In 1872 Charles Wood got one month in prison for “refusing to quit the beerhouse”. There are also a handful of murderers, including labourer James Seal, who were sent to the gallows.
There’s no doubt interest in genealogy is booming. The internet has made it a lot easier for family historians to research their roots. When the Public Record Office put the 1901 census online the site crashed after three days under the weight of a reported 32 million hits a day.
TV programmes such as the BBC’s Who Do You Think You Are?, which explores celebrities’ family histories, have also fuelled interest.
The executive producer of WDYTYA, Tom Mcdonald, says the process has its highs and lows and he always warns the celebrities that “history has a habit of taking surprising twists and turns – and that they might not always like what they find.”
So, if you go on to ancestry.co.uk hoping to find you are related to royalty, or connected to the rich and famous, just be warned - you may dig up a few skeletons!
* Guy Hinchley is managing partner of national law firm Mills & Reeve.