Son of Windrush generation immigrant embarks on an ancestry journey of discovery

Adrian Stone was looking at his mother lying in hospital critically ill, when he realised he did not know who his ancestors were.

His mother Elaine Mccarthy, a Windrush generation immigrant, was suffering from Guillain-Barre Syndrome and it had robbed her ability to walk and talk.

From this moment 10-years-ago Adrian embarked on a journey of discovery to trace his family line and reclaim his heritage.

The Herne Hill resident was seeking a way to connect better with his family.

As he peeled away the layers of his family history, branching out to more than 6000 individuals, he began to document his discoveries through images, and kept a record of the process.

The 45-year-old said: “Descendants of the Windrush generation now have a huge interest in their deeper roots.

“It’s an empowering thing to gain knowledge of who you are and where you have come from, but many people do not think about tracing their ancestry.

Group picture of Adrian Stone’s family reunion in America

“What triggered it for me was when my mother was taken ill, and I realised I knew hardly anything of my family, and if she were to die, who would I ask?”

The adventure took him from England to the Americas on to Jamaica then Scotland. More than 40 people turned up at a family gathering in America.

He said: “It’s been an amazing experience. The people I have met have completely accepted me and taken me in.”

Adrian rifled through birth and death certificates, letters, immigration documents and went from one relative to the next to follow lines of inquiry.

He said: “In Scotland, I found a registry book that had my ancestors in it. “They had been slaves in Jamaica. It threw up a mixture of emotions.

“On one side I was celebrating that I had found a concrete link to my ancestors. On the other side I started to think about the painful experience they must have gone through.”

His mother helped Adrian with his work as she recovered from the devastating virus. He said: “She came here from Jamaica when she was two. We would get excited together when I made discoveries.

“It was about making discoveries beyond slavery.

“I traced my lineage back to the Ebo tribe in Nigeria.

It’s nice to see the direct line going back. “I had a photograph in our house growing up.

I didn’t ever really wonder who it was, before I started this work. “It was my great grandfather Gilbert Robinson.”

Adrian wants to continue exploring his genealogy and plans to follow his discoveries to Nigeria.

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