Family Heritage Tours

Family Heritage Tours describes their tours as gatherings of relatives, friends and associates to experience sites where ancestors lived. Much research (four to eight months) is done before a tour is assembled. Most tours are 10 days covering short or wide country ranges depending upon family desires and information gathered. Custom designed tour programs are personally tailored to fit the family’s wants, desires and expectations. They work with a family coordinator, any individual with knowledge of specific data pertaining to their family origins according to Larry R. Rieke, President of Family Heritage Tours. They work with a professional team with impeccable genealogical credentials who assist in the tour formation in England.

Ronny O. Bodine participated in a of Owsley family genealogy and history tour in England. These are some of his notes reported in a handsome 23-page Owsley Family Historical Society Newsletter. From arrival in London, Bodine described the tour in great detail (our quotes are from just the Owsley line). Just after arrival they drove by “the former Bells of Ouzeley Inn, now renamed Harvester, a part of everyone’s photographic history of this trip.” Another photo opportunity was “Woodstock Manor, once the possession of an Owlsey ancestor, Edmund of Woodstock (1301-1330), Earl of Kent.”

Religious family history is evident during a “walking tour of Oxford University, including Exeter College and all Soul’s Church. Rev. William Owsley (1662-1733), nephew and son-in-law of Rev. John Owsley (1630-1687), and his successor as rector of Glooston Church, graduated from Oxford University’s All Soul’s College in 1685. His son, Rev. John Owsley (1692-1743), also attended All Soul’s College…”

Another ancestor made a mark at a church more than 400 years ago. “At Courteenhall we made a tour of the manor property and its church, the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul. One of the monuments in the church is for Richard Ousley, who married a Wake, and died in 1598.”

Bodine sat with Sir Hereward over coffee and talked of early Owsley family history and the possible relationship between Somersetshire Owsleys and Courteenhall Ousleys.

Here is an example of a contemporary event inserted into a historical backdrop. “We stopped in the town of Whittlebury, Northamptonshire. Visited Whittlebury Church where our Rev. John Owsley’s daughter Sarah was baptized in 1651. We saw the actual baptismal font where this event took place. John Owsley served as Whittlebury clerk from 1651 to 1652. We were received by Colin Hudgens, dressed in church vestments. Once everyone was settled, Hudgens read a prayer for the victims of the September 11th terrorist attacks which included several hundred Britons.”

Rev. John Owsley’s resting place was behind the altar. “John served as rector of Glooston Church from 1660 to 1687, was succeeded by his son-in-law and nephew, Rev. William Owsley (1662-1733) who served as rector from 1688 to 1733, and was succeeded by his son, Rev. John Owsley (1693-1743), rector from 1742 to 1743.”

At Benefield Parish Church in Benefield, Northamptonshire, they viewed the 1631 baptismal site of Dorothea Poyntz, wife of Rev. John Owsley.

“Parish Church of St. Andrew in Stogursey, Somersetshire, is where John Owsley served his first church post as rector from 1652 to 1660. Just across the street stood the very vicarage in which Rev. John Owsley lived and where our ancestor, Thomas Owsley, was born on June 11, 1658. Rev. Owsley baptized his son at Stogursey.”

At Glastonbury they were joined by special guest, Eileen Owsley, an English Owsley society member, and widow of Jack Owsley. Jack and Eileen were instrumental in researching the early family history. Alarge sheet cake decorated with “Happy Anniversary Owsley Family” celebrated several of the tour group who recently had birthdays and anniversaries.

Next stop, All Saints’ Church in Trull. One of the church staff uncovered heretofore unknown details concerning John Owsley, the father, which revealed him to have been of Trull’s tithing assessor in 1648 and 1650. Axminster, town was the home of Rev. John Owsley’s grandfather, William Owsley the younger, who died there in 1593.

Crewkerne, Rev. William Owsley (1550-1630), son of John and Eme Owslie, of Misterton, was installed as vicar of Shepton Beauchamp and Crewkerne Church in 1576 and was ordained a priest in 1578. John and Eme Owslie were likely buried in Crewkerne’s churchyard in 1592. Despite an intensive graveyard search, no Owsley stones were found.

Contact Family Heritage Tours, PO Box 25673, Shawnee Mission KS 66225; 913-219-7876; [email protected].