In February 2014, thanks to a press release from FindMyPast about their digitisation of the India Office records, the press became very excited about the discovery that Al Murray, famous for his ‘pub landlord’ comedy act, is related to David Cameron.
David’s mother Mary Fleur Mount (whose husband Ian Cameron is, incidentally, a 3 x great grandson of Elizabeth , Countess of Erroll, illegitimate daughter of King William IV), was daughter of Sir William Mount, 2nd baronet, whose mother Hilda Low was daughter of William Low, son of Augusta Shakespeare, daughter of John Talbot Shakespeare and his wife Emily Thackeray. The Thackerays were a prominent family in the British administration of India: Emily’s father William Thackeray (b. 1749) was a member of the Honourable East India Company (H.E.I.C.), who worked his way up from being a junior clerk to being the company’s Collector in Sylhet.
Meanwhile, Emily’s brother Richmond Thackeray was Secretary to the H.E.I.C. Board of Revenue. Richmond’s son was William Makepeace Thackeray, the famous 19th century novelist, author of Vanity Fair, who was born in 1811 in Calcutta. William the novelist was father of Anne Thackeray, whose son William Ritchie was father of James Ritchie, father of Juliet Ritchie who married Lieutenant Colonel Ingram Murray (a 4 x great grandson of the 3rd Duke of Atholl). Their son was Al Murray the comedian who, despite his on-stage working-class persona, was educated at Oxford and as we can see was rather blue-blooded!
So, David Cameron is related to William Makepeace Thackeray and the Prime Minister and Al Murray are 6th cousins! It just goes to show that, when you start tracing your family tree, you never know who you’ll find you are related to!
Al himself commented ‘My mum says “don’t know how we are related to PM other than via Adam & Eve.” ‘. However, the connection was much closer than that, and this story shows how much we can find out using original records, whether on- or off-line.
I researched and wrote up the family tree of David Cameron in “True Blue: the family tree of David Cameron”, Family History Monthly, May 2010, issue 182, pp. 32-35.