My Family History

I watched a TV show yesterday called Ancestors in the Attic where a man who had never met his deceased  birth father eventually traced the family back to Japan thereby meeting an entire side of his family he didn’t even know existed.  It got me thinking how lucky I am:  I come from a very large family -most of whom I’ve met – that is now spread throughout the globe.  But my ancestry is very interesting indeed.

1929 Aunties Marg, Alberta, Ida & my Mom, baby Nellie

On my mother’s side of the family, our heritage has been traced back as far as 1730 and on my father’s side to the year 1693!  I can take no credit for this amazing discovery of my past:  my cousin Glenn traced our maternal family history in celebration of my Grandmother’s 100th birthday.  His discovery through Family Search matched the oral history which had been handed down to me!  I recall that my some of my ancestors were United Empire Loyalists who came to Canada via their eviction from America for being loyal to the British Crown around 1775.  It seems that my grandparents’ families were “land locked” in a town on the east coast, before road access, for several hundred years, therefore it appears that I am related to nearly everybody who ever lived in or near that small town!   Both sides of my family share some of the same last names too.   My Grandmother’s Grandfather was a native Canadian and my Grandfather’s Greatx5 Grandfather was a Colonel to General Wolfe  at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham in 1759!  Most of my ancestors are buried in several church graveyards in that small maritime town.  Many of these relatives lived long lives through hard times.  Some of the common names over the last 275 years include Ellen (year 1992, 1929, 1842), John (year 1878, 1833, 1825, 1790, 1753, 1730) , William (year 1924, 1875, 1821, 1825),  and Sarah (year 1904, 1871, 1821, 1786).   They are said to be originally from Jersey in the Channel Islands, Holland, and Germany.

My paternal British cousin Graham traced our family history while looking for his birth father’s burial place in Canada.  This is an interesting story:  Our Dads were brothers and he’d lost touch with his Father when he was very young.  But our Moms always stayed in touch over the years even though they lived on different continents.  So I had the opportunity to finally meet my cousin and my Auntie when I travelled to England in 1977.  Then thirty-two years passed and I lost touch with them (my Aunt passed away- my mail returned) until I got a phone call one afternoon in 2009, from England from my long, lost cousin Graham!  I was so thrilled and relieved that I had been re-connected!  That same year, my sisters and I discovered that our Dad’s only living sister lived about an hour away from me!  We made the trek to see her and found out that we had many cousins we didn’t even know existed!  Our Aunt gave us further information about the family as well.  Graham and his wife Valerie came over from England to visit me in 2010.  I had known very little about my Dad’s side of the family until Graham did his research.  That side of the family came from Neilston, Renfrewshire, Scotland and came over to Canada in the early 1800s.  It appears that ‘they’ spent the next 140 years in the same small town.   Popular names on my Dad’s side of the family include John (1693, 1800, 1843, 1863, 1880, 1914) and Elizabeth (1748, 1774, 1811, 1951).

It was incredible for me to stroll with my daughter Kristi,  through the cemetaries down home a few years ago, as it  provided so much history and a connection to our family so long ago.  I’ve always been interested in where I ‘came’ from and all those that came before me.  I think about what life must have been like for my family members in the 1940s, 1880s, 1820s, and 1750s.   Some of my relatives have graciously shared old family photos in their possession online for the rest of us to see.  What a treasure!   When I asked my 95 year old Grandmother how many decendants that she ‘begat’, she listed all the numbers for her grandchildren, great grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren and assured me that she knew everyone’s name -well over 100!  I believe that in order to know where you are going in this life, it helps to know where you’ve come from.   Even though the only family I have nearby are my children and grandchildren, I feel connected to all my relatives who live far away.

I have 19 Aunts and Uncles (several now deceased) and 67 first cousins, most of them having families of their own.   My two sisters and I have 11 children and 3 grandchildren (and growing)  between us, to carry on.  I  keep my family history in two Family History books as a my life’s gift for my children, grandchildren, other interested family members,  and all the generations yet to come, so they may have a sense of personal history.

My Family History Books



2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Glenn
    Feb 22, 2012 @ 17:50:33

    It is interesting to search but time is our worse enemy. Glenn


  2. Betty
    Feb 22, 2012 @ 20:40:58

    That is most beautiful…. We’ll have to talk at great length about this!!… Thank you SOOOO… much for sharing this!!…. I will say this once again…. You are truly a great writer… Love you…xo


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