In this, the seventh and final episode of Series Three of The Family Histories Podcast, Andrew meets public historian and Cemetery Club tour guide, Sheldon K Goodman to find out how he got hooked on researching his family history, how he became obsessed with cemeteries, and his work to research and bring light to the stories of LGBTQ+ people through history.
Listen to the episode
The Life Story:
Sheldon chose his Great Grandfather John Traynor for the Life Story to share with us.
It’s not an easy story, and whilst you might think that this episode’s title ‘The Forgotten’ is about someone who was accidentally forgotten through the mysts of time, you’d be wrong. Sheldon tells us that his Great Grandfather’s life has all but been erased due to a horrific act that he imposed on his 4 year old son – Sheldon’s grandfather – that left him with severe burns. They were so severe, that Sheldon’s grandfather was even given his Last Rites.
As a result, the only known photo of John was destroyed, and his name removed from his headstone.
Through his research, Sheldon has uncovered glimpses of John’s military career, and whilst the acts against his grandfather are inexcusable, he wonders whether he was suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
The Brick Wall:
R. Hedges Bates
UPDATE: This brick wall has now been solved!
It’s a mystery in London’s Hyde Park that stands as Sheldon’s research Brick Wall.
Whilst R. Hedges Bates (or sometimes R.H.B or R. Hedges-Bates) is not one of Sheldon’s relatives, but the story of this character has puzzled him for some time.
He is clearly agitated by this research brick wall that will help him to bring closure to the story of a 20th Century character known affectionately on the streets of London and in the press as ‘The Bird Man of Hyde Park’.
- Who was R. Hedges Bates?
- What happened to him after December 1936?
- Was he buried, and if so, where?
If you think you can help Sheldon find his bird man and solve his brick wall, then you can reach out to him aptly by tweeting him on Twitter at @CemeteryClub, or you can use our Contact Form to send a message to us, and we’ll forward it on.
In the meantime, Sheldon keenly accepts Andrew’s offer of help, but they’re in for a surprise…
Series Three, Episode Seven
- Andrew Martin: Host & Producer
- Sheldon K Goodman: Guest
- Prince Sterling: The Visitor