Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Family History Writing Challenge - Day 12

Serendipity is defined by the dictionary as a noun
  1. an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident
  2. good fortune; luck
Is that a good description of ancestry, and in particular mine? Given some of the discoveries I have made.

I find the more I research and answer one question, that more questions appear and for some questions there is no answer, the answer is simply lost with the passage of time. Whilst to loose answers to the passage of time has a romantic feel to it. I find it also has an annoying and frustrating feel! Every now and again I have to stop researching, simply to digest what I have found and look back through the data that I already knew and then what I discovered along the path.

For the last 11 days I have taken part in the Family History Writing Challenge. Each day as I write I am amazed at the data that I have either found because someone told me, or that I have discovered along the way. I also have found that I have questions that have popped up, perhaps things I over looked whilst on the path of discovery. An example is the gap in the children of Alfred and Rose Butcher that I mentioned earlier. I must have noticed that before, but simply not remembered it. I have sat, each day as I have written these pieces and added to my to do list. More questions, but will there be answers to those questions?

I have an idea, which at some point in the next few months I may share with readers of this blog. I need to reflect more on the feasibility of the idea and is it achievable? That idea has grown out of the writing that I have done diligently each day and a few other posts that I have made recently. I read a book a few years ago called "So many books, so little time", and that is what ancestry is like, so many ancestors who each deserve their place in the written word.

What I find truly wonderful, is that we can as researchers have a certain degree of expectation that ancestors who were well established would leave a trail of primary source documents. I have an ancestor who appears in the Manorial Records. Not surprising given his status. What I find amazing is that those records have survived and that the ordinary worker, the Agricultural Labourer has, in his own way left a written word, perhaps he literally signed with a mark, but nonetheless, a document exists that supports that individuals very existence.

Sometimes, we need to think "outside the box" An Agricultural Labourer perhaps left very little evidence, we all should leave a set of dates, a birth, marriage and death, but what else? Perhaps we should look at where the Ag Lab worked. Did he work on an estate? Did the owner of that estate own other land in another parish, another County? Does that open more doors for research and enable us as researchers to explore more avenues?

Word count - 518

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