An article on Dulwich OnView has attracted visitors to Dulwich from across the Atlantic!
In 2010 Melanie Lewis of Albuquerque (New Mexico) was researching her family history. She traced her genealogical line on her father’s side back as far as a family called Druce; she knew they originally came from the UK, but not whereabouts exactly. (There was one member of the family who couldn’t be mistaken, with the charming and exotic name of Decimus Druce.)
And then she stumbled on an article I wrote for this website a few years back, all about street names in Dulwich. This pointed her in the right direction for her next research trip. She found that the man who gave his name to Druce Road in Dulwich was actually Decimus’ father, her long-lost relative Charles Druce (1762-1845), whose portrait is in the collection of Dulwich Picture Gallery.
And so last week Melanie and her family came to Dulwich to find out more about him. While they were here they managed to meet up with a newly found third cousin, James Druce, and his family, who now live in Portsmouth.
I went to meet both families at Dulwich College, who kindly showed us around and pointed out some local areas of interest, relevant to the life of Charles Druce and his family. Druce worked as a solicitor to the College (which was then located next to where Dulwich Picture Gallery stands now) and was responsible for planting many of the trees on College Lane, some of which may still be growing today. So there was plenty for our American friends to see here relevant to their ancestor – much more than just humble Druce Road!
Interest in family history research is huge now and the Internet is an incredibly powerful tool for putting people in touch with their ancestors. Not only can people check the censuses online, but a simple name check in a search engine can bring up content like the articles on this blog. And we are delighted that a little article I wrote, some years back, has inspired someone to come and visit our area.
It turns out that Charles was quite the fellow and young Decimus Druce had 21 brothers and sisters, so there are sure to be more people out there descended from the family. Is anyone else out there related to them? Why not come and visit us in Dulwich …