Bedford School Year 8  Family History Project

Key Stage 3 Family History Project

After the Year 8's heard about Paul Crooks' investigation into finding his own family History, many of the Year 8's felt inspired to look into their own family's past. We decided to complete our own independent research to discover our ancestors and family history. This research included conducting interviews, constructing a family tree, sharing photographs and sharing an heirloom. This enabled boys to have a deeper understanding of their personal history. The pride taken by the boys in their final projects was exceptional. It is important that our loved ones are remembered and not forgotten. I hope that they will treasure the work and pass it onto their children and grandchildren.


Paul Crooks talk was truly inspiring and made me think about my nationality and my roots, It was amazing that he could find out about his family's roots and being able to make a family tree that went back to slavery. This inspired me to find more about my family and has made me think about myself as a historian. This talk led me to create and find out about my own family history and made me think about my identity.”

Jeremy Okpere Year 8 Student

The slave Coast painting


We were delighted to have Paul Crooks talk to the boys about his ancestors and their lives as slaves. Mr Crooks talked about his trials and tribulations in his research to create his family tree and he shared some personal stories of his ancestors. It was a real pleasure to have him and he inspired us to go on to look into our own family history.

On March 19, 2018, Paul Crooks came to Bedford Prep School to visit Year 8 and he talked about the importance of finding your roots. Paul is an author of two books: "Ancestors” and “A Tree Without Roots”. "Crooks talked about his first book Ancestors, it was told through the life of his 4 times Great Grandmother Ami Djaba. He spoke of the hardships of leaving a life behind, and people being seen as subhuman creatures. He also emphasized how important it is to find yourself and find where you came from. This talk encouraged the Year 8 boys to do some research of their own and find out about their family trees and where they came from. This really interested me, it made me think about who came before my Grandfather's Grandfather and his Father.

I asked numerous family members about the Hundal family, and I found out so much. Things like the village in Punjab we live in (Pala) was a gift from one of Maharaja Ranjit Singh Ji Generals to Lal Singh Hundal in the 1800s for his valiant efforts in the Sikh army. I also discovered how Kartar Singh Hundal, my great great Grandfather, was the first Hundal to leave the village of Pala and decided to live in America in the 1940's. He stayed there for about 5 years, and Sarmukh Singh Hundal, my Great Grandfather, was the first Hundal to come to England in 1963. The thing that struck me the most was the desire for bettering their lives. Kartar Singh wanted to see the world to try and better his life, and then his son Sarmukh Singh Hundal came to England to better his family's life. This shows the inquisitiveness that my family had and determination. I may never have met Sarmukh Singh Hundal, but what I would like to do is make sure he is not forgotten, because without the curiosity of Sarmukh and the endeavour of my Grandparents, to not be affected by racism and exclusion, I would not be where I am today. I am only honoured to share his name and hope I can do as many good things he did to uphold his reputation.