Laying down some roots…

A little over a year ago, I decided that I would present my dad with a family tree for his 60th birthday so made plans to start my research. Within months I was forced to tell him of my plans as I realised I knew shamefully little about my family and he would be potentially my best source of information. Since then, I have added almost 300 people to my entire family tree, almost 200 of them just on my dad’s side, and I’m nowhere near done yet! I think it’s safe to say we are a little ways past the ‘pet project’ stage…

Just last month I began looking at my mum’s side of the family. I’m lucky that her mum is still alive so I paid her a visit. It’s just as well I asked her questions before I visited the archive centre because I might’ve missed out a huge chunk of her ancestry had I not! There was a big lesson right there: as much as I want to find what I can by myself, there are some things that records simply cannot tell you. Stories and rumours can be passed from generation to generation but if they are not passed on, those treasures can be lost to history. Thankfully I have been able to use what she told me to search for more clues and information and relay that back to her. As an example, I was able to source a picture of her own father (who died when she was very young) and give her a copy. Moments like that are priceless.

This week, I came across this challenge which challenges bloggers to write about one ancestor each week. I don’t really mind that I am taking up this challenge a few weeks late, if I’m honest. If I find the time to catch up with everybody else, brilliant. If not, that’s ok too. The point for me is to get to know my ancestors better beyond the birth certificates and census records. At various points in time, I have felt that I don’t have a place anywhere. Looking at what I have found, I realise that I am part of a vast family tree, a tree that has solid roots with multiple branches that stretch further than the eye can see. Some people in the tree I don’t know much about. Others I could tell you their life story already. I sit among them, now ready to get to know some of those leaves a little better.

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