I think that I have mentioned before that I have been working on a family tree project. It’s a work in progress, I guess family trees by their nature must always remain so, and it’s fascinating.
I actually started my genealogy introduction by looking at my Beloved’s family tree. I know quite a lot about my family, but he knows hardly anything about his. And so, I set off on a journey to help him discover more about where he came from and how he came to be. After a few months (and several hundreds of £’s) I reached a barrier. I felt I had gone as far as I could online. Delving further back into the archives would require travelling to libraries, churches and the like, hundreds of miles away to look at original documents. Genealogy is not a cheap hobby!
When our little Strawbug was born (after a few months and I started to get some time) I began to record my own, well known, family tree. Or so I thought.
I have gathered stories from Aunts and Uncles, from my parents and from online resources and started to uncover my own family story. I’ve discovered family secrets, illegitimacy, false claims marriage, cohabitation, countless infant deaths (as was the norm in the 1800s and early 1900s) and I’m part way through solving an age old family mystery (… a husband who absconded with the family savings, leaving his wife and 4 kids destitute). All I need now is someone in jail and I think I’ve got the basis for a novel!
There are two things that I love about the genealogy process. Firstly, it makes me feel like Philip Marlowe – I have a slightly addictive nature and solving puzzles and mysteries can keep me hooked (and my purse empty) for hours, days and weeks at a time. But, secondly, and I think more importantly, it is a great equaliser. I am learning about life. I am learning about human nature. I am learning, not just about who I am but who we all are.
Whether we were born in 1874 or 1974, we all laugh, we all cry, we all hurt, we all heal. We all want to be happy. To love and be loved. We are all human beings. We are all the same.
The purpose of our lives is to be happy – Dalai Lama