The Fun Part of Genealogy

We are forever grateful for many members of our family who have spent untold hours finding and documenting the lives of our ancestors! I (Linda) always thought that we would be doing a lot of that kind of research when we got old. Yikes!  Guess what?  We’re getting kind of old and I must admit that we haven’t spent much time in the family history library.

However, those good researchers have made it so much easier for us to do what we not only love, but do best when it comes to genealogy as we have been seeking to find the real-life stories that go with those names and dates. In addition we are truly blessed to be able to travel to some of the places where our ancestors lived and loved, struggled and sacrificed.

There’s something about standing in the very places where these beloved people lived and worked, gave birth, lived with courage and integrity and died that makes genealogy a superlative experience!

On my birthday weekend this year, I was in London for the BBS Conference for our granddaughter Lucy’s rare syndrome (you can read more about that here. On my actual birthday I was overjoyed to be with two of our daughters Shawni (Lucy’s mom) and Saydi, who lives in London just half an hour away from where my great great grandmother Elizabeth Gower was born and raised in a little town called Little Baddow in Essex. There we found a 99-acre-wood full of gorgeous bluebells which only bloom two weeks every year. It was pretty much heaven to walk among the bluebells and little forest that she would surely have experienced in her lifetime.

How I wondered what that grandmother would have thought if she could see us now!  Did she realized that she was building a framework for us for us as she struggled with life and lived with courage and integrity.

Next we went to Colchester where Elizabeth’s husband Daniel Clark lived as well as his his father and his father and his father. We are sure that one of the Daniel Clarks married Hannah Hill in this old church below. We had Saydi’s kids stand at the door and hold hands as though they had just been married. Charlie wasn’t exactly delighted but Hazel thought it was all very romantic!

Two weeks ago Richard and I had the thrilling privilege of visiting the school in Osby, Sweden where his Great Grandfather Swen Swenson was the School Master. Although Richard had been there before with his mother and two of our daughters, it was my first time to see this cute little school. What joy to stand in this spot and contemplate the fact that seven of their children were born in their living quarters at one end of the school!

Swen’s wife Thilda helped support the family with her fine sewing and needlework skills. The Osby town historian whose father miraculously happened to be a student of Swen kindly escorted us to this site, as well as an old abandoned house where he knew Swen and Thilda had lived. Imagine my joy in finding what we think must have been Thilda’s old sewing machine and disintegrated pin cushion upstairs in the attic where they had lived. I was overjoyed to find a needle still embedded in the cushion (which I now have among my treasures).

How thrilling it was to have this added insight to the lives of these ancestors whose blood runs in our veins and who are part of making us who we are.  As far as we’re concerned, that’s what makes genealogy exciting and fun!

2 comments

  1. Anne Bradshaw

    Thank you for sharing this, Linda. I really enjoyed the read and the pictures. Bluebells in the woods were one of my favorite things growing up in England. Can’t beat that glorious, hazy blue carpet in springtime.

  2. Mariann Regan

    This beautiful essay just radiates with love and excitement. It was a pleasure to read. You are right, this is the fun part of genealogy and also the meaningful part of history! If schools would teach history through family history, students could learn so much more. Your pictures are wonderful. The spread of bluebells that you shared with your great great grandmother now have a permanent place in my memory bank. Thank you.

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