S01EP01: ‘The Tyrant’ with Daniel Smith-Ramos

We’re delighted to announce that Series One, Episode One (S01EP01) of The Family Histories Podcast has been released, ominously titled ‘The Tyrant’, and is now available across your favourite podcast feeds.

In our first episode we’re meeting Daniel Smith-Ramos, who has a rich Spanish, Italian-American, and English ancestry. He’s at home with publishing articles and speaking at various conferences about genealogy, and he’s also a co-founder of Revista Descendientes – a free Spanish-language family history magazine.

Daniel talks to us about how he got hooked on researching family history, the difficulties of researching in different countries, and how his research has expanded with DNA testing.

Life Story – Alonso Martínez

Daniel’s choice for the Relatively Speaking section of the show, is his ‘evil’ (his words, not ours) 5x Great Grandfather Alonso Martínez, who was a public notary born in Noàl, Galicia, Spain, in 1765, and died in 1837 in Puebla del Caramiñal, Spain. Alonso’s story is one of social climbing, illegitimacy, inheritance, hypocrisy, family dispute, and a cruel abandonment.

Daniel tells Alonso’s story, and reminds us that if we go looking for family history, then we must accept the facts of what we find.

“I can’t condemn him or make him any less of an ancestor because he wasn’t nice. He is there. Full stop”

Daniel Smith-Ramos
Daniel Smith-Ramos

The Brick Wall – Mary Elizabeth Vickress

Everyone who researches their family tree hits upon a dead end sooner or later. It can be just a short puzzle, or it can last much longer due to ambiguous or hidden evidence, or records that sadly no longer exist.

Daniel’s Brick Wall is a relative named Mary Elizabeth Vickress, who was born in 1860 in Pesnett, which is now part of modern-day Dudley in the West Midlands, UK

She’s last noted on the National Probate Calendar, when she is named as the executor to the estate of her younger sister Mercy Vickress on 11th November 1886. Mercy died in February 1886.

Mercy Vickress' probate entry, 1886
The entry for Mercy Vickress in the Probate Calendar of 1886, showing her sister Mary Elizabeth Vickress as ‘spinster’ and ‘next of kin’.

What became of Mary Elizabeth? Did she die too, or marry, or emigrate? Did she use another name?

We’ll discuss where Daniel’s research has taken him so far, but if you think you have some information about her, then please do let Daniel know either through his twitter account or via his blog.

As you’ll hear in this episode, Andrew tries to help Daniel with his research, but it may take some time….

Episode Credits:
Series One, Episode One

  • Andrew Martin: Host and Producer
  • Daniel Smith-Ramos: Guest
  • Eliot Lees: Foley Artist

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