New research from Ancestry reveals that New Zealand film-maker Peter Jackson’s grandfather had a brush with the author of the Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien.
The story began in World War I with Peter’s grandfather, William John Jackson, who fought at the bloody Battle of the Somme with the South Wales Borderers’ second battalion.
On July 24, 1916, a young Tolkien arrived at the Somme. He would share many of William’s frontline experiences.
William did some reconnaissance work there and his battalion was relieved by the 1st Lancashire Fusiliers, who Tolkien was with.
William, born in 1889, survived the war and won a Distinguished Conduct Medal for his efforts on the Western Front. His record from the British Army WW1 Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-1920 is shown above.
Tolkien went on to publish The Hobbit, a prelude to his Lord of the Rings trilogy, in 1937.
William John Jackson died in England in 1940 while his son, William Arthur, was serving in World War II.
Today marks 100 years since the death of Dracula author Abraham “Bram” Stoker. He died in 1912 aged 64 and can be found in our England & Wales National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills & Administrations) 1861 – 1941.
As you can see from the record above, he left effects of GBP4723 to his wife Florence – approximately AUD$670,000 in today’s money - a considerable amount compared to the others listed on the record.
His wealth is also reflected in the 1891 England Census (shown below) where he appears with his wife and two servants – Mary Drinkwater, listed as a Cook and Ada Howard, a 22 year old house/parlourmaid. Stoker was a busy man, his occupation noted as Barrister, Theatrical Manager and Author.
Amazing how much information you can get from historical records!