Microsoft founder Bill Gates is one of ours: Billionaire's ancestors came from Halifax

BILLIONAIRE businessman and founder of Microsoft Bill Gates has connections to Calderdale, it has been revealed.

The link has been made by Halifax historian and genealogist David Glover who has written to tell the world's third richest man that his ancestors came from Halifax.

Mr Glover, publications officer for Halifax Antiquarian Society, says Mr Gates's family – the Halsteads – were regular worshippers at Halifax Parish Church.

"So far as I can ascertain there is no doubt about the lineage and I have consulted many and various records to draw up the chart," he said.

The link was made while he was looking at details of descendants of Puritan families from around Halifax who emigrated to Massachusetts in the 1630s.

"These emigrant families fascinate me," said Mr Glover, of Pellon, Halifax. They included actress Katherine Hepburn, Sir Winston Churchill and John Kerry, the democratic senator who stood in the presidential elections of 2004.

A few years ago Mr Glover traced the ancestry of US President George W Bush to Calderdale.

In the case of Bill Gates, who founded computer software company Microsoft in 1975, the research goes back 11 generations to Abraham Halstead, a clothier of Northowram.

He married Susan Whitley at Halifax Parish Church in 1596 and the couple had a number of children, who lived in Northowram and Ovenden, including their youngest, Jonas, who was baptised at Halifax Parish Church.

In 1635 he emigrated to Massachusetts. He lived in Connecticut for a while before moving to New York where he became a land speculator. His descendants include the Maxwell family, Seattle bankers.

Bill Gates's grandfather was James Willard Maxwell Junior and his mother, Mary Maxwell, James's daughter.

Mary married William Henry Gates in 1951 and their son Bill was born in 1955.

Mr Glover appealed to Mr Gates's "philanthropic nature" to ask for a donation to Halifax Parish Church funds.

"I wondered whether he might be able in some small way to help benefit a church where some of his English ancestors were baptised.

He is still waiting for a reply.

l Comment: Page 12