Tracing Their Hethersett Roots
When an Australian family
decided to visit Hethersett to trace their descendents they had little
idea of how important their ancestors had been in shaping the history of
Michael Back, wife
Therese and children Catherine (15), Matthew (9) and Andrew (7) included
Norwich and Hethersett as part of a whirlwind family history tour that
also takes in Ireland where Mrs Back’s ancestors originate.
The Back family had been
researching the family name from their home in the Australian capital of
Canberra and come across many links to Hethersett. Using the Hethersett
village web site they were able to make contact with village archivist
Gary Wyatt and Hethersett South Norfolk Councillor David Bills. The duo
were able to furnish them with information and set-up visits in the
Thomas Back was the first owner of Hethersett Hall. Thomas was a solicitor
who became sheriff, alderman and subsequently mayor of Norwich between
1802 and 1810. The Hall was the brainchild of Swiss born builder John Luke
Iselin. The family were shown around the building which today is a
residential care home.
Michael’s side of the
Back family emigrated to Australia when his Great Great Grandfather became
Governor General of Tasmania Railways:
“It is nice to know
that I am descended from such an historic family.” Michael said having
researched his family line and found he wasn’t descended from criminals
as so many other Australians have found.
The name of Back plays an
important part in the history of Hethersett through the family’s
ownership of land and property and selfless service to the village in many
guises. The family name is immortalised in Back Lane and the upstairs room
in Hethersett Village Hall is named in memory of Humphrey Back, a former
chairman of the parish council and village benefactor.
The Back family also visited numerous Back family graves in the churchyard of St Remigius Parish Church.