Friday, 8 April 2011
G is for .....Genealogy
In 2001 we got a new PC with internet facilities and I vowed, as a New Year resolution, that I would stop talking about tracing my family history and actually get on with it!
I started with asking my siblings to dredge up any old documents and photos and having ascertained a few facts about my Grandfather's place and date of birth I began tracing clues through Genealogy websites. Within 24 hours I’d managed to track back 250 years!!!
Genealogy is not an exact science, though - the historical documents such as Census Returns, Parish Records and Birth, Marriage & Death Certificates are accurate only in-so-much that they record what the scribe 'heard' and what the informant 'said'! In some cases those informants may have imparted the facts to the best of their knowledge - others may have had a reason to be 'economical' with the truth! (as in the case of my own father.....but that's another story!)
To research my Family Tree I've had to combine two skills - the ability to do 'mental' jigsaw puzzles, coupled with a hefty bit of detective work! There are family 'myths' that have been, so far, unproved - and a few which most certainly have!! Sadly, I’ve not uncovered any millionaires but, thankfully, no axe-murderers either!
The branches continue to spread out further into the future - new generations of 'twigs' flourish and grow! So far, we have managed to get back to 1651, with the birth of my 7XGreat Grandfather, John Hounam!
This is a work which, to some extent will never be completed! The roots of the tree are firmly embedded in the past - only the lack of recorded information halts the proceedings. This is just the start and hopefully when I'm long gone others will continue to add to it!
(BTW - the charming man with the jauntily styled hat at the head of this blog post is my Great Grandfather, Joseph Edward Beattie. We have no idea if he owned the 'boneshaker' bicycle or it was just a photographer's 'prop'!)