967, and I'm trying to track down some of his living relatives, if any. He lived in Kenya but I'm assuming his descendants would be in the UK. (I'm in the US). The family name is Grogan. I do have some first names, but other than that I'm not quite sure where to start.
posted by gottabefunky to Grab Bag (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Assuming you're referring to Ewart Grogan, as the dates almost (but not quite) match his, there's rather a lot of information to be found just by Googling him. I came across a hotel in Kenya where the managing director married one of Grogan's granddaughters and fathered three children with her--you might even be able to contact him directly.

Several links mention that during his Cape-to-Cairo walk he fathered numerous children (despite doing the walk to prove his love for his future wife), and I suspect tracking those descendants would be rather difficult. This article has a fair bit of info about him, and you might try contacting its author or Edward Paice, who wrote this book about Grogan.

I wouldn't assume his descendants would be in the UK, since he did spend most of his life in Africa (he died in Cape Town). At least some of his descendants are still in Kenya, as the hotel link indicates.
posted by cerebus19 at 8:53 AM on January 4, 2006 ?
posted by lunkfish at 9:59 AM on January 4, 2006

Looking at what Google throws up, I think cerebus19 may be right that his children may not live in the UK. But he was one of 21 children himself, so I bet there are plenty of near relatives to trace as well. If any of his descendants are still in the UK, a good place to start is the Family Records Centre, which is a Government body - their website will give you lots of leads. Or try having a look at censuses for England and Wales from 1837 onwards at the 1837 online site. Try this link for Scottish records. This might help you track down details of individuals, particularly since you have first names.

If you need some more leads, or some general tips beyond this, then please e-mail me (it's in my profile) - my mother is obsessed with family history and knows all of these avenues of research far better than me. I have picked up some knowledge second-hand from her, but she may be able to give you some better advice. Good luck!
posted by greycap at 11:07 AM on January 4, 2006

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