My ‘Shellaker Credentials’ ……
I was born in BILLESDON, Leicestershire, the son of GEORGE HARRY & BERYL LEEDHAM (née SHELLAKER) who herself was born at Billesdon Lodge Farm in 1921. I am the grandson of JOHN SHELLAKER (1881-1967), the 13th child of RICHARD & MARY SHELLAKER.
Consequently, RICHARD SHILLAKARS of LODDINGTON, who was born a few years after the death of Elizabeth the First, is my great, great, great, great, great, great, great grandfather.
As a boy I remember my grandfather John Shellaker, who died when I was 10 years old in March 1967. I also have some memories of NELLIE BROWN (née SHELLAKER) ; I was at ROLLESTON around the time she died in November 1962 at the age of 83 years. I recall, as an inquisitive six year old, peering through the door in the front room at Woodbine Cottage, and saw her laid out on her bed, with, if I remember correctly, a posy of flowers in her hands.
I first started investigating the Shellaker Family History in the pre-internet era around 1978, speculatively visiting the churchyards around my home in Billesdon on my Lambretta scooter, although at that time I did not progress any further back than the Shellakers in Tugby.
Around 1997 I commence my research again, visiting the Leicestershire Records Office and talking to family members; my mother plus ANN HOWKINS (née SHELLAKER) and MARY HUNT (née SHELLAKER) both of whom are daughters of WILLIAM SHELLAKER (my great uncle), DORIS GEARY and CHRISTINE BATES, granddaughters of EMMA GEARY (née SHELLAKER) who was my great-Aunt, ‘COUSIN BETTY’ the granddaughter of POLLY SHELLAKER and also two ‘grandchildren’ of Emma Geary (née SHELLAKER), GORDON and KEN GARFOOT, who were the children of Emma’s illegitimate daughter MARY.
However most of the detail came from many discussions with OLIVE SWIFT (née BROWN) daughter of Nellie Shellaker. She was a seemingly never-ending source of fascinating information breathing life and character to what previously were only names on documents. My discussions with Olive were very much a mutual exchange of information. As I talked about my research and showed her various documents and photographs it would, more often than not, triggered further recollections from her extensive memory.
It was those frequent discussions with Olive which was main reason for creating this website. I believe I have a ‘duty’ to share the stories Olive and others members of the family shared with me, with those who did not have the opportunity to listen to stories of the lives of past members of the Shellaker family.
I also hope, by placing all this information into the public domain, to make connections with family members and others who may themselves have information which I can add to this website to further enhance the story.