I’ve been looking back through my archives this evening, checking what prose and poetry I’d previously posted, and seeing what I’d written about this time last year and the year before. Well, last year I was out of the country, spending a wonderful month in Brunei, South-East Asia. I didn’t really ever post about this trip I realised later, by which time the moment had passed. The previous year, 2011, I posted three times: Hair Dying (and fading!), Grandma’s Dressing Up Box, and Family history. It’s this last post I want to focus on now.
Since then I’ve had two years to find out even more interesting bits and pieces! Especially since graduating, I’ve had more time to research and scan things. We found more photos at Grandma’s house. Of her childhood. Her dancing. Her boyfriends….:P Because everyone has a scrapbook of boyfriends don’t they?! Not that I’d know. It’s her dance photos I really love. She just looks so elegant, so graceful, so beautiful. She inspired me to tackle my pointe work, especially after finding this photo. I wanted to look like her. I will probably never use my pointe work for ballet, as such, more for belly dance fusion….but I can still dream. And to find an amazing photo of my Grandfather Gideon as well…it made me really love my dance even more!
But back to my research…and I’ve managed to go back a few more generations to my Great-Great-Great Grandparents! I don’t know much about them as yet, but I know they were called Richard and Jane Jones (my middle name is Jane!), and they lived in Staffordshire. One of their daughters, Amelia, moved to Canada with her husband and children, and their descendants now live in America. I managed to contact them, and fill in the gaps…both in my research and, personally, in my family. It still seems slightly surreal that I have distant cousins in the States! Amazingly, Grandma has had a brooch all these years with a photo on the back of Amelia and Jane. She never knew exactly who they were, and now we do. She gave me the brooch for my Graduation. I don’t think she quite realised how much that meant to me.
As a result of another treasure trove of finds, this time letters…I’ve recently contacted another branch of our family that headed across the pond. I took a chance that a lady would still be living in her house, 30 years after her last letter. A couple of months passed without a reply, and I had more or less given up. Then a letter arrived from Pennsylvania. I have to admit I was ever so slightly excited 😛 As was Grandma! A lovely newsy letter from a 92 year old lady who was delighted to hear from me. I haven’t quite worked out how she is related to me…but I have my ideas. It’s so exciting!
I’ve also taken a few trips to our local library to use their free access to Ancestry.com. This means I can view full census records, and see all the little interesting bits and pieces that I’m not entitled to without paying at home. This allowed me to make some headway on my Maternal Grandfather’s family. Gideon died in 1960, and his parents soon after. He had a sister but she had died very young, so there really was no-one I could ask. So I turned to online records. First, I wanted to find out about the sister, who we knew was called Megan. I searched and searched and searched for a Megan Woodfield, born in the 1920s, dying in the 30s or 40s…probably in Enfield…but nothing. I couldn’t find anything that was remotely correct. Not even with Megan as a middle name. So I gave up. Then one evening I was bored so started trawling all Woodfields born in the 20s to an Albert Woordfield. Suddenly one record stuck out. Vera B Woodfield, Mother: Bourne, born: Enfield. Died 1928, Enfield. So, Megan is actually Vera! I wonder who Megan is then…
So what now? Well, to finalise how the other American cousins fit in. To follow back Gideon’s family further, as my current research I feel may be wrong. Especially that pertaining to his mother. She is very difficult to track down! I also still want to go to Bushbury and Wolverhampton to see where my Grandma’s family lived. And where some of them are buried. That should be an interesting trip 🙂
‘”Every man is an omnibus in which his ancestors ride.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes