Our Leeds Libraries #whatsyourstory campaign had its big launch this week. This post tells you all about another of our inspirational Leeds Libraries ambassadors – Wayne Levitt.
Wayne had always been interested in his family history, but never had the computer skills to be able to access online archives, and didn’t realise how close the facilities for learning these skills are, right here in Leeds.
One day, Wayne, from Belle Isle, took a shortcut through his local cemetery on the walk back to his house. Here, he noticed the headstone of a lady who shared the surname ‘Levitt’. Inspired to find out more, Wayne enquired about the facilities available at Morley library, picking up information about basic computer tuition. From this, he found out about the Leeds Local and Family History library, based at Leeds Central Library. Wayne soon became a regular.
The first step on Wayne’s journey back through history was to find out about the lady on the tombstone. After tracing his family tree back two generations, he discovered that this was his great-grandmother.
Step-by-step, Wayne went further and further back through his family history – and made a ground-breaking discovery. He found that he was related to local war hero Arthur Lewis, the only person in Leeds to win a Victoria Cross for his bravery in World War Two. Looking deeper into this story, Wayne uncovered that Arthur Lewis was shot in the jaw, chest and arm, but managed to keep himself alive long enough to fly his plane to safety. Despite his fatal injuries, Arthur made it back to England but died nine hours later.
Wayne has currently traced his family tree back as far as 1803, to his great-great-great-great grandfather and wife, David and Anna Levitt. In the past month, Wayne has found a family of Levitt’s in Brierley that fit with his existing links, as well as some warm connections in the Hull and Goole area, where he assumes that the family followed the river up to Selby where later generations lived.
Now you’ve met our first two Leeds Libraries ambassadors, could you be the next? If one of the many services available at Leeds Libraries has helped you, we want to know. Tweet us or write on our Facebook page using the hashtag #whatsyourstory, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and let us know how we’ve helped you.
Keep an eye out for Wayne and Ma in your local area, as you’ll be seeing their faces popping up around the city soon…