This is not the post you think it is. I am named for my dad’s stepfather, Eddie Taplin, who was dying in hospital when I was born. I was given his name as my middle name – the only one of my brothers to have a ‘legacy name’ chosen to honour somebody else. (One of my nieces has the same middle name as my mother and her sister’s was for a [wealthy!] godparent.)
That would be it, that would be the post. But I’m not going to spend a week crafting a one paragraph post, am I? I wouldn’t do that to you.
Do you ever watch programmes like WDYTYA? and silently curse the good fortune of those who say “My sister has all this information collected by our great-aunt Lydia who sadly went a bit doolally and put bricks down the loo and had to go into a home” and it turns out to be all these old scrapbooks of letters and clippings and notes and things? Me too.
I have to say that our family is a bit light on legends – both in a figurative sense and a literal one. (Sadly I am not related to Marlene Dietrich, as per the cover image.)
One that I have mentioned before is one my mum spoke of only once or twice – that her biological father had Native ancestry of some unidentified description. (Apparently this isn’t an uncommon myth in America, as per these articles appearing on HuffPost and Slate. In fact, it has its own name: Cherokee Grandmother [or Princess] Syndrome. Elizabeth Warren wishes.)
My 4 x great-grandparents, Joseph and Mary (Haynes) Holborow married on 18 June 1813 in Oldbury on the Hill, Gloucestershire. Six months later in December, their eldest child, Sarah, was baptised. Over the next 20 years, a further seven children were baptised to the couple, ending with Harriet in 1833. (Joseph being the subject of my research puzzle.)
Although having 8 children isn’t surprising for the time, Joseph and Mary managed a half-and-half split between boys and girls (one of the boys being my 3 x great-grandfather, Henry), but also in another way …
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.