I was recently honoured by not one but two Ancestor Approved awards. Both Linda from Documenting the Details and Joy from Tomorrow’s Memories were kind enough to acknowledge my blog. Recipients of this award (which originated at Ancestors Live Here) are to list ten things they have learned about any of their ancestors that have surprised, humbled or enlightened them. Award recipients are also to pass the award along to ten other bloggers who they feel are doing their ancestors proud.
I have finally completed my list, but it will take somewhat longer to come up with ten blogs, as many have already received this award. So, without further ado, I present my list:
1. I think one of the things that has surprised me the most is the fact I have had an easier time tracing many of the women in my tree rather than the men. When I started researching, I assumed it would be easier to track the men since they tend to lead more “public” lives. That has not held true in all cases.
2. I am humbled by those same women. Many of my ancestors had very large families of 10 or 12 children. I am struggling to manage with two and I am in awe of how they managed to not only birth that many children but, in some cases, move to a new country with them and raise them in ‘the bush’.
3. I have found it enlightening and somewhat surprising just how much travelling my ancestors did. I had a vision of a one-way trip to Canada, finding a home and then staying there. Many of my ancestors moved around a lot more than that, either within the province they emigrated to or across the border to the US and back.
4. I was surprised to discover that many of those in my father’s mother’s family were actually quite well-to-do. Most of the family I have uncovered in my other three branches were farmers or servants or workers of some sort. Through some of my grandmother’s papers and with some digging, I have discovered prosperous traders in London, wealthy farmers in Norfolk and even a story about an invitation to tea with Queen Victoria.
5. I was surprised to find that one of my great-great grandfathers was married three times. All of his wives were named Mary.
6. I am not exactly surprised, but definitely intrigued, that many of the stories that were passed down about my ancestors have turned out to have an element of truth to them.
7. I have found it enlightening to discover how similar we are to those who went before us. Often professions have travelled down family lines or you can see where someone’s mechanical prowess, for example, came from. It’s also interesting to see old pictures and note the similarities to those living today. (My younger child is the spitting image of my grandmother at the same age.)
8. I am humbled by the thought of how many ‘coincidences’ and twists of fate had to take place for ‘this person’ to meet ‘that person’ and marry and have children and eventually lead all the way to me. It’s really rather remarkable watching that dance through time and space.
9. As a relatively recent parent, I am humbled by how many of my ancestors lost children and yet carried on. Some of them lost several in a short time span and while mere dates and names can’t tell of the pain of the loss, I can only assume they possessed great strength in continuing on. The loss of a child was perhaps more common in those times, but I can’t imagine it was any less difficult.
10. I am surprised – though not very – at how much fun it is to go digging through history to see what I can turn up next!