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Auntie Ridie (or was it Auntie Nellie who lived in one of the old people’s bungalows on Cadaw Avenue?)

Uncle Ron and Aunt Win on Montague Road

Aunt Florrie on Henry Street

Arthur and his wife whose name began with “M” on Ruffs Estate

 I knew them all when I was a kid.  But it’s a matter of some frustration to me now that I haven’t a clue where they fitted into our wider family.

Were some of them cousins of my mam? Or brothers and sisters or cousins of my grandma and grandad?

And there’s no-one left now to ask.  Perhaps I’m the only person alive who remembers them, albeit for some as little more than names.

Their lives are passed and when I’m gone so too will be their memory.  It’ll be as though they’d never lived.

It’s seductive to believe in an afterlife when I could stand in front of that proud and huge tree of my ancestry and see with total clarity their and my place on it.  And more importantly still, that our lives can still mean something to each other.




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Stephen Gospage

Fri 24th Nov 2023 10:58

I sincerely hope so, John, but who knows?

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John Coopey

Wed 22nd Nov 2023 17:33

I can imagine the process was both rewarding to yourself and at the same time a tribute to those who had gone before. Thankyou, MC.

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M.C. Newberry

Wed 22nd Nov 2023 16:46

JC - my personal incentive (my mother spoke very little of her own family) was a set of old handwritten notes found in Mum's
belongings on her passing - that indicated intriguing links
with the past. She was born in 1902 and was a teenage girl
when elder brother Ernest was killed in 1916 on the Western
Front while serving with The Rifle Brigade. She was the
youngest of a large family and I pondered just what trauma this loss had on her.. Debrett didn't come cheap but they
were the recognised authority in their field and I decided
to order a family history in stages, as and when my pocket could afford it. It seemed a fitting tribute to my mother and
all that she had undergone herself in a long life, not least the
fact that I - like her - was the youngest ...of her own large family.
The exercise has thrown up some interesting stuff along the
way, including the previously unknown fact that my late
father's first cousin - a military lawyer - was one of the victims
of Michael Collins' gunmen during the original "Bloody Sunday" killings of Crown personnel in Dublin on Nov. 20,
1920. This discovery enabled me to correct various accounts
of that event, a small but very satisfying offshoot of the

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John Coopey

Wed 22nd Nov 2023 09:31

Thankyou, MC and Stephen.
I used Ancestry, MC, a little while ago but didn’t find it as helpful as I’d hoped. I presume those cards are from relatives still alive, Stephen?

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Stephen Gospage

Wed 22nd Nov 2023 08:27

Thanks, John. I still get Christmas cards from relatives that I vaguely know but can't quite place.

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M.C. Newberry

Tue 21st Nov 2023 22:06

A fascinating, endlessly involving subject, especially when there
were second or third marriages along the way that added extra
names to the puzzle. Debrett, my own source of family history,
put some of those my way,,,now charted for posterity in an
often unfamilair extended family tree going back over the
centuries and embracing assorted occupations,and places across England in the process. Getting accuracy involves painstaking corroborated sources and is a test of both patience and pocket., mainly because the further back you go the less
precise genealogical records become.
But it's so worthwhile to bring alive on paper the existences
of those who went before, even better when images are also
available to put faces to names.

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