We may better understand who we are.

“If we know where we came from,
we may better know where to go.
If we know who we came from,
we may better understand
who we are.ā€

It’s a journey that I’ve been making for many a year now.
My family’s history fascinates me.
Who where the people who gave us life?
Who where the couples whose love grow the seed of the future generations?
What are their stories?
What were their struggles and their joys?
Do I hold any similarities?
Do I have the same passion, the same will, the same beliefs?
Do I carry their strength, their determination, their spirit?
Who are they?

This is a journey, a quest even, that I have traveled since I was a wee 18 young girl, who needed answers to the most impossible questions.

It’s a journey, I’ve cherished, I’ve pulled deep into my heart.
An unthinking bond with spirits of our past.
I unconditionally love these people who gave me a change to live, who fought wars, battles, the slums, the blitz, the potato famine, the workhouse, the hardships, to give us the future, to give us life.
Those people are my heroes.

I’ve shared many a journey with my ancestors, I’ve discovered family shames, secrets, heartbreak and joys.
I’ve traveled their timelines, feeling every emotion with them.

There are a few family’s that pull on my heartstrings more than others, a connection so strong I’m baffled by its pull. The need to unearth every possible part of their history.
Some have been harder than others, some proving impossible to uncover but they have this hold over me, they have me hooked, line and sinker, I need to find out every tiny little detail about them.
What they looked like, what their personalities were, where they lived, how they died and where they were laid to rest.

One family whom has this hold, are my great, great grandparents on my mum’s, mum line.
They lived a life on the stage, singing, dancing and doing comedy. Yes I have a good few comedians in my family. How awesome is that. I now know who I got my dry, crude sense of humour from.

My great, great-grandmother had three children, two boys and a girl.
Two were born in a workhouse, the other was born actually in wedlock.

I can only imagine the shame that would have been brought down on her, I’ve lived that with you great, great Granny.
Why hadn’t she married the man who she loved?
Was it really a case that her father wouldn’t let her marry her sweetheart?
I sincerely believe that to be the case.
She married a few days after her father had past away.
She finally was able to love and cherish the man she loved. She got her happy ever after.
They had hard battles along the way, true heartbreak.
Her little girl died at the age of three.

This heartbreaking, devastation wasn’t known to the family until I pulled up the 1911 census.
The 1911 census is very different to the others, it’s the first to be completed by their own hand, it has much more information listed and there in black in white was her story of heartbreak, a heartbreak only those who have felt it, will truly understand. šŸ˜­

I could not leave it there, I needed to know her name and what had happened to this poor little tot.
And that’s where her journey entwined with mine.
I spent hours searching records, putting the pieces together and I found a birth that could possibly be hers, also a death that if I was right, would uncover her tragic story. A story that pulls so deeply at my heartstrings.
I ordered these two certificates not really knowing if I had discovered the right documents, it was a long shot, one worth taking. Thankfully I did and I now know her name, her birth date, her residences and the reason why she was cruelly taken from this world, leaving a hole in her parents hearts only fit for loving her.
I couldn’t leave it there, I needed to know where she was at peace.

That began a new journey in trying to find her resting place and you know what, I found it, I found this sleeping beauty’s place of rest.
She is buried at Islington cemetery, in a grave with 14 other people. How very sad that is.

Now at least, I can lay flowers on her grave, and she will know that she isn’t forgotten, she’s remembered and loved.

My dear aunty Eleanor, you will live on in my heart and you will always be remembered.
Sleep peacefully aunty El.
In our hearts you will remain, until the day we all meet again.

Missing piece of the puzzle

Some times in life we all need a little help, be it with life skills, cooking, learning or love. The main thing is that we shouldn’t be scared to ask for it.
That’s what I’m doing right now.

If you have been keeping up with this blog, you’ll know that I’ve been asked to research someone’s family history, well that’s where I need a little help.
It’s not that I haven’t got a clue what I’m doing, I do, I ran my own research business back in the day and have researched a fair amount of trees.
It’s like s drug, when you start you can not walk away without being dragged.
It’s an addiction for sure.
Anyway, I’m doing pretty well, I’ve got back to the 1500’s on one line and smashed the others, it’s looking good if I do say so myself. (we all deserve a little self praise every now and then)
One line is proving to be a headache and if you know anything about family research the one word will explain why.
Ireland šŸ‡®šŸ‡Ŗ

So we have this Irish family who packed up their life’s, their homes and everything they’ve known. They left the potato famine behind them.
One travelled much further than the rest and headed of to the states.
Can you imagine the fear, the excitement, he must have been feeling, what an adventure he was on.
Why he decided to travel so far, we will never know. Why he returned back to the UK, I have a better understanding of, bless his heart, he had definitely lived through it.

At present I can not find a ship log or an documents confirming his move to the states, Canada was his port of call. While he was there, I know he married and had two boys, who I know joined the forces and fort in the Second World War which took both their lives. They died alone, in a foreign country which was a stranger to them. Their body’s were laid to rest in foreign soul. (That’s kind of heartbreaking)
Their mother died and their father returned to England and he went on to marry and live a full happy life.

So this is where I need a little help.
With all the documents I can access, I can’t look into the American/Canadian records.šŸ˜©
Well I can but I would need a lotto win to be able to.
So can you gorgeous Americans get to records easily without costing the earth?
Would any of my American friends, like to give me an hour of their precious time and have a look to see if they can find anything, which may open up a new lead???
I know it’s a lot to ask, but trust me I wouldn’t be asking if I really didn’t need the help.
My mind races with the unknown and it’s driving me mad, I need to know what happened to this Irish gent who had his life torn apart, who lost the love of his life and his family.
He went through so much and his life story is lost.
I have this overpowering need to find it.
If you are interested at all in helping me patch this beautiful heartbreaking story together, please get in touch, I’ll be eternally grateful to you.

Update – while watching Rich in the Great North run yesterday I finally managed to find his ship log back to the UK. My excitement was a tad full on, lol šŸ˜‚ but boy wasn’t I more than a little chuffed.
Can wait to find time to see what doors that opens.

Beautiful Rush

There is something so special about who you are and who you come from.

Every moment in history has brought you to where you are now and what you are and have become.
Every soul that traveled this world before you had a part to play in your making and how your spirit came to be.

No matter if you worship your family or want nothing to do with them, they are part of you, your DNA.
To me that is absolutely fascinating.
Knowing very little about my roots, I’m on a mission to discover, how I got to be the person I am now.
Every document discovered, every name unveiled, every location travelled, every love story, every passing all give me an over whelming sense of being.
These names, are not just ink on a census or certificate, they are part of me, they are my blood, my history.
How I love history.
The thrill of discovery, the facts, the stories, the confirmation, all give me a sense of belonging.
Belonging hasn’t played a part of my life until a few years ago, now I have this beautiful rush of dna running through my veins. These names scribbled on forms, are just not names, they are so much more than that. They are family, they are the people who let my life become possible. They are the reason for my being and that is pretty damn incredible.
They send questions that keep me from sleep, they intoxicate my thoughts and make me need to know more.
From graves I’ve hunted, to war records, ship logs, workhouses, house fires, drownings, the trenches in the battle of the Somme, births and deaths at sea and mystery of the Irish šŸ€ that I still have to uncover. Every day is an adventure and in turn I’m making history for my daughters future daughters and sons and for their future generations.

It’s Friday

It’s been a funny old week.
After an amazing weekend where dreams came true, a funny feeling in my tummy that I haven’t felt for so very long, smiles, laughs and good times, the weekend was just damn right awesome.
Returning home on cloud nine and a new week ahead of me, I had loads to do, but ended up getting very little done.
Failing at a challenge that I had set myself, I gave up and moved on to a different one but I will not be beat on the first, I’m just having a little break from the one challenge that had me close to throwing things across the room.
I was so glad when I was given a distraction by being ask to do some research.
Omg, I had forgotten how wonderful that feeling was, when finding a tiny piece of history.
I grabbed my hard drive, and panic hit me, years, I mean years of research, long nights and days spent hunting for my history, my DNA, had almost disappeared. My heart sank and in truth tears followed.
Part of my past had gone, years of trying to find myself through census, birth, marriage and death records had disappeared from my hard drive. God damn computers I hate them some times. šŸ˜¤
I had spent my early 20’s trying to research my family history, in hopes I would find myself.
I never knew who my father was and I felt lost in that knowledge. I always felt different to my sister and brother and I had an overwhelming need to somehow fit in.
Years of research gave me something that I can not explain, the knowledge of knowing, names, places, jobs, births, marriages even the deaths, gave me a connection that I had never truly felt. No one else in my family knew the ins and outs of our history and I know an incredible amount. I even managed to memorize a lot of it, which if you know me, you’ll know that, that doesn’t come easy to me.
Anyway back to it, hours and hours later, I managed to pull a lot of information back, and I once again began to delve into my history and boy, haven’t I had fun.
I’ve even made a start on my blood dads side which I never thought I would have the opportunity to do. And even though, its extremely testing and a maze of roads travelled, it’s intoxicating.
What makes it even better, I’ve even managed to get an app that syncs everything, so while I sit wired to a machine, I can get lost in the history of life.
So my week has been full of extreme highs and gut wrenching lows but still a smile is firmly in place and I’m happy with life and the joys that it can bring.
I know that we need the bad days to make the good days even brighter and that also, the heart may not heal but still the hands of time keep ticking and life has to go on, we all have to make our own history and as I type away, I’m doing that and that makes me kind of proud.
I haven’t won the war of heartbreak but I refuse to let it take me any deeper or darker, I’m holding on with all I have and there is a glimmer of light somewhere out there and that’s all I need right now to keep me from letting go.
After all if you’re not living just a little, then you’re not making memories and in turn making history.

How they would laugh

img_3905I mentioned in yesterday’s blog that I love history.
Well of late that interest has returned to me with full force. It really couldn’t have come at a better time, my mind has been a light with pain and grief and to be totally honest I’m a little lost soul, disconnected even.
I need something to focus on as my normal hobby is proving a little too much to manage while I’m in a bad flare. This flare up has beat me sideways giving me too much alone time to let my mind flow, with no rest. That really isn’t a good thing, I’ve always kept myself busy when grief and life take hold. I’ve battled too hard and for too long and the small cracks of exhaustion shock until they became huge holes that sent Lupus into full force, sadly though that means I have to sit and chill, that’s not me, I’m not one for sitting unless I’m in total contentment, and then it was the easiest thing on earth. I smile as I write these words, remembering the year that I felt so content that I could let the days slip away doing not much but love the company I was it. That year was just so incredible and I long to feel that free, that happy, that whole, that complete.
Sorry I’ve gone off track but boy it felt good remembering the most important and incredible feelings.
So back to it, history has always been a passion, I think it goes back to not knowing my roots, a childhood of wondering who I had come from, what was my blood fathers family stories. I still know very little about my dads lifeline but I have researched a get deal, dating back to the 1500s on my mum’s side.
This has added to the passion, I feel I need to understand how these people lived, their hardships, their battles, their loves and theirs lost.
I’ve learnt some incredible facts, stories and rumours but I’ve also learnt that life for us is so simple. What we class as hard work, really isn’t. Our lost ones, would laugh at us when we roll in exhausted from a hard days work.
Anyway so lately I have been watching a few different tv series all about different historical events and times, one being “The Tudors” which I must say was pretty damn shocking, what cruel people they were but I’m intrigued to know more as the most famous of my ancestors has links to Queen Elizabeth the first.
One day I will share his story but for now I can not concentrate long enough to remember all facts or to double-check the research I’ve done and the stories I’ve uncovered.
Until then, I can imagine that I’m sailing the high seas, with Rum, gunpowder and that famous black patch over one eye.
Farewell me hearties, until next time.