Recently I’ve been looking to the past. Not in a way that drags me down in regrets, but in a way that helps me find out where I’m from, where my family descended from, what they were doing, where they went and what they did. I wanted to be able to know for sure who people were, how they were related to me, because despite my family being scattered across Britain, and the globe, I do think family is important and if I can keep hold of what family looks like for me I’ll be extremely pleased to pass it onto my children, and all those that come after.
It’s times like this that I’m pleased the Internet has gathered information, and allows me to store details and names in one place, without worrying (too much!) that it’s going to disappear anywhere. I once had a really annoying experience with Facebook where I had listed all of my fun theatre things over about 4 years, then Facebook changed and I lost it all.. which was needless to say frustrating, but also a little sad. I think information is one of the few things I still hoard. I’m not one to keep many reminders of childhood past-times and if I can clear space to make a place look cleaner. But when I lose reminders of memories in written form, or photographs (sometimes) I get annoyed. The heritage site is at least somewhat guaranteed to keep my information for a decent amount of time.
What hit me pretty fast was the sheer numbers of people connected! To be fair my husbands family is HUGE, both through cousins (he has 8 on one side), and his great uncles and aunts, of which there are many. There has already been some research into his maternal heritage, and some on his paternal side too. When I added mine it wasn’t as many numbers. In general my family on both sides is a little bit distant. My dad found family life hard and wasn’t told much about his grandparents. My mum knew a little more but the information we had from memory wasn’t great. It increased with a bit of research a la my aunt but there’s still a lot of work to do.
The earliest event I have so far is the birth of Joseph Salmon in 1783. This is pretty early but I would like to get back to the countries I keep being told I have links to: Ireland on my maternal grandmother’s side, Wales from my paternal grandmother, and Scotland from my great-grandfather. What can I say – I think being British is a little easier and nicer than just English.
There are a few people I would like to find specifically: John Edward McA- (my Dad’s brother, who died as a child before my dad was born, but buried with my dad’s aunt for unknown reasons), Edward McA- (a stillborn brother of my dad who was snuck into a cemetery to be buried by my grandfather as it wasn’t allowed at that point), and Joseph McA- my grandfather who served in the war but we can’t find much out without the permission of a rather estranged uncle. There’s a lot to find out but I really do think I want to know. I could dig up some really disturbing facts, but I want to keep going. I’ve already had something strange: a widower who got married again a few years after his wife died, seems a few years after that to have a second wife named Eliza from Barbados.. two wives at once, one being more than twice his age.. little bit of domestic drama is sure to have gone on there!
My main hope is to be able to tell our kids stories about their family, show them who they are descended from, and where they came from. One day I would also love to paint or create a family tree (up to a point) image to pass on to our children. Something symbolic and old and beautiful, full of love and family.
In the meantime, I will update you on any fun stories I find: nothing like real-life to tell a good story!