Sunday 5 February 2017

5 in 5 - February 2017 - Getting to the root of it.....

Welcome to '5 in 5' where on the 5th of
each month I post 5 photos that I have
taken in 5 minutes.

The other day I received a unexpected email. It was from a lady in Shropshire who has just started to trace her family history and she wanted to know if we were related. I was excited to tell her that we are, and so a flurry of emails and photos has ensued over the past few days. We share the same great grand parents, so I guess this makes us second cousins.

Ten years ago I had another family member, Maureen, contact me. She gave me a wedding photo and wrote names next to some of the people
but I never sat down and really worked out how these people are connected. Until now. Caroline had asked questions which made me realise I have information but no understanding of how things fit together, and so it was time to get to the root of my family tree.

This is something I have been working on for many years, on and off.
I realised it is important to talk to relatives while I have the chance, and am sorry that I didn't ask my grandparents more
questions, because I know now that their stories are a loss. But I have written down memories told by my parents and family members and each family branch has a file, or two, with notes and records.  

I also have a collection of old family photos for each of the family branches. I am blessed that I knew all of my grandparents and had a close connection with them. Framed photos hang in the hall.

Great grandparents are more of a mystery. And since they had large families I get confused trying to work out which siblings belong to which family. Stories mingle and intertwine, so this week I started to organise the photos. I knew this album would come in useful! It has good strong pages and a cover that will be transformed.

I also have a collection of certificates. The information they hold is fascinating, and often raise new questions. Researchers often say that witnesses hold interesting information.  I do not know who William or Mary Ann Alice Brown are.  Friends of the married couple, maybe? I need to do more investigating, but I do know that William was unable to write and left a X as his mark.

However, it seems my grandfather was a 'very good' scholar, and that 'he should do useful work for an employer'!  He was nearly 14 years old when this was written and I expect this would soon be his calling.  

I have been lucky as Maureen gave me a pile of paperwork and records, copied from her extensive research over the years. Before the internet she spent many hours visiting record offices and libraries. I am very grateful for her sharing all this, I just need to slowly work my way through and make sense of it all.  These past few days I have been able to unravel a family mystery, and fill in a huge gap for a family I didn't know I had. How exciting!

Some months my photos are more spontaneous for 5in5 and I did plan to take photos when I go on a walk this morning. But I decided to organise my paperwork and use my family tree as a prompt instead. Initially I was going to take the photos in black and white or sepia. 'Adventures in Seeing' this week invite you to take photos in a different way, and I thought this would be fitting. But instead I will take black and white photos when I go out. I might be back to share these photos another time, but meanwhile if you fancy picking up your camera why not join in with 5in5? It could be lovely to have
your company!   

Here's what you do and there are more details here

1.  Choose a location.

2.  Have your camera ready.

3.  Set a timer for 5 minutes (I use my mobile phone).

4.  Take as many photos you can (or wish to) until the time is up.

5.  Choose 5 photos to download and share by using the link tool below.

                              You have until the 25th of the month to add your photos.

Thank you to those who took part in last months challenge: Melanie, Paula, Mary-Lou, Melissa, Karen, Susan and Borqna. It was lovely to see some new contributors, a big Welcome! If you don't have a blog you could take Susan's example and share on FaceBook instead. What a great idea! Either way, please add a link to this page so that others can come and see other 5in5 photos if they wish. I appreciate not everyone wants to join in with a photo challenge and that's okay because visitors are very welcome too! So thank you for popping by and feel welcome to leave a comment or your blog link. I will see you back here next month with another 5in5!


  1. Family is so important to keep up with & SO interesting as you discover tales & connections. An interesting 5 on the 5th.

  2. How exciting to have all this information and all these connections to unravel and fit together - like a puzzle! I always get a buzz seeing old photos and yours are no exception :). Wishing you lots of interest and fun as you join up the dots ...

  3. My goodness you have plenty to keep you busy there! I agree I so wish I remembered all the stories and details my Great Aunt told me. I now have her photo albums and struggle with some of the names.
    I have done quite a lot of work tracing my family but it is time consuming and at times it is tricky to confirm that you are on the right track. I had some newspaper cuttings from funerals. They were excellent. They documented who was at the funeral, their relationship to the deceased and what they did. So much detail! Good luck.

  4. It must be interesting to have the newspaper cuttings Maggie. I have often learnt a lot about a person at their funeral and often wish I'd known before so that I could ask about their interesting job or experience. I agree, cheering information is difficult and time consuming. I have a family mystery I have been trying to solve for years. Today I meant v that my grandfathers sister is still alive at 94 years old, and she would probably be able to solve this, but sadly she had dementia. She is last of that generation and the mystery might remain with her unless I am lucky enough to come across unexpected information.

    1. Obviously I don't know at what stage of dementia your great aunt is but sometimes people recall snippets from the past quite clearly. Would she possibly respond to photos and memorabilia and some carefully asked questions?
      I found a kind of family secret. I discovered that my great grandfather has started out life as a miner before becoming an insurance agent. Nothing wrong with that really but my father and my aunts would not believe it! The facts were on paper for all to see!

  5. I made a family tree when I was about ten, with everything I then knew. Now I know I would be able to do ore if I let myself be drawn into internet searching. I'd love to, but I think I'd be so fascinated I'd get obsessed! This is a lovely peek into your family history.

  6. Just yesterday my husband and I just had a conversation much like some your musings. He's the one immersed in genealogy, and is going through piles of papers he has accumulated from his family and mine. My parents have been gone for a long time, and like you, I wish I had asked better questions when I had a chance. Last year, a distant cousin sent him a link to an eBay posting. It turned out to be a photograph of his great-grandmother and the seller was just an hour away, so we made the trip and purchased it.

  7. I really enjoyed these photos showing your progress and work on family history - five great shots that reflect the varying pieces of historical documentation!


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