Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Family History Writing Challenge - Day 13

I have in my study a set of notebooks, they are not anything special to look at, simply notebooks for jotting down the incidentals of life. To me these note books hold the key to my ancestry because they are the original notebooks that I used to gather information from my relatives. I am posting this particular post today, because today would have been my late Aunt's 96th birthday and there are pages of notes, snippets of information that she passed to me that I wrote down. At the time some of those bits of information didn't make sense and it was only through research that the information all nicely slotted into place.

As a child I would routinely visit the sisters of my Grandfather. They would chat with my Grandparents and I would presumably sit and play. I don't actually recall what I did. I simply recall being transported back 70 years or so into the world they inhabited as children. As I got older I would ask questions, who were they?, where did they live?, and rather than be frustrated by constant questions, they loved it, and I loved them for sharing those snippets with me. Those visits as a child were from talking to my cousins unusual. Even the grandchildren of one of my Aunts doesn't recall his Grandmother telling him or his brothers the details she shared with me. For that I am very lucky and I treasure those memories.

Those note books don't just house the information from my Grandfather's sisters. There are also snippets from my Grandmother, my Cousins who were the children of my Grandmother's sister Elsie and from the first cousin of my Grandfather, and any other family member who happened to mention something that would lead me onto the path of discovery.

My Great Aunt Rose shared so much with me. She was very elderly, and had always been very active, gradually her body gave up and she spent time in a wheelchair. Her sight failed, but with the support of her family she remained in her own home up until a few years before she died aged 94. I would still visit her, and open the front door and call out my name and she would always be delighted that I had visited. I would make us some tea then she would usually ask how I was getting on with my research. I recall one day asking Aunt if she knew the name of her Grandmother's mother, the reply was Prudence Budd. I jotted it down. A few weeks went by and I asked the same question and reply was the same. Then a few weeks later, another Great Aunt came with me to visit my Aunt and we were accompanied by their first Cousin Ivy. All three of them, sat and remembered earlier times and my pen could not move fast enough. I approached the subject again of Aunt's Great Grandmother, to which the reply was "I have already told you twice, it was Prudence Budd" I simply didn't believe that Aunt could possibly have know the name of someone who was three generations back from Aunt and had died long before she was born. Somehow, Aunt did and all three of them sat and chatted about a story they had heard, of events long before they were born. Now that is family history!

Word count 565

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