I recently found Amy Johnson Crow’s “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” challenge. The premise of it is that every week she sends a prompt as a basis for a story about an ancestor and then you write whatever comes to mind based on that prompt. So here we go!
This week’s prompt is “Start”. A good question – where do I start? Well, I suppose I can go back to why I started.
Once upon a time….
My Dad’s mother lived with us while I was growing up, she was from a large, extended family and was always telling tales of family events and family jokes and rituals. As a result, my ancestors and distant cousins have always been very real to me, even though I never met many of them. Through her stories I know their names, their habits and foibles.
Grandma was interested in family history and had a family tree written by one of her cousins. This is now a prized possession of mine as it was written decades before the internet, solely from personal knowledge. It describes the family they knew, with the names that people were actually known by, not just the ones they were christened with.
My first forays into building a family tree were based on conversations with family members and looking at old family birth certificates that I found. I focussed on names and dates for many years as that was all I had available to me.
Happily ever after!
My interest in family history took a huge step forward when information previously kept in archives around the country was digitised and available on the internet. I can now build the tree further back in time and love to verify family stories from my youth. “What was the name of the pub that G-G- Grandad used to run?”. “Who did go to America?”.
Sadly, of course, by the time it occurred to me to ask “Why” most of my older relatives had died.
The questions that interest me these days are those about the lives my ancestors lived. What did their job entail? Which political events did they live through? What did their home look like? How could they have met their partner? The 52 Ancestors challenge will push me to dig further and learn more about how people lived in past centuries.