I like to write. I like to create worlds and mould people. I possibly like the creating and the backstory more than the story-telling ....
I also enjoy photography, and am still learning. I prefer 'raw' photographs - I don't feel drawn to any kind of manipulation, but that may changes.
My other main passion in life is genealogy.
As Cole Porter once wrote, and Ella Fitzgerald fabulously sang, “Begin the Beguine” (and when I was a child, I actually thought the song was “Begin the begin”, which tells you something important about children, I’m sure).
I’m not entirely sure how to react to this week’s theme – the first one of 2021 which adds that extra pressure to make it an explosive start to the year. I’m sure I’ve talked somewhere before of my own beginnings in genealogy (wanting to know about my biological grandfathers on both sides – check and check – aged about 15) and how I started offline and then grew my own skills as more and more records became available online (and waiting for baited breath for the 1901 census to be released online on its own dedicated website and paying for credits to view search results. Ahhh, how far away 2002 seems to me now!
Except for a short sojourn in Purley (sort of south London) I have lived in the countryside all of my life – either in Wiltshire or the four years I spent in rural France. Consequently, my immediate response to this week’s prompt is how much my ancestors would have watched the land around them change.
Not only the land, of course, but their villages changing as shops closed, services withdrawn and then acres of post-war housing and, of course, the rise of the motorcar and the roads they ran on. Now, some of those changes are still being faced by rural communities today.
This post was originally slated to discuss assumptions in genealogical research. My point being that we are often told to never make assumptions (in life as well as genealogy), but we’ve all ignored that a time or two – hey, I’d be lying if I said otherwise.
Besides, we all know the famous adage about making assumptions …
I am of an age that I began my serious family history research at the cusp of the digital revoution of the mid 90s. That was the time when the internet was becoming more pevalent in our homes and every day lives, and also the digitisation of family records was in its relative infancy.
I remember the early days of Ancestry and FamilySearch (and it’s associated IGI – International Genealoigical Index – which was always viewed with suspicion by ‘real researchers’ as it was so driven by normal people and a lack of proofed sources. There were message boards and email groups, small, specialised websites dedicated to family names, specific record sets or localities. then there were the sites that served as aggregators of all these sites, like Cyndi’s List which is still around today.
Sadly this post is not about the marvel that is Justin Trudeau’s beard, but the latest in this year’s 52 Ancestors series. That’s not to say I couldn’t do a whole post dedicated to that beard. Because I could.
But looking at my family photos, one thing strikes me. Beards didn’t feature large in my family, with a few exceptions here and there …
As I’ve said a few times, I’ve taken the opportunity that this year has given me to go over old research and re-evaluate old assumptions that have perhaps niggled the back of my brain over the years but have been ignored due to being low risk. (And so speaks the Project Management Professional in me.)
All I’m saying to that is … oh boy. I might have made a bit of an error. I’ll set it out below and perhaps anyone could let me know their thoughts. I’d be grateful!
It’s been a long three months since I last contributed to 52 Ancestors and it feels that momentous changes have happened this summer. Slow and inevitable, like continental drift. But that isn’t the conversation for this post.
This is about bring proud. Having pride. In my family? My ancestors? Myself?