The stories I have written so far are about closer family members that are known to my living family so the stories were also already known to them but my journey into my past has led me to characters previously not known to myself nor to my living family and so there are many fascinating stories that I have discovered that have gone unreported to my entire family. Some of those stories are deeply embedded within me because of the effort it took to unravel the detail but they would remain nothing more than a memory of mine unless I told the story and passed it on to those who are living. My family history is largely left to me to do and document as everyone alive knows my interest in it and they are happy to leave me to it, only on occasion contacting me to ask about some detail or another that they are interested in, but otherwise, the things I discover will remain undiscovered unless someone delves into the things I have documented. Some stories more than others though deserve to be told and deserve to be heard. Continue reading
I did wonder whether to write this post just yet as it seems all I have been doing lately is writing about war heroes and fallen soldiers in my family but that is the subject matter on my mind most at the moment given I’m currently working on a large scale project to commemorate these wonderful men but also I’ve had some new information come to light a couple of weeks ago about one of the individuals in this post and just felt it had to be shared. My post this week is about a whole family really but with particular attention being paid to three members of that family. It is the story of my Great-grandfather and his family. (MIchael Charles Metcalfe, 1885-1917)
One of my most favourite things to research is the lives of fallen soldiers. Telling their story and bringing to the fore once again the smallest detail of their lives just seems like the very least I can do for these wonderful men who paid the ultimate price for the freedoms that I enjoy now. I am working on a larger project that will honour the memory of every single war hero that has been discovered since I began researching my family tree but until that is ready I will continue to make smaller tributes to these servicemen wherever I can. Today’s offering is for John Shields. I have two men of that name in my family tree and both of them had their lives taken by war. One died during WWI and the other during WWII and it is that John that I write about today. Continue reading
There are certain families on my family tree that I get messages and questions about more than others simply because they are so prolific and heavily researched. I spend so long researching these family names that they really do become a part of me. Some of my most heavily researched lines include the names of Brumby, Doo, Metcalfe, Batters, and Edwards. It is a member of the Doo family that I am writing about today who was as far as I can tell a bit of a local legend in his day but whose name is remembered in a way that even he would not have conceived of when he was alive. His name was Harold Emile Doo or H. Emile Doo as he was known in business or just Emile to those closest to him. He was my 3rd cousin 3 times removed and his Great-grandfather James Doo was the brother of Holmes Doo who was my 4x Great-Grandfather on my mother’s side. (Remember that name for I have further stories to tell of Holmes Doo and his family!) Continue reading
Anyone who knows me knows I have a particular love for our countries war heroes – the brave men who fought for the freedoms we enjoy and many of whom paid the ultimate sacrifice for that freedom with their very lives. I can’t begin to tell you how many of them I have discovered within my own family tree since I started researching but today I was moved and blessed to discover yet another one to add to the ranks of brothers and cousins within my family who fought together and died together. They are all special to me.
This surprise discovery today was borne out of a gift of papers, photos and documents from my mother-in-law that I have been processing this week and it never ceases to amaze me what can come from just one document. The uploading of a birth certificate for Maurice Finn (my husband’s 1st cousin 3 times removed led to the discovery that he fought as a Private with the King’s Own Scottish Borderers and lost his life in France during WW1 on 10 January 1917. What was even more amazing to me was the discovery of the headstone that marks Maurice’s final resting place in the Faubourg-d’amiens Cemetery in Arras, Calais. The lady who had taken the trouble to take the picture and preserve it has since herself passed away and will never quite know just how much her efforts mean to the family members who subsequently come along and discover these precious images. It just added to the emotion of the discovery today to read of her efforts in preserving history even though what she was preserving was not of her own family. How thankful I am for everyone who “gets it” and works hard to help others discover their heritage.
And so with that said, I made this simple slideshow (with my husband’s technical help!) to honour this man whose sacrifice will always be remembered and who will have a special place in my heart.
Earlier this week I shared this meme to my Facebook Page. It got me to thinking about the rogues and vagabonds I have in my own tree. Families may seek to hide or be embarrassed to share details of an ancestor that has led a “colourful” life shall we say but for me it is precisely those people that make researching family history particularly interesting. I love to discover someone that makes your eyes pop and draws you in with the devilish details of their story. After seeing this image today on Pinterest ,(https://uk.pinterest.com/pin/110549365827791776/)
I decided my next post would be about one of these “skeletons”. We can’t hide or change our family so we should just embrace and acknowledge those characters and recognise that every family has them. Continue reading
A key tip in researching your family history is to gather facts and memories from living ancestors before it’s too late. It is easier to find answers to questions from those who are living and hold the answers than to try and find those answers for yourself once they have passed on. Family gatherings and social occasions provide perfect opportunities for fact gathering. For similar reasons, it is so important to make a record of your own life and memories – it may seem of little consequence to you to do so right now but journals and scrapbooks that share nuggets of information about you will be of greater value to your children and their children than any other legacy bequeathed to them. The smallest discovery of a memory of someone has brought the biggest thrills to me in my research. They are the details that give life to a name and so today I want to record the small memories I have of my maternal Grandparents Arthur and Eva McNama.
(Grandma and Granddad McNama pictured in their back garden at King’s Road, A-u-L)
I wanted to write this post yesterday but illness prevented it so it is a day late but I have been thinking about family far afield as they celebrated the birth of a wonderful lady, mother, wife and friend. Yesterday would have been her 62nd birthday but she passed away just over 2 years ago, taken by a cruel illness that is cancer and leaving a gaping hole in the lives of those she left behind who miss her still and always will and so I wanted to honour her memory by writing from my own perspective and own memory of this wonderful lady.
(Kay Teeter – 1954-2014)
Quite often when I’m doing my family history research it feels like my dead ancestors are throwing themselves at me because of the speed and quantity with which information is revealed. I can grow a tree very quickly if the records are available for me to research. Sometimes I will set a target for myself and say I will just complete this family group and finish up for the day but then it will be the last person I’m working on that is usually the linchpin to opening up a whole new undiscovered branch of the tree and suddenly there are droves upon droves of ancestors to be added again. Some branches however are very guarded and take a lifetime to reveal themselves only parting with snippets of information in droplets. Those lines can be the most frustrating to work on but patience can bring results. Continue reading
Precious memories are triggered by the most mundane, peculiar things – a sound, a smell, an object – seemingly ordinary things that encapsulate emotions and memories so strong and powerful within us that they no longer remain ordinary but rather special. I have been thinking today about two very very special people whom I think are perfectly summed up by Toby jugs, tobacco and banana sandwiches! Those three things that mean nothing of any real significance to most of you reading this evoke some of my most pleasurable memories from childhood and so today I choose to honour them and their memory in this post. They are my paternal Grandparents.