finding your roots

R.L. Stevenson’s Illegitimate Son by Catherine Woods.

Kathryn Burnett July 19, 2013

My maternal grandmother was orphaned at an early age in an area around Cornwall or Bournemouth England. My mother searched for clues for our family’s geneology during a trip to England in the late 80′s, and became obsessed with the idea that her mother’s father was the illegitimate son of Robert Lewis Stevenson and that her maternal grandmother was the character, Catherine Underwoods, the subject R.L. Stevenson novels by the same name. My great great grandmother was actually named Catherine Woods. I have included a picture of my grandmother’s father and a picture of R.L. Stevenson for purposes of comparison.I would like present the information gathered by my mother, to see whether you reach the same conclusion as she did. There are other interesting lines in my family as well: 1, On my father’s side, my mother found that the Evenson family (my father’s lineage) came from the same valley in Norway as Edvard Grieg (and I am myself, a semi-famous composer). 2. My maternal grandfather was an indentured slave in the coal mines in Edinburgh and I have have the map of London given to him by his mother so that he could make his solo escape to Canada, at the ripe age of 11 around the turn of the century.

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The basic drive to discover who we are and where we come from is at the core of the new 10-part PBS series Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., the 12th series from Professor Gates, the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor at Harvard University and director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research. Filmed on location across the United States, the series premieres nationally Sundays, March 25 – May 20 at 8 pm ET on PBS (check local listings).

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