It’s been a while since I’ve done a 52 Ancestors post. Not because I haven’t wanted to, just because I’ve had a lot going on of late. But I have time, and this one seemed to match up with some newspaper articles that I’d come across recently in my ever-expanding hunt for Holborow stories.
And the story has nothing whatsoever to do with the Earl’s Romance in the cover photo (the Earl in question there being George Hay, 14th Earl of Kinnoull who is pictured with his [first] wife, Enid Margaret Hamlyn Hamilton-Fellowes – George himself would die aged just 35 of pancreatic cancer) and everything to do with the Heroic Life Sacrifice.
What a prompt! Now, I received a new laptop for Christmas (lucky me) and currently all my files from my old one exist in potentia courtesy of my OneDrive or my Dropbox and I haven’t actually sorted anything out yet. So there’s a kick up the bum …
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.
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.)
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 …