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Saturday, 6 December 2008

8 Things About Me

Debra, The Ancestry Detective, kindly tagged me for the 8 Things . . . meme, here is my genealogy themed list:

1) Like most families, mine contains some with odd, or even rude sounding names. The most unusual would have to be Bransom Haggis (there are several of those), I've tried to find the origins of their forename - to answer the question, what were the parents thinking? - and discovered they/we are related to a family called Bronson, which might explain it. I also have branches called Dick and Bozom who sound like they walked off the set of a Carry On film.

2) I seem to have solved a family mystery. The story goes that my great, great grandmother, Catherine McShane had a huge argument with her brother Frank, which was so serious that they never spoke to each other again. In fact, Frank made sure they couldn't speak, by emigrating to America where he is rumoured to have died in the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. During my research I discovered my great, great grandfather/Catherine's husband, John Rylands came from a Protestant family - the McShanes were Catholic - and his family were members of an Orange Lodge. I suspect the religious differences could have been enough to cause a serious family feud, which seems very sad.

3) Following on from that, it was surprising to learn just how important religion was to my ancestors. Not just in the sense that they had great spiritual beliefs, although many did, but in the effect it had on their lives, even to the extent that they became caught up in wars. I learnt about the influence religion had on the history of this country at school, but it was hard to really relate to the participants. Discovering their names and learning about their lives makes it so much easier to relate to those events.

4) Although, I've managed to discover a great deal about the English and Scots branches of my family, I know much less about the Irish and Welsh branches which is a disappointment. It's hard to research in Ireland because so many records are missing, and my Welsh relatives have really popular names - you try finding one William Evans in Denby LOL

5) When I was a child I had some odd ideas about the past. For example, I thought that during the Dark Ages it actually was dark, and that the first half of the 20th century was black and white.

6) I have inherited a love of tomato soup from my grandfather, along with hair that has it's own ideas about how it should be styled.

7) When I was growing up, my family visited our neighbour, Mrs Holtom, for a glass of eggnog every Christmas Eve. Those occasions are the only times I have ever drunk eggnog, and I'm still not entirely sure I know what it is. Maybe, I should ask Google . . .

8) I often wonder what our ancestors would think of the internet. Looking at my own, there are a few I can imagine would have taken up blogging, because they did seem to be the sort of people who made a habit of recording their thoughts. From a modern perspective, it is a remarkable thing. Not only does it give us a wonderful range of research opportunities, it also gives us the chance to leave a record behind that could be found by our descendants - if any of mine come across my scribblings they might wonder what kind of person they are descended from LOL

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