Wet winter days also offers me the opportunity to work on my family tree. I started researching my ancestry some 5 years ago; I was encouraged to do it by a friend who has been researching his own tree for many years and who has also given me much assistance in the task. I have been very successful in research on my Fathers side and have gone back into the 16th century and much of what I have discovered I consider as very remarkable.
If we are lucky we might possess some object that has been passed down through the family perhaps for generations. If we are really fortunate this item may be of some considerable monetary value the kind of items you will see on Antiques Road show or the popular midday programme ‘Flog it’. But it’s a fact we all possess air looms passed down to us from our ancestors by the means of DNA that are far more valuable than any treasure in the attic. I have discovered more about myself by researching the past than I could imagine. It is my belief that we are constructed through time and a series of building blocks through our DNA and this process is even more important to us than any form of education we could receive.
I have studied my own personality and compared it to what I know of the life of my ancestors and my findings very much mirrors how I see myself. I can consider my self a piece loving non aggressive person, looking back through my past ancestors I have found no evidence to suggest any difference, no law breakers, none have followed a military career and even though my Father, grandfather and Great Grandfathers have served the country in wartime none have showed signs of extreme courage but chose rather to keep there heads down and get through it the best way that they could which has been my philosophy throughout life, however at the same time I will not shy away from speaking out against what I believe wrong or when necessary lead by example. Throughout life I have been a socialist and coming from a long line of railwaymen it is no surprise that I have been a believer in the trade union movement and the right to withdraw your labour if all other forms of negotiation fail. I am very proud of my long line of forebears who were very much involved in the industrial revolution. I have a great grandmother who was brought up on a working canal barge, I can trace my family right back to the start of the Railway age and many of my family were involved in the Lace industry that was very dominant in the building of both the economy of both Nottingham and Long Eaton where most of my ancestors in the 20 century came from.
I have moved about through out my life, from Long Eaton to Beeston, then back to Long Eaton, then to Derby and finally to Skegness. Looking back to my ancestors I see many similarity’s in there lives. My early ancestors come from rural communities like Shepshead and Whymeswold in Leicestershire and Gotham in Nottinghamshire working very much in agriculture until the start of the industrial revolution opened up opportunities of better paid work in Cities like Nottingham and towns like Long Eaton. Have you ever wondered what has drawn you to a certain area to live, could our ancestors have anything to do with this? Strange that the first house I purchased in Long Eaton was more or less across the street from where my great great grandfather lived and where my great grandmother was born, a fact I only discovered through my recent research and why do I feel most at home near water, could that have any bearing to my ancestors who lived and worked on the canals.
Another interesting comparison between my own life and that of my ancestors is the fact that religion has caused considerable conflict and hardship. I have discovered that one of my ancestors had to escape from France because of his protestant beliefs at the time of the Roman Catholic persecution of Protestants in France; my ancestor was a French Huguenot and was lucky to have escaped from France to join many of his own kind to start a new life in London. My great grandmother fell in love and married a railwayman who also happened to be a member of a Methodist church which caused conflict of interests with is future high church minded father in law who decided that my grandmother was marrying below herself and immediately cut his own daughter from his family and in my own life religion was partly to blame for the break up of my first marriage.
Whether we accept it or not we are very much linked with our ancestors and there attitudes to life and much more. I have always had a love of music which I am sure I got from my father and in turn from his Father. My grandfather was very keen on the brass band movement of the early part of the last century, I remember being taken at a very early age to listen to Brass Bands in our local park and I have been told that I was regularly took by my grandparents whilst in my pram. My grandparents used to have a railwayman lodging with them in the war that happened also to play in the Long Eaton Silver Prize Band so it’s no wonder that I passionately love the brass band music even to this day.
The pastime of tracing your family tree can be both rewarding and illuminating because it is my belief that to discover who you are you must understand where you come from. Many of the habits and the way we react or think we often link back to our parents but if you were to delve a further back I’m sure you will discover even more similarities.