If photographs are anything to go by, life in the East End of London for my parents did not include holidays. It seems that hop picking and bus trips were a more frugal substitute. On the back of one of the photos Mum had written, "On a charrabank" I had no idea what she meant......but I do now!
With any family history research there will be times when the only records you have are a list of dates, names and places. Hardly the material need for a story that will encourage your family to feel connected with. The sort of connection that Theophilus Adcock provided! Without records we must fall back on what we do know. Oral stories, photographs, intuition & assumptions all have their place in a writers imagination. Trust yourself and write from your heart.
From the archives of my mother's memory bank our family history includes hop picking in Kent in the 1950's. She gave me two photographs of her sisters family and filled in the gaps in her own unique way. Thankfully other family historians have brought this part of my family history to life. To them I offer my thanks, should they ever stumble across this post!
When I was first introduced to the world of "Sociology" I read about the "Law of Unintended Consequences" At the time I remember thinking that (like a lot of sociology) it spent a lot of time explaining the obvious. I put it down to the fact that I was a "mature" student so perhaps I was biased! Put simply unintended consequences are outcomes that are not the ones foreseen or intended by a purposeful action.
The transition from one boat to another followed by a long train ride to a short bus trip doesn't appear to have left me with any lasting memories. I can only assume that as my parents and sister were close by I had nothing to worry about! It's only as an adult I realise that an unknown destination that was referred to as a "Transit Camp" was anything but encouraging.
The dictionary tells me I am a genealogist because I am person who traces or studies lines of family descent. But, like many others who have surrounded themselves with dates, names, records, photos and dog eared scraps of paper, we are so much more! When your are a family historian the emphasis is always on the word, "family". Medically we are connected by our DNA. But it is the life stories we uncover that makes a real family!
If I had to pick one thing from my memories of the 1950's it would have to be going to the cinema on a Saturday morning. Watching a movie was only a small part of the whole experience if you were in the ABC club! There were badges, prizes and freebies and of course there was "The ABC Minors Song" . You may find it hard to believe but 65 years later I can still remember the words!
I began my family tree with the clear aim of recording my place in time. I also wanted my children to know their place in a history that began 12,000 miles from where they were born. Unexpectedly, I seem to have lost my name! The name of my childhood; a name that identified me as the child of my parents; a name I shared with my sister.
When I read the family histories of other researchers there is one thing I miss more than any other. Letters! A "Love Letter For Jimmy" was written for my brother by those who cared for him in his final days. It is the only letter from the past I have. I can not change the past but I can look to the future and leave my words. A eulogy for mother is a letter I wrote about the past. It is a letter I leave behind for the future.
At one level my ancestry search began with a birth certificate and 3 marriage certificates. Not surprisingly, the realisation that I was the only one in the "family" who held the stories of the past shocked me into realising that I was "it". If the stories from my mother in the London Blitz, my Grand father working in a steel mill and the family myth that was spoken of with a nod and a wink were to survive I would have to speak up!