'I'm always looking for the Hows and the Whys and the Whats,' said Muskrat, 'That is why I speak as I do. You've heard of Muskrat's Much-in-Little, of course?'
'No,' said the child. 'What is it?'
- The Mouse and his Child. Russell Hoban.

Go here to find out more.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Yesterday I discovered records on the internet about a branch of my family going back to the early 1500's.  I now have information about my great( x 11) grandfather... and all the fathers between him and my own grandfather Eddie who died before I was born.  

With the exception of my own grandfather, they all lived out their lives within a few miles of Bristol, marrying women within a few miles of their own homes.  Yeomen, tenant farmers, publicans, cobblers, and coal miners.  Eleven generations, until along came the industrial revolution, and England grew wealthy and built ships and trained armies and  my Grandfather Eddie ended up far from Bristol in a military hospital in China where he fell in love with and married a White Russian emigrĂ© and took her back to England with him.

Their first child was my mother.  Her first daughter was me.  My first daughter turns eighteen tomorrow.

Somehow this seems very momentous.  And in another way, it's just another day.  

Life, if we are lucky, goes on.  

But if any one of those eleven men and their wives, and all the people living in Russia that were required to create my Baboushka, and all the people in London that had to live long enough to marry and breed and produce the line leading to my Nanna and Poppa on my father's side, hadn't survived long enough to have the next child down the chain, I wouldn't exist.  

And likewise for my children's father...

Makes you think, don't it?

Happy Birthday for tomorrow darling girl!  You are the amazingly special product of a long line of lucky chances.


  1. And everything is as it should be. Life is grand, isn't it?... a very Happy Birthday to your daughter and to you too Katherine!

  2. Isn't it good to be part of the human chain - linked to past and future through our families - ancestors and unborn descendants... Happy Birthday to your lovely daughter...whatever her name is. Aren't most girls in NZ called Sheila or is that Australia?

  3. Thank you Lori, YP. "A sheila" is a colloquial term for any female in either country. As in 'Ask the sheilas if they've made any sausage rolls for half-time, will ya?'

  4. Wow you went all the way back to the 1500s, that is fantastic. I will have to check the dates on what has been found in my family, I really don't know how far the records we have goes back, but I think not as far as you have there. It truly *does* make you think! Happy Birthday to your Daughter!

    Sistertex's latest Blog Entry:
    'ABC Wednesday - 'I'

  5. I've never had any luck with internet ancestry sites so for you to get all that info going back to 3pm was awesome.

    Ok to be serious, could you post the site in question as I'd like to find a few ancestors of my own !?

  6. It does make you think. What an adorable picture! Happy Birthday to your daughter!

  7. In that context, is the term "sausage roll" used metaphorically? Also are you a sheila? I thought you were called Katherine. I just don't get it.

  8. Sis 'n Juliet - Thanks for your birthday wishes!
    Ian - Hah ha 1500 not 1500 hrs... I'll see if I can hunt the site up again for you. Believe it or not, I stumbled on it, and it was not a subscription site.
    YP. I'm not with you. Definitely not with you.

  9. Ian: http://www.ancestry.com/
    But I got in the 'back door' because I happened on the specific page by typing in my relative's name...

  10. and a very happy birthday from us as well! :-)

    btw, kudos on the family tree research.

    thank you.


  11. Anonymous21.3.09

    What a lovely reflective post!

    I'm so glad you found your ancestors on the internet - I've come to a brick wall with mine, but I'm almost ready to jump back into the fray!

    Like yours, mine were mostly yeomen, farmers and publicans, but no coalminers. We have butchers and shopkeepers instead! No coal mines in Norfolk!

    And there's rumour of a Polish connection, not that anyone can find it!

    Happy birthday to your daughter!

  12. Thank you sUNnY and Jay - But I really cannot claim the ancestor-hunting was hard - I just clicked on a google search and there it all was, unrolling before my eyes. I think the kudos should go to the person who did all the research... someone like you Jay!

  13. Hi! I got smitten by the ancestry bug too, but was more interested in the relatives I unearthed that were still alive, and that I never knew existed! Instant Family Tree Branches!

  14. I'm a day late, but I'd like to add my own "Happy Birthday" greetings to your daughter. My birthday was the 18th and my grandfather's birthday would have been the 21st (he died in 1970 at the age of 95 and I still miss him), so we have your daughter well-guarded.

    What a good post!

  15. Yes, Jinksy, I think the older I get, the more the past has meaning to me... And concurrent blood ties.

    Robert, thank you. And a belated MHR to you too!


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