Several years ago I undertook a project, entitled 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, organised by Amy Johnson Crow. This was a useful exercise as it gave me the incentive to write in this blog about a different ancestor each week. I used the information collected over the years about an ancestor, starting with the twelve convicts in my family and then progressing through the family tree to my grandparents. I also included a few stories about direct family members who remained in the United Kingdom, when I had information.
How was this exercise useful? Well it allowed me to use the information that I had to write a story. Some stories were detailed. Some only contained limited information. This process showed where additional was required but, more importantly, it showed the value of the information I had collected over the years allowing me to tell the family story.
This year Amy has issued another 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge where each week she provides a prompt to encourage you to write something relating to your family story. We shall see how it goes. The prompt for week one is Start which can be taken anyway you want. In this post I write about how my interest in family history began.
How did my interest in family history start? I was lucky to be able to spend the summer holidays on my grandparents' farm, Rosemount, in Queensland and one year I overheard a conversation about an ancestor, Simeon Lord, who had been a merchant in the early days of the settlement at Sydney Cove. The conversation was short as I later discovered that my grandmother was not impressed that my grandfather's ancestor was a convict.
Back in Melbourne, one of the teachers from the primary school I had attended heard about our connection with Simeon and told us he had written a paper about Simeon for a genealogical society meeting. I guess this made me think that Simeon had been important so I began looking out for information about him in any books on Australian history that I came across. By the time I was seventeen I started to seriously begin investigating my family history starting, of course, with Simeon. My father also researched and wrote about Simeon and I have a small suitcase containing the copious notes that he wrote.
Dad thought that it was great to have a convict in the family and a few years before he died, Dad discovered that he also had a convict ancestor, Uriah Moses. We have a photo of Dad standing next to the Moses family, vault including Uriah's grave, at St Matthew's Anglican Church, Windsor, New South Wales.
I have now discovered twelve convicts in the family - eight on Dad's side and four on my mother's side of the family.
My grandmother also told stories of her family connections in India in the nineteenth century but as we, when children, were forced to listen to the stories we did not take much notice, though I remembered some of the names. Of course, now I wish that I had paid more attention.
Family history research has become a passion and I enjoy the thrill of making a new discovery, big or small. My husband is now also researching his family history so family history research has become a family affair.