Riddle solved at Dudley Castle

DZG’s Presentation Assistant Amy Hickman has helped crack an incredible family riddle which an American visitor has spent 40 years trying to solve.

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Jan Landwehr, pictured left with Amy, began delving into her ancestry when she was just 17 and put Dudley Castle on the top of her to-do list during her recent visit to the UK.

Her trip was organised to explore amazing family links to six British kings and 23 Magna Carta barons, and included an invitation to last week’s 800th anniversary celebrations of the sealing of the Magna Carta at Runnymede.

But it was at Dudley Castle that the 59-year-old American felt she found the final piece of her ancestral jigsaw and the answer to a riddle given to her by her grandmother, Abby Ann Finch, on her deathbed in New Jersey in 1975.

Abby Ann, who was adopted aged just two after her parents died, was 28 before she was told “she was descended from one of the oldest families in America, as old as England itself.”

Without any adoption papers, Jan got to work and has now built up a 40-page dossier of family trees full of famous names.

After speaking to DZG’s Amy, Jan believes the riddle refers to the Dudley family and particularly Thomas and Anne who were at Dudley Castle in the 1620s.

Jan, from New Jersey, said: “When Amy told me about Anne Dudley, my nine times great grandmother, and Thomas, my ten times Great Grandfather, I suddenly felt they were part of the answer to the riddle.

“It was really moving to be at Dudley Castle and now feel I have completed my family research and done my grandmother proud.

“It’s one thing to do all this work on paper but to be in a place of such significance is something else!”

Read much more about Jan’s remarkable roots and the 40-year journey which led her to Dudley Castle in this week’s Black Country Bugle on sale tomorrow.