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Sunday, 19 February 2017

Finding Lovely Leaves on the Family Tree

Several years ago I started researching my family tree, most of the people who could have furnished answers had sadly passed away and the trail went cold. I'd discovered where my Great Grandparents were buried, but try as hard as I could, I couldn't find out what my Great Grandma's maiden name was or anything else about her, I tried asking on a few genealogy forums and a few people helped with advice and some even did a little research for me to help me discover who my Great, Great Granddad was, but I hit a brick wall and gave up.

Over the next few years I did a little more research off and on and my brother and me went to visit the grave and leave our Great Grandparents some flowers, my genealogy research then side tracked in to research on two medical botanists that I'm writing a book about, more on that in a future post as one of the chaps have some surprising links with the place I'm doing robot workshops at.

My family history research was picked up again towards the end of last year and I revisited one of the genealogy forums to find a comment on a post I'd made from a potential relative hereafter known as Henry's Daughter (my Grandad had a brother called Henry). The problem was in the time that I'd been away I'd forgotten my password and the email address I'd used to access the account I no longer had, so I couldn't get a password reminder sent. So I left a public message asking the potential relative to look me up on Facebook, I heard nothing. In the interim my auntie put me in touch with one of my cousins first removed, we had a lovely chat, but she wasn't the relative who had commented on the forum.

Then earlier this week I got a facebook request from Henry's Daughter who it turned out was indeed related to me, she is another one of my first cousins once removed, not only that but she put me in touch with even more of my cousins. My immediate family aren't very close and sometimes it feels like its just me against the world, so family has been something of an alien concept, my wonderful little brother and his family aside. Researching my families roots started to feel academic because nobody else seemed interested, maybe my brother was a little, but on the whole, nobody was as excited as me when I discovered something new.

My new found extended family are a riot, they have my Grandad's sense of humour, something I inherited from him thankfully. We've set up a little family group on Facebook and we've been sharing stories, photos and our family history research. I have to say that I can hear there Manchester accents in the words they type, and it makes me homesick for my roots.

This crazy bunch of people have welcomed me with open arms and I feel like we've been around each other for years. Some of them I met over 45 years ago and have never seen since, some of them I'm yet to meet. But meet we will as Henry's Daughter has invited me to a family party, but before that we're all going to meet at the grave of their Grandparents (my Great Grandparents) because thanks to my research they now know where it is.

And thanks to the research of one of my other cousins I now know that my Great Grandma's maiden name was Taylor and if my research bears out, she was born in Droylsden a place I lived for a while in the 1980's. Three of my cousins have been researching the family and each one of them has a puzzle piece or a clue, between us all we will solve this mystery and trace our family.

The photo above is me and my Nanna taken in 1969, my Grandad took the photo on a trip to the seaside. I've been researching my Nanna's family the Barry's, I've solved one puzzle about my Great Grandad Barry but encountered another conundrum which needs some further investigation. Over the Summer I have trips to Port Sunlight, Neston in the Wirral (that trip will hopefully furnish a visit to Ness Botanic Gardens as well!), Lytham St Anne's and a couple of other places.

My cousins are all over the place in Manchester, the Canaries and Spain, some of them are coming over to the UK this year for us all to meet up, and I'm really looking forward to it, for the first time in a very long time I feel like family is a fun and loving thing, and not something that is lots of hard work, tears and a constant stream of fights, snubs and being made to feel like they'd sooner you were anywhere but there. So I'm looking forward to getting to know my extended family better, sharing memories and making lots of happy new ones.

When I started out researching my family tree I was looking for the past and trying to figure out where my Grandad came from. I never thought that my search would lead me to existing family, its such a wonderful thing and I'm so happy I posted on that forum now! Now I have people to work with that are interested its rekindled my interest, more puzzles to solve and clues to find, grandad always said I was like Sherlock Holmes, I asked way too many questions and was always trying to puzzle things out, somethings thankfully never change :)

4 comments:

  1. Hi Debs this is such an interesting post. We have members of our family researching the Trinder family tree. It does lead to interesting discoveries and some very strange conversations. Take care. Hugs Jackie

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  2. Really enjoyed reading today Debs very interesting.

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  3. I did our family history with my dad a few years ago, led to lots of interesting history and getting in touch with long lost family members, but hit a brick wall on my branch which we hope one day will progress. Lovely to read your story so far. Emma x

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  4. What a wonderful story - I hope you have a great time meeting up!

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Thanks for your comments on my cards and posts, they are very much appreciated, I'll get back to you as soon as I can if a reply is required. Hugs - Debs x