Wollstonecraft Family Tree

  • Surname Index













  • The Book





              Introduction to the Main Characters and the Plot


              This is the tale of a Treasure Hunt, but, proving that "truth is stranger than fiction", it is real. It is the story of events that took place in a family living in London during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. An offspring of that family was to revolutionise the female role in society.

              With innocent and innocuous beginnings, totally unaware of the amazing facts lying ahead waiting to be revealed, my narrative begins in the surroundings of the Family Record Centre, tracing family history.

              Collecting clues along the way, resources available are explored as the reader is led swiftly through various repositories. The characters, ancestors and their kinsfolk, are introduced, the most significant of these being:

              • Mary Wollstonecraft, novelist, early exponent of Romanticism and advocate of Women’s Rights
              • Edward Bland Wollstonecraft, rich merchant who braved the oceans with the East India Company
              • Britannia Wollstonecraft, née Wood, a tragic figure, destined to die in hideous circumstances
              • Edward Wollstonecraft, wealthy Spitalfields weaver, a patriarchal, benevolent figure, cornerstone linking seventeenth and eighteenth century history of the family.

              The story culminates in the extraordinary discovery of an earlier:

              • Mary Woolstonecraft, employed in the house of Nell Gwynn, naively cheated out of her valuables by a false promise of matrimony.

              There is an underlying theme to the quest, to prove the relationship between the various family members.

              There are many excellent biographies of the life of Mary Wollstonecraft, each giving full details of her experiences and analysing her character. However, there seem to be different ideas regarding the identity of members of her immediate family and, in particular, her brother Edward. Was he called Edward Wollstonecraft or Edward Bland Wollstonecraft? This has led to some confusing assumptions. I have set out to uncover the truth and prove conclusively who Edward Bland Wollstonecraft was.

              My research is carefully documented and the evidence clearly presented. In so doing, I hope to assist future biographers and, at the same time, give a clearer picture of Mary Wollstonecraft’s family background.


              Copyright ©Daphne Johnson

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