Just a Little Leaf on a big tree!

That sums up who I am in a single sentence. One leaf among the many who made me who I am.

I've been asked so many times what made me start searching for my family history. Everyone has a different reason to begin with. But everyone ends up with the same reasons for continuing. For me, it was the stories I had heard as a child; from listening to my parents and grandparents, from meeting grown-ups who incredibly were "my family" and whose lives held such fascination to me.

Then as an adult, I was finally able to make sense of some of that wonder, that fascination. The problem then was separating the facts from the stories. And there begins a pastime that has become almost an obsession. One that takes us up and down the country to go what we call "grave-crawling"; trying to find those elusive headstones that tell us slightly more than we know.

Most of all family history is fun; and leaves a lasting treasure for our grandchildren, even if they don't as yet realise it.

I began my search for my ancestors in 1995 when my daughter bought me a book on the subject. I'd always been fascinated by the stories told to me by my Grandparents about their parents, and I wanted to know more. Funny thing is, while I was at school, I hated history with a passion, after all, what does it matter that back in 1066 someone killed somebody else with an arrow at a battle in a place I've never been.

Now, history has a new meaning. Family history is about real people in a way kings and battles never could be to me. Knowing that these people who were your forebears struggled with poverty, illness, losing a child (or many), and still managed to work very long hours in order that someday in the future you might be here to tell their story makes history alive. It makes the search worthwhile.

All your ancestral lines back to 1650 could involve as many as eight to twelve generations of ancestors before you. If eight generations separate you from 1650, you could have had 256 ancestors living then. A gap of twelve generations could mean you had more than 4,000 ancestors living in 1650.
~~~Emily Anne Croom, "Unpuzzling Your Past"

If that doesn't make you think... what will?

My Grandparents, Parents and me
My Grandparents, Parents and me.