- Family history -

Photographed in May 2012
David and Tricia Stubley (left) with Marty and Diane Robertson after
meeting for a pint at Smiths of Bourne in North Street.


by Rex Needle

AN AMERICAN has been visiting Bourne this week in search of lost relatives and traces of his ancestors. Marty Robertson, aged 67, a retired scientist, made the trip from Simi Valley near Los Angeles in California, with his wife, Diane, and they were not disappointed.

Marty's great-grandfather was Alfred Stubley (1859-1932), painter, decorator and scenic artist, who brought the magic of make believe to many by using his vivid imagination to produce stage sets for a wide variety of social events and amateur theatrical presentations in Bourne and the surrounding towns. He also designed the floats and the tableaux staged on the back of lorries for the many charity pageants held in the town, working long hours to ensure that all was perfect when they finally took to the road for the enjoyment of the people and to perpetuate a good cause.

He and his wife, Elizabeth, had eleven children, among them Alfred Ernest Stubley (1891) who emigrated to Canada to seek a new life and later moved to the United States where he married, thus creating the American line of the family and his daughter, Anita, born in 1923, was Marty's mother.

Marty keeps in touch with the town through the Bourne web site and has also been busy researching his family tree which is now quite extensive. His first call therefore was to meet David Stubley, a grandson of Alfred Stubley, and although a generation apart, the two regard themselves as cousins.

David, aged 76, of Ancaster Road, Bourne, is a retired motor mechanic who worked for BRM. The two had corresponded but had never met and so he and his wife, Tricia, took Marty and Diane on a tour of the town, taking in the places with family connections that still remain, the most important being Alfred Stubley’s home at 28 West Street, now partly occupied by the offices of The Local newspaper, and the Baptist Church next door where he was a dedicated worker.

“It has been great fun and a most interesting experience recalling everything I knew about my grandfather and the rest of the family”, said David.

Marty was equally impressed. “This is my first visit to England and David and Tricia have been most helpful and hospitable”, he said. “Whenever I record anything about the Stubley family in the future, I will now know the places I am describing. It has been a really wonderful experience and I particularly liked the English pint of beer in the pub to which David introduced me.”

NOTE: This article was also published by The Local newspaper on Friday 1st June 2012.

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