Did your ancestors ever work for the royal family?

Fri Jun 1, 2012 7:50am EDT
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By Philip Baillie

LONDON (Reuters) - Once upon a time a teenager from the 17th century American colonies came to England where he rose from being a humble apprentice to the dizzying height of jeweler to the royal courts of Britain, earning himself a knighthood.

The record of Sir Steven Evance, who served William III and Queen Anne in the late 1600s and early 1700s, is one of 50,000 now available online to allow the public to scour for details of any past family connections to the British royal household.

The household staff lists, previously only accessible at Windsor Castle by appointment, are being made available by findmypast.com in celebration of the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II's reign.

Diamond Jubilee celebrations will take place across Britain this weekend and the household lists, which run between 1660 and 1924, offer an insight into how Queen Victoria celebrated her own Jubilee, more than 115 years ago.

"People across the globe continue to be fascinated by the British Royal Family, as well as the relationship between ‘upstairs' and ‘downstairs' life," said Debra Chatfield, family historian at the website.

"In the year of The Queen's Diamond Jubilee, this is the perfect opportunity to explore your family history and discover whether you have an ancestor who worked for the Royal Household."

Records reveal that at the last Diamond jubilee celebrations, Parisian chefs were brought over to help with the cooking, encouraging younger apprentices in the kitchens to grow their moustaches to resemble those of their French superiors.

With details such as name, occupation, age, length of service and salary, the records reveal the youngest to serve was a three-year-old child while a 96-year-old page spanned the reign of four Kings and Queens.   Continued...