Today I went into an overdrive of procrastinating, skiving, time wasting and lolly gagging.
I don't really know what lolly gagging is to be honest but I feel it probably fits the bill.
I had good intentions of doing some important paperwork then babysitting the grandchildren for an hour or two and following that up with some shopping and looking over material I want to use next week when I return to work.
A very productive day was planned.
All of my good intentions went right out the window.
A few years ago I got right into doing my family tree.
Truthfully it all started with a need to be nosey and find out about some of the skeletons that were hidden in our ancestral closets.
I had a few clues and started digging.
Which led me to find lots of people who were very distantly related to me.
All kinds of weird and wonderful people are only an email away when you are doing your family tree.
A lot of our relatives are living in the South of England as opposed to the rest of us who were born and bred in the North East.
This is directly because one of our Southern family members was disgraced and forced to up sticks and come North.
The aforementioned skeleton in the ancestral closet.
I arranged a family reunion when I was planning a trip home to England one summer -- well not a reunion really cos I'd never actually met (or previously heard of) any of these people I was now regularly corresponding with.
Nevertheless I invited lots of new and distant 'relatives' to come North and meet up with me and some other family members on my next visit to England.
It's funny how your Great Grandmother's sister's granddaughter can feel like a close relative all of a sudden.
I told my brothers and sister about what I had been up to and about these new 'family' members I had found.
To say they didn't share my enthusiasm might be a bit of an understatement.
Never mind, I was undaunted.
I knew they'd be just as fascinated as I was given the chance.
So I gave them another chance.
I waited a while before I mentioned in passing to my sister that I had invited a few relatives to come North and meet up at HER house.
Would she mind putting a few people up? -
- and did she mind that she'd never met them or even heard of their existence before now?
Could she pick a couple of them up at the airport with me, and er arrange a party on the weekend for all of our immediate family as a sort of meet and greet?
(we were going to need a tent of some sort for the back garden, extra seats, food, drink, barbecues and such like.)
It was only fair to give her warning.
Could she lay on another soiree for another relative from the Maternal Grandfather's side who was planning a 4 hr drive up one weekday to meet up?
Could she help me to entertain and show these new 'relatives' around Newcastle while they were up visiting?
You know at first it all didn't go over too well.
I'm not quite sure why.
But she came through like the trooper that she is (I know she's reading this) and we pulled it off between us.
Soon enough though we realized that there are often good reasons why families are extended and live so far apart.
And why it's often best not to 'interfere' in these things.
It's not always good to alter the balance as such.
We learned that in our family, WE, as in our branch of the tree, are not the only ones requiring more chlorine in the gene pool.
We learned that all of our little quirks and idiosyncrasies which we'd always taken pains to minimize and downplay were trivial in comparison to some of the nut jobs we'd been descended from and who had branched off in other directions forming their own limbs of the family tree.
Anyway, as these things are wont to do, the interest in the family tree eventually waned a little on my part and then I relegated my research to a cupboard in the basement.
Another distant relative in the South of England made contact!
Somebody I'd never met or even heard of before now!!!
We were off to the races.
Out came the abandoned volume of research, the online Genealogy websites were reopened and we have emailed back and forward sharing information all day.
I have scanned and attached documents and certificates of census, birth, marriage and death.
In effect I have shared my most intimate knowledge of my heritage and genes with a complete stranger.
And naturally, we are now friends on Facebook.
I have mentioned him to my sister but even though I'm planning a trip to the UK this summer I will promise not to invite him and his wife and family up to Newcastle to stay with her.
Because I value my life!
And now, as I pry myself away from this computer where I have become roundshouldered and stiff today, where I have overdosed on ancient and long dead people whose lives I will never really know the full truth of, I shall leave you with this quote:
"Jump into your genes...and dig up your roots."
and this one:
"That's the problem with the gene pool: No lifeguards."