I find family history and ancestry discovery very interesting—where we’ve come from and from whom, the genes we carry and the different names that have evolved throughout our history. It will be interesting to read in another hundred years’ time how it transforms further, for example: the occupations people held during the 20th century compared to the 21st century and beyond. For instance, my own family tree shows ancestors who worked as steel turners or farm servants—imagine the roles stated on upcoming censuses nowadays: IT Specialist, Graphic Designer, Baristas, to name a few. Today we have the Internet, which is a great tool to research your family tree, although I doubt whether a thorough exploration can be achieved without any cost involved or investigating findings further to create a precise map of our forefathers. However, the Internet can be a foundation to build upon. Many results are found in the Country’s census report that is a primary source of quality data about the nation’s people and economy. A methodical practice, which acquires and records information such as: full name, date of birth, dwelling, occupation and age of every occupant inside the residence at the time of the census—a procedure in ‘olden’ days that would have been hand written and kept in huge ledgers. This can be a wealth of information to pinpoint correct documentation of birth certificates, marriage and death certificates to clarify or conclude your enquiries.
Our ancestral tree begins with our parents and it’s not surprising it was named a ‘tree’ as from your mother it branches off to one direction and from your father another to create huge offshoots that are grafted and sometimes interweaved with divorces and multiple marriages with subsequent kith and kin—growing-out to a never ending expansive sapling of generation after generation. I once heard that the memories of direct descendants can be passed on through our genetic make-up. How true this is, I do not know. It’s relevant to the times when we’ve heard people talk about an extraordinary occurrence that is referred to as reincarnation. Have you ever heard anyone say ‘he’s been here before’ or ‘I think I was reincarnated’ —when in fact it’s believed it is because of our descendant’s memories being evoked through our DNA. As I said, this hasn’t been proven. Nevertheless it’s interesting.
My mother investigated her family tree quite a few years ago and it took a copious amount of time and dedication to complete; four years in fact. Thankfully through her efforts we have a documented history that began with a copper miner named John Phillips, born in 1796, married to Martha and they had seven children of only one is found documented as married with children and another documented with one child but no marriage. Records say they were all living in Cornwall and later it states in the census they were either living with each other or next door to each other in to adulthood. That’s where the tree on my mother’s side begins.
My father’s side, where the tree branches to a different bough was researched by my father’s cousin and it’s thanks to him that I have some information as well as photographs—another element of my family’s history I enjoy and I’m so pleased I have these wonderful pieces of the past. Sadly I hardly have any photographs of my mother’s family—perhaps many held by displaced members of family and some I’ve been told were stuck to hospital walls during my grandmother’s confinement back in the 70’s and were ruined whilst removing them from that wall after she passed. Her name was Ruth and she was my mother’s mother and she’s my little piece of missing history as we never met, it is such a shame not to have known my grandmother, apparently we have similarities. She sadly passed away a few months after I was born from multiple myeloma. She gave me my name and although she no longer had her sight she was able to hold me. My older sister remembers her, but vaguely, as she would have only been six years old at the time she passed away. We have a few cherished pictures and one of her mother, my great-grandmother Violet, who also passed too young and who never even got the chance to see her children grow as she died when my grand-mother Ruth was only six weeks old. It was 1921 and with no mother, Ruth was placed in the workhouse along with her brother. At some time they were taken out and grew up in the care of her mother’s sister Florence and her husband Robert who they believed to be their parents until discovering this wasn’t the case when her aunt passed away suddenly when Ruth was 14 or 15 years old.
Returning to the ancestry exploration my mother did. As well as many hours spent she also had to obtain certificates to either determine findings or develop them, which in turn was charged a fee for each one ordered. The census played a huge part in the journey and the outcome was marvellous and documented well in writing and with a complete tree to keep and a tree that keeps growing. Let’s hope when none of us are here to cultivate it anymore, our descendants will nurture it so that it is always sprouting new shoots.