Sunday, 1 March 2009

Roots

It comes as no surprise that genealogy is now huge, with more and more of us trying to confirm who we think we are.
Four years ago, I embarked on researching my own family history. It's frustrating, time-consuming, can be expensive (particularly if you need certificates/parish records) but ultimately incredibly rewarding.
The reason for my journey was simple. My dad died shortly before my 21st birthday, totally unexpectedly. He was a wonderful man who treated my sister and I like rare gems, and I felt - and still do feel - his loss acutely. But with him died answers to a thousand questions about his family, his ancestors, that I had never thought to ask while he was alive.
Through research, I've managed to get back to the 17th century on my paternal side (the maternal, mostly Irish side is slightly more complicated). I've uncovered long lost cousins, war heroes, tales of incredible bravery, and desperately sad stories worthy of any episode of Who Do You Think You Are?
Gradually I have built up a picture of my dad's family background, and the experiences which made him into the person he was. I feel I know him better now. And it means that, when they ask, I can bring his story to life for the grandchildren he didn't live long enough to see.

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