Thursday, January 6, 2011

My family coat of arms ties at the back.

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."



Pam said...

It all sounds exciting and something I'd love to do at some point. My dad has been doing his side (with some equally intriguing stuff - they were pretty brutal in the old days!) but I don't have too much on the maternal side.
I'd love to know what computer service you used - or was it all self guided?

C said...

love the quotes! yeah, i agree clippy, there are people in every family that make you ask the eternal question of who the hell are THEY and where did they hatch from! we all have em. many gene pools need extra chlorine just to bleach the dirt off!!! bwahahaha

my sister Jo is the one in our fam that is doing the geneology.. i dont have the patience.

Steve said...

Discovery all these hidden family gems is addictive... the answers always lead to more questions and more digging... but it's so good to find it all out and pass it onto the kids.

Clippy Mat said...

Pam: The one I used the most and though which I made contact with most of my 'relatives' is Genes Reunited which is UK based of course. The Church of Latter Day Saints (Mormons) has the most extensive records on everybody that ever lived apparently but I never actually needed to use them. I had a cousin who did tho' and he gave us all copies of his research. Dozens more online but of course they all cost money and everytime you want to look at census forms there's a cost but on GR once you have paid there are many other members who will look things up for you. Good Luck.

C: I don't know if you need patience as such but it helps to be curious. I dont' want to go back too far but one particular branch of my immediate family is a puzzle to be solved and that's what interests me.

Steve: I don't think my kids are remotely interested at the moment to be honest but I hope that changes eventually. I am sure that in the future if and when they want to know more about their rooots that it will be much easier to dig it all up. I've done the basic groundwork. It's fun tho'.

Busy Bee Suz said...

If I were your Sister, I would be leery of you visiting again.
I laughed out loud at this entire post...I know a lot of my family tree needed some serious trimming, or perhaps some chlorine POURED into the gene pool too.
I am just happy that I learned a new word from you: Skiving.

ModernMom said...

Oh it is amazing what you can find deep in that ancestral closet! My Mom gets lost for hours on the hunt:)

Happy New Year to you.

Clippy Mat said...

Suz: I aim to serve. :-)
Hmmm, My sister does seem a tad reluctant these days when I mention I'm visiting come to think of it!

Clippy Mat said...

Modern Mom:
If only I could unearth some rich ancestor whose minions are searching the world for the rightful heir to the vast fortunes. I bet your mom feels the same way?

Clippy Mat said...

p.s. M.Mom, Happy New Year to you too. :-)

Expat mum said...

I did mine a few years ago with the help of a geneologist in Blythe. I got my dad's side back to about 1650 but there were no skeletons and no riches. Very boring.
My mother's side was half Irish so the records don't go back very far at all (the Conway lot). Disappointing.
We might be in Newc at the same time this summer! Have to have a pint in the Lindy!

the fly in the web said...

Looking at product of family'm not too sure I want to enquire too closely into the root system....
And looking at MR. Fly's lot I just wonder how he escaped being confined to a loony bin when in the cradle....and, more to the the rest of them avoided it...

Clippy Mat said...

The Irish side of our fam. tree has been a stopper too. It's difficult to delve too far back. We were probably all Conways at some point.

It does give you pause for thought when you find out some of the antics that they got up to back in the day... Distance (of time) lends enchantment to the view I think.

Irritatingly Optimistic said...

How strange, I'm waiting for a copy of the Family tree Maker for my macbook and then I'm going to resume my quest to find our more about 'my lot'. Hubby has been doing his on and off for a few years and has found out that he is half Scottish and is related to Johnny Armstrong of Border Reiver fame.

Hence our many tips North to scour graveyards and history centres.

Next time you're over we must have coffee! - tell your sister I only live down the road and won't need a bed for the night!

Clippy Mat said...

Gail: It must be exciting to find out you are related to a 'name' such as your husband is. In my tree there isn't any connection as yet. Who knows tho I might be descended from Royalty eh? I will def. look you up in the summer when I get home. I think I told you I have a friend living near you? and yes, my sister will be very relieved.

wor vron said...

We do all appreciate the work you've put into researching the coat of arms and I know it will be of interest to the kids one day ( just not yet!.)
One of these days we re going to go to the Isle of Wight and Jersey right back where it all began -but not this summer eh?!
love little sister aka 'the trooper'

Clippy Mat said...

Dear Little Trooper:
We have relatives in those neck of the woods so I say let's not tell them we're coming and we'll just show up. :-)

Lakeland Jo said...

I would love to find out more about my dad's side but have had no luck on my own. I have never known a relative of his. Quite sad really. I think I will have to see professional help to make progress

J. Hi said...

I have really missed you (my fault entirely for not keeping up enough.) But I love that story since I, for some strange reason, am drawn to crazy. :) You are brave.

Molly Potter said...

P.P.S. I don't have one, let alone two, cents.

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Thinking about you.