Genealogist should be used to co-incidences and synchronicity, but it still came as something of a shock when I suspended work on transcribing the stones in the Balls Pond Road Cemetery and switched on the TV to watch the 1st in the latest BBC series of Who Do You Think You Are.
Davina Mcall‘s maternal French great great-grandfather, Celestin Hennion, was famous throughout France for revolutionising the French police service. But his name was to spread beyond his native land when, putting his job and his reputation on the line, he took a principled and unpopular stand on the side of Capitaine Alfred Dreyfus in the lengthy trial that was to split French public opinion and still resonates today. The pretext for the trial was treason. but the underlying cause was anti-Semitism. See more here.
And the synchronicity? Well, Balls Pond Road is a Jewish cemetery, and the last stone I had transcribed before switching on the TV was for the infant Alice Kate, daughter of Arthur DREYFUS born Paris 1836. Dreyfus is not an uncommon name in France and uncovering a link between Arthur and Alfred will not be easy. But that won’t stop us trying!