2012 - Hubbard and Phelps fourth cousins meet up.


Nick and I had been in touch through email to Penelope Forrest (née Phelps) on and off for several years. Penelope lives in South Africa. She and her brother James are descended from Elizabeth and Joseph Phelps through Harriet, fifth daughter /fifth child and Arthur Phelps the tenth child/fourth son.

We are all 4x great grandchildren of Thomas and Frances Dickinson.



In 2012 Penelope decided to make a whistle-stop tour of England and Madeira to meet various family contacts she had made whilst putting together her book – A Memoir in Letters. 

See also a review

Penelope and her brother James came to England in May of 2012. Nicolas came to join us for part of the time. We had great fun catching up with family history stories and getting to know each other better.

Before coming to me, Penelope had been given a whole wodge of family letters mainly to Arthur and Joseph Phelps dating around 1840s/1850’s. I was able to help get some of them very carefully ironed out/ cleaned up as they had been sitting in a stable somewhere, complete with straw and dirt. We had great fun looking at them and they reaffirmed how close the families were at that time.

These eye opening letters had seemed to travel the world as they were passed from one person to another, certainly from Madeira to England; with people waiting for ships to sail – all this being before regular postal services with stamps etc.

Penelope had just published her book A Memoir in Letters, based on the family letters kept by her mother from former generations, so it seemed as though a second book was suddenly presenting itself!