Time with my mother is a rare treat these days, and much of it is spent trying to find out some of her family history the better to inform my understanding of my (adoptive) family. My origins are rather weird – the more so since I am adopted – but unusual even without that fleeting fact.
My father was born in India in 1927 whilst my grandfather was working there doing great things for the emerging science of public health medicine. My mother was born in Antigua of Huguenot stock who had been engaged in the sugar industry there for over three hundred years. I suppose this makes me effectively a second-generation immigrant and, since I am white and blond, I’ve been dying for some scumbag from the BNP to knock on my door and explain the rational behind voluntary repatriation of such as myself … unfortunately, I don’t think they do much canvassing in the Scottish Highlands.
These days, most families have got members who are the family historians or the keepers-of-pedigrees, so original family history research may not be needed if one asks around enough. Mum has pedigrees for her Henzell ancestors (the Huguenots) and Sedgwicks (from Dent in North Yorkshire) and I managed to persuade her to let me borrow them to copy for my/my kids information. There is also a lot of detail on my father’s family, one branch of which (the Owens) has been traced back to 1625. That means a total of 14 generations between the earliest known ancestors and my own children – pretty fantastic when it’s all charted out.
As a consequence of this information, I spent most of the weekend assembling the data into a family tree application and now have over 400 people in various branches, and there are other lines that I know have pedigrees that can be added, particularly on my children’s mother’s side (the former Mrs PtC). Must see if I can borrow them some time.
Because my parents were not really great ones for maintaining relationships with diverse and several branches of their families, I grew up as a child thinking that we had very few relations, in contrast to all my fellows who could reel off long lists of aunts, uncles, cousins and even more remote kin. It’s a bit of a surprise to see just how many extant folk there are perched on the various branches of the family tree, even if I know few of them from Adam/Eve and, no doubt, vice versa.
I’ve added a few “family” tags to my del.icio.us bookmarks, but, to maintain the fiction of anonymity which is the theme of this blog, nothing that links directly to my own family name – you’ll just have to keep guessing if you don’t know already.
To come back to the introduction to this post, Mum gave me a few tales which are worth re-telling and I shall do so in due course here, with appropriate edits of identities.