My discovery blog is really a rediscovery. Following the last Guild of One-Name Studies on line seminar about preservation of studies I decided to embark on a program of scanning some of my records and possibly halve the number of lever arch files from twenty five to perhaps ten or twelve.
I started with my very early papers, from 1994, and rediscovered the Vickery connection with Sir George Williams which I had forgotten all about.
Who was George Williams you ask. His mother was Elizabeth Vickery, baptised Ann Betty Vickery in Huish Champflower, Somerset in January 1788. Her parents were John Vickery and Jane Norman.
She married Amos Williams on 15th August 1807 in Withiel Florey, Somerset. Between 1808 and 1830 they had nine children, seven sons and two daughters. George was born in October 1821, attended school in Tiverton until he was 13 and then worked on the family farm in Dulverton before being apprenticed to Henry William Holmes who ran a drapers shop in Bridgwater. There he joined the Congregational Church.
In 1841 he was in London apprenticed at Hitchcock & Rogers, another drapers shop. At this time he started a prayer and bible study group. In 1844, appalled by the living conditions for young working men, he gathered a group of fellow drapers to create a safe place, where they would not be tempted nor led astray by the notorious London night life.
He became a partner in the drapers and in 1863 sole owner. During this time, as he prospered he was able to expand the safe places for young working men to live. This became known as Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA).
In its silver jubilee year 1894 he was knighted by Queen Victoria and received the freedom of the City of London.
He died in Torquay in 1905 and is buried in St Paul's Cathedral. He is also included in the YMCA WW1 commemorative stained glass window in the nave at Westminster Abbey.
His probate record shows he left £248,451 - equivalent to about £34 million today.