I spent the day with my mum today. I love spending time with her. She’s pretty awesome and full to the brim with
wisdom. She listens to all my moans and groans and rarely tells me off for it, even though I can sometimes see that she thinks I’m bonkers. Occasionally I see the corners of her mouth twitch but she manages to give me advice without making me feel like an idiot. That’s a special skill, that is. We have fun together going out for lunch, digging around in old book shops and wandering around Superdrug deciding which hair-dye to buy to cover the sprouting roots and which magical potions will actually make our faces smoother! Today we got our ears pierced again just ‘cos we could. I love her to the moon and back. I can’t imagine life without her or my dad. For the record and so no-one gets confused, he’s my stepdad. He chose the role of dad when he married mum and took me and my brother on too and that’s who he’s been ever since I was knee-high to a grasshopper so as far as I’m concerned he’s earned the name DAD a gazillion times over. If I ever refer here to my actual father, I shall call him Bio…. as in biological :), so as not to confuddle the two.
I recently got into researching my family tree. It’s quite addictive. I joined ancestry.co.uk and within the two week free trial I’d got back to 257AD. WhatTheFlip? I know! Crazy isn’t it? I had to join up for reals.
It got exciting when I got back to the 1600’s and started noticing an Earl here and a Duchess there. Then it got even more exciting when I came across Lady Godiva. According to the info collected from records and other trees on the site, she’s my 26th great grandmother. For those of you who don’t know, she’s the one who rode naked on the back of a horse through Coventry because her husband agreed to lower the taxes for the people if she did it. So she did! What a woman!
I watched my tree quickly branch out and find royalty. Ha! I bloody knew it. I always said there was blue blood in our veins.
Britain only started keeping official records in the 1500’s so unless your tree veers off into nobility, it’s gonna be tricky to go back further. It was during King Henry VIII’s reign that his Vicar General, Thomas Cromwell declared that all marriages, baptisms and burials must be recorded. That was in 1538. Having said that, I did manage to get my dad’s tree back to the early 1300’s and he doesn’t appear to have any nobility in his tree.
So as I followed my tree back, we veered off into France then Denmark and Norway. Once you hit nobility or royalty, it’s not too hard to find the ancestry because they kept a who’s who and a who’s the daddy! (and mummy). I got such a buzz when I found that the line had someone called Hroar Hraerek Beowolf Halfdansson Elfhere Denmark born 526. Hello? Beowolf? Didn’t they make a film about him? Why yes! Yes they did. They made a film based on the epic poem (look up the Nowell Codex) written about a bloke called Beowulf (There were no hard and fast rules for spelling back then. It was a case of spell it how you think it sounds) who, apparently, just happens to be my 46th great grandfather. Come again?! Obviously the poem held a lot of artistic license because as much as I like dragons and monsters, it’s probably a safe bet to say that he didn’t ACTUALLY slay an evil monster called Grendel and then it’s mother and then 50 years later slay a dragon. I’d love it if he did though. That would be AWESOME! He was a real person so who knows what he really did do to inspire some bloke, sometime in the 3 to 6 centuries after his death, to write a 3182 lines long poem? What stories there must have been about him! The things you do when there’s no telly!
When I go and check out the branch that stems backwards from Beowolfs’ daughter-in-law Princess Hildis, she was from the Vandals of Africa. The Vandals were a family to be reckoned with. They did a lot of invading and I imagine a fair bit of raping and pillaging and it’s where the word ‘vandalise’ comes from. It seems they spread far and wide. When I follow the line back it goes as far as the Roman Empire in Constantinople, Turkey. I think once you find one lot of royals, it makes sense that you’d find more because obviously they’d marry other royals or nobles. So imagine my glee when I found that I have at least 3 Roman Emperors and a couple of Empresses AND 2 Saints to call family! Kiss me feet, peasants! Hahaha Nuts!
The thing is, those are all fun discoveries and definitely have bragging rights… but it’s finding out about the closer relatives that feels really good. There’s something about knowing where your roots are that’s comforting. I discovered that I’m a 16th generation Sussex girl and a 13th generation hometown girl. It’s in my blood. I belong here. That’s why I could never leave home to move to another part of the country. I’d leave it to go and live somewhere hot and sunny but you’ll not catch me moving north!
Mum and I went grave hunting over the Easter bank holiday. We found my mums’ grandparents grave very close to where my parents live. We’re going to go and dig up the weeds and plant something nice, tart it up a bit, make it look a bit loved. I think Ada and George would like that. The other nice fact we found from the census records is that mums’ grandma lived in a house where mums church is now situated. The houses were torn down at some point and warehouses were built on that site. One was eventually turned into the church building and it’s right on the spot where her grandma lived. It’s sad that the house is no longer there for us to see but it’s pretty cool that the church is there instead. God is up there having a chuckle methinks.
Kalamity K 🙂