Monday, 23 August 2010

Who do you think you are?

Something I've never mentioned on the blog before is my interest in genealogy and tracing my family's history back through the generations. But after I watched the lastest episode of "Who Do You Think You Are", on TV earlier tonight, I had a desire not just to research some more of my own family history, but also to blog about what I've been doing. Well, in a nutshell...since starting to dig into my past well over a year ago (my sister Amy and I have been working intermittently since then), I've confirmed that not only do I have English, Scottish and Welsh blood in me, but that there's also at least a little could say I'm truly British. And despite being a proud Northerner, I've found to my utter dismay that my great grandmother's family came from Essex and also Suffolk, which are most definitely situated in the south of England. And some distant cousins of mine even live in New Zealand...such a shock to this girl who always presumed that all of her family lived in the UK. Yet on the other hand, 5 or 6 generations of my maternal grandfather's family have lived within a mile or so of where I do now...maybe that explains why I'm such a homebird!!

I've been able to trace happy events like marriages and births...but have also discovered some sad ones that, although maybe commonplace at the time, seem positively tragic to me in the present day, especially as they've happened to my ancestors; my own flesh and blood. Maybe disappointingly, I haven't uncovered any great scandals although I do know that there was a divorce in my family early last century which would have been quite shocking at the time. And I do have some suspicions that one of my ancestors may have been illegitimate, and this really interests me...maybe her father was the rich and important person that I'd be so excited to find. Because on the surface my family tree is filled with ordinary people...not rich, nor important; just normal individuals, mostly working class who seemed to lead ordinary lives. Probably not interesting or important enough to make it onto an episode of Who Do You Think You Are!! But, although it'd be fun to find an important ancestor, as far as I'm concerned, the normal people would be the stars of my show because without them I wouldn't be here today. These ordinary people make me want to visit churches hundreds of miles away; make me determined to overcome the barriers that adoption,divorce and illegitamacy pose when I'm researching; make me thrilled every time I can add a new name to my family tree. Because that's who I am...part of an ordinary group of people who, to me, are the most crucially important of all.

Till next time...

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