Family History

I’ve been researching my family history, on and off, since 1988. Before that, I’d always been interested in my grandmother’s stories of “le Capitaine Voisard”, but somehow there were always things that weren’t spoken aloud.

The history is of a family originating from northern France,  southern England and Eastern Europe, stretching back to the late-sixteenth century through wars, epidemics and both bloody and industrial revolutions.

On my journey, I have uncovered extra-marital scandals, written biographies, documented my father’s involvement with 615 Squadron during the war, and researched the tragic events that occurred in Hyde Park on Christmas Day, 1835. I’ve found distant cousins and re-established contact with relations lost to us for many years.

I wonder, when the census enumerators came calling so many years ago, whether any of our ancestors stopped to imagine that their descendants would be so fascinated by what they told him?

Genealogy is often criticised for looking backwards and for dwelling in, and sometimes revealing, a past that is, at best, irrelevant and, at worst, uncomfortable.

But I disagree – our ancestry tells us who we are, it defines us and it immortalises us. Wouldn’t it be great if someone, long after we are gone, reads research like this and learns about us and those who came before us?