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My Story

When a youngster asks, “Mummy, where did I come from ?”, that’s one part of life’s journey for both parent & child, but when there’s the same question 50 years later, it usually means something else - at least one would hope so!

Grandpa (that’s him in his 1913 wedding photo) and his 8 siblings first saw the light of day in the picturesque English County of Cheshire, while Grandma’s beginnings, along with her four brothers & sisters, populated the equally beautiful countryside of Somerset. As for what Great Grandmother Charlotte was thinking in the photo, I’m not really sure I want to know !!

Of those 14 children, I now realize how privileged I was to have spent time with six of them, especially since they were all born more than a hundred years earlier, witnessing an unparalleled century of change.

Next pictured, beside my grandfather, is his youngest sister, my Great Aunt Esther, outside her bungalow where she lived on her own until 2008, dying just before her 103rd birthday. Her husband Reginald had his own business as a chimney sweep which supported them well, and they worked at it without a computer, FAX machine, cell phone or iPad, and no microwave in the kitchen - can you imagine !! “Hey wait, I got through 30 years without any of those either”, so it can be done, but I digress.

Next are three of my grandfather’s four brothers, whose lives after 1900 had been lost to everyone, but with legwork I now know them to be my Great Uncles JOE, BILL and DICK.

Is there a point to all this - well yes there is . . . .

Until asking recently, I learned that neither the five remaining children of the original ‘Group of Fourteen’ (2 in the UK, 1 in the USA, and 2 in Canada), nor any of the following generation (mine), had kept many, if any, records or asked questions about the lives of the fourteen, or the generation(s) before - I couldn‘t help but think we had missed out on the best history lesson of all.

So my quest began and in addition to being very addictive has also been great fun, ‘including two recent trips traipsing through English cemeteries, pushing aside weeds, side stepping sheep droppings, and shouting ‘Woo-Hoo‘, “more dead relatives” !