Amy Dillwyn was my third cousin once removed

I’ve been passing the time over the summer evenings by delving a bit more deeply into genealogy, and was delighted to discover that I am related to Amy Dillwyn, Welsh lesbian campaigner, novelist and industrialist, who was my third cousin once removed.

Even though she was born in 1845 and my father in 1928, a combination of young parents on her side and older fathers on mine makes them the same generation of descendants from our common ancestors, John Whyte (1752-1814) and his wife Letitia (1755-?). To be specific:

Amy Dillwyn was born in 1845 (the third child of four) when her mother, Louisa Dillwyn née de la Beche was 27 and her father, later MP for Swansea, 34; my own father was born 83 years later, in 1928, the first child of a later marriage, when my grandfather was 48;

Louisa de la Beche was born in 1819 when her mother, Letitia de la Beche née Whyte, was only 18 (and starting an unhappy marriage to Sir Henry de la Beche, the geologist); 61 years later, my grandfather was born in 1880, the tenth child of thirteen from his father’s second marriage; his father was 53 when he was born;

Letitia Whyte was born in 1801 when her father, Charles John Whyte, was 24 (he had been disinherited for marrying a Protestant – things have changed, thank heavens – and died just a couple of years later leaving his younger wife pregnant with their third child); 25 years later, my great-grandfather was born in 1826 when his father was 42, again the first child of a later marriage;

Charles John Whyte was seven years older than his brother, my great-great-grandfather, born in 1777 and 1784 respectively. John and Letitia Whyte had eight sons (and two daughters); six of the eight sons died during the Napoleonic wars, including Charles John.

So I am the same generation as Amy Dillwyn’s nephews and nieces, born in the 1860s and 1870s, a hundred years before me.

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