Throughout this year and for a period last year I got really interested in finding out about my family history, I was curious about all those that came before me, who they were and how they lived their lives. I wanted to know everything I could about both sides of my family, and I wanted to see how far back in time I could go.
I have always had a keen interest in history, even something as simple as seeing an old black and white photo is enough to spur my interest and to make me want to know more. Times have changed and they continue to do so, people lived differently back then and in 100 years they’ll be able to see how different we lived.There are people who lived through WWII that also lived though the dawn of the new millennium and the age of technology, what a wonder that would have been.
After I gathered as much information as I could from my parents I set out to rely on the hints thrown at me by Ancestry.co.uk. It was gratifying when names and dates matched, that reassured me what I was on the right track. I found war records, I found a photo of my Great-Grandfather taking part in the Jarrow Crusade*, I found evidence that one of my relatives died at sea following a torpedo attack in 1942, and I found some WWI enlistment forms.
Just to see their handwriting on documents and their names wrote in beautiful cursive on old census logs is fascinating. I hope to uncover more information as I get further back in history, it can just be fairly difficult with a common surname.
The most interesting thing I’ve found so far is a record of my Great-Grandfather on the United Grand Lodge of England Freemason Membership Register. This caught my attention instantly, and I’m currently in the middle of trying to verify the information by matching records and doing my own independent research. I’m hoping to have more answers soon.
The next task I’ve set myself is to see how far back I can go, it doesn’t matter which line goes the furthest back, but I wan’t to see where my family came from, whether it was this country or another… and how it got me to where I am today. I’m also hoping to do the ancestry DNA test at some point, if and when I do i’ll be sure to share the results.
Has anyone had any luck with DNA tests, or tracing their linage? Drop me an email with your story through my contact page.
(* The Jarrow Crusade was an organised protest against the unemployment and poverty suffered in the English Tyneside town of Jarrow during the 1930s. Around 200 men marched from Jarrow to London, carrying a petition to the British government requesting the re-establishment of industry in the town following the closure in 1934 of its main employer, Palmer’s shipyard. The petition was received by the House of Commons but not debated, and the march produced few immediate results. The Jarrovians went home believing that they had failed. Despite the initial sense of failure among the marchers, in subsequent years, the Jarrow March became recognised by historians as a defining event of the 1930s. It helped to foster the change in attitudes which prepared the way to social reform measures after WWII.)