Hooray for family trees!

Imagine having a family tree so large that you have more than 150 birthday and Christmas presents to buy for them every year.

That’s the case with a Liverpool grandmother, Eleanor Dougherty, known as Nellie, who turned 91 recently. The Liverpool Echo story revealed that Nellie has always joked with her family that she has the largest family in Merseyside.

With more than 150 family members including 93 great-grandchildren and 15 great-great grandchildren, she may well be right. What is so remarkable is that Nellie, the article revealed, still loves to buy every member of her family and all their partners a present on their birthdays and at Christmas.

Loving and caring person

Her family members describe her as “the most loving and caring person you could ever meet”. Because her family is so large, they rarely get together all at the same time. But there have been strict orders for all the family to meet on the 30th of July to celebrate their loving nan’s 91st birthday.

Nellie was born in 1931 and brought up in Anfield. She was herself part of a large family—the fourth child of 11—and she met her husband Ted when she was 14.

Julie Gibbons, one of Nellie’s granddaughters, told the Echo that her grandparents met when Ted asked Nellie to go to a dance with her. when he revealed that he couldn’t dance, Nellie insisted on teaching him.

Move to Kirkby

The couple had their first child when she was 18 and continued to live with Nellie’s parents until after the birth of their third, when they moved to Kirkby. They were among some of the first people to move to the new Kirkby Southdene estate in 1954.

Nellie’s job included a stint at the Hippodrome where she mixed with celebrities such as Jimmy Tarbuck and Tom O’Connor.

Ted died in 1981 at the age of 52 and Nellie never remarried, raising her family on her own while continuing to work until she was in her 70s, including in a cleaning job at the famous Kodak plant in Kirkby.

All year round shopping

Julie told the newspaper that her nan shopped all year round, which was kept her going. Her family always tells her there is no need, but she says she could never not buy presents because when she was younger, she never had that much money and now she wants to share it around.

To keep up with birthdays, Nellie has a calendar next to her chair at home with the dates pencilled in and she has a stack of birthday cards ready to send. The wrapping of the presents is left to other family members.

Clients that retain our services on a contingency fee basis where we compile a family tree as part of our work can request a copy of the family tree after they have received their inheritance. Find out more here.