Hello Cousin!

COUSINSIt had all started with my Grandmother. She died a long while before I was born.

I had simply wanted to know a little more about her and had not intended to set out on an almost thirty year quest into my roots. My previous belief that families were either great or ordinary(or possibly even criminal) has been blown apart. The first and possibly biggest shock was that my Great Great Grandmother(who was listed merely as a servant in the censuses) had extraordinary forebears and that through her I was connected to a whole gamut of extraordinary people. The next discovery was,(of course )a convict cousin who had been deported to Australia. and a sad story of a mother who had given birth and died in gaol, having being imprisoned for what would nowadays probably not even be considered a misdemeanour.

I recalled the wise words of a dear friend, who cautioned me, that our ancestry is likely to be littered with all manner of individuals, both famous and infamous. Eventually I have begun to realise the connectedness of us all.

I had planned a family reunion, but as my tree has grown and grown, this has become a daunting prospect. Just where do I draw the line?

I really admire A.J. Jacobs but am unsure whether I am ready for a family reunion on such a grand scale.

A.J.Jacobs Family Reunion

Here he tells Conan a little more about his project and its objectives:


A.J. Jacobs on Conan


Article on World’s Biggest Family Reunion



Emmeline Pankhurst-February 25th

Suffragette Trailer

I was surprised to learn on February 25th, 1913 Emmeline Pankhurst went on trial for bombing the villa of David Lloyd George. (I do not condone her actions by the way.) Dad used to sing: Lloyd George Knew My Father

Source: British Pathe: https://youtube.com/c/britishpathehttps://youtube.com/c/britishpathe

Source: Bledyn Williams & His Group – Topic

Source:History Blast https://youtube.com/channel/UCGK_GagA8DByiyJYtNzfiAQ

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Emily Davison-1913 Derby

I was brought up to respect these women who had fought so bravely for the right to vote was a right which my grandmother took extremely seriously, often citing Emily Davison who had thrown herself under the King’s racehorse to secure this right.

There were mixed feelings even among women about the suffragettes fight.

My own Great Grandmother is quoted as saying basically that she was not keen on women entering parliament and was more keen on the idea of social democracy for all. It could be either my Great Grandmother or her sister in law who had the same name. She had stated that men were doing a bad enough job of voting on their own. (or something pretty similar)

Emmeline Pankhurst founded the WSPU(Women’s Social and Political Union) in 1903.The right to vote had already been obtained in British colonies such as Australia(1901) and New Zealand. I think my Great Grandmother may have belonged to the very early Labour Party.

The voice of Christabel Pankhurst(1908)

Genes &Stress/Trauma

It is interesting to investigate further the possibility that our lives may actually be being affected by events of which we have little or no conscious knowledge.

Perhaps investigating our family’s past may help our understanding of the present. Currently we are only beginning to investigate and to understand this concept. and the science appears to be in its infancy. Yet it is yielding some interesting results. Investigating family history may tell us more about our own reactions to life with its inevitable challenges and perhaps help us both to better comprehend and to deal with the difficulties we might face.

Some are more sceptical of these theories. An article by Professor Ewan Birney.

You are truly far more than your genes – your DNA is not your destiny.

Family Patterns

Inherited Trauma

Some are more sceptical of these theories. An article by Professor Ewan Birney.

You are truly far more than your genes – your DNA is not your destiny.

There is nothing new under the sun.

I have found this phrase to contain a great deal of truth and wisdom, once one begins to investigate family history. Family patterns both positive and negative can go back an awfully long way. I have also learned about something called inherited trauma.

An amazing talk about the effects of trauma by Dr Judith Landau:


Some are more sceptical of these theories. An article by Professor Ewan Birney.

You are truly far more than your genes – your DNA is not your destiny.

I have heard many disparaging comments about the study of history and yet it seems to me that if we were we all truly students of history, both our own and family history we would avoid many pitfalls. I have never forgotten the history teacher who taught me that learning about the past may help us to understand possible outcomes in the future. I have come to realise all too often families constantly repeat negative  and  often destructive patterns. Breaking family patterns is extremely hard but the first step is to see the patterns. Had I understood and questioned destructive family patterns earlier, I believe my own life would have benefitted, but they are at least now there  for my children to see, although their own interpretation may be quite different.

I have developed a measure of respect for the plucky go-getters, who are practical and just deal with the situation at hand. I have tended to divided people into doers and thinkers. I have always respected the doers, despite being inclined towards being a thinker/dreamer myself. I was a little surprised to discover a deep and poignant poem written by somebody, whose profession seemed to indicate, he was very much a practical person. Nonetheless I do believe that some branches of the family seem  to incline more towards introspection and creativity than others. It is interesting to look at family patterns and beliefs and to try to discern their origin.

The more I study  family history the more I have  begun to question, many of my inherited beliefs.

I have often repeated a story I once heard about a woman who continually cut the ends off her joints of meat before placing them in the oven. One day her daughter asked her why she did this. She had simply responded that she did not know but her Mother had always done it. The woman had then asked her mother, why she had always chopped the ends off her joints of meat, to which the mother also responded she did not really know but her mother had always done so. Finally the Grandmother was asked why she had always chopped the ends off her joints of meat. The Grandmother in a matter-of -fact tone explained that her oven had been too small and she had simply removed the ends of the joint to fit it in the oven.

I wonder how often we continue with family patterns and beliefs long after they have ceased to serve us?

An interesting article on the research into inherited effects of trauma.


John Glenn Orbits the Earth-February 20th

On February 20th 1962, John Glenn became the first American to orbit the planet.  He died only last year on 8th December at the age of 95.

Today it is interesting to reflect on him, and how much courage it must have taken to step into the total unknown. The mission had been postponed ten times due to bad weather perhaps making the task  appear even more intimidating.We all at various points in our lives, find ourselves taking steps into the unknown. That first brave step can be extremely daunting, whether it is heading into space, or  leaving for school for the first time. Naturally with age we often become more used to new challenges.Most of the time we look back and wonder what we were worried about but occasionally we do indeed face pain. Despite this many brave people have continued to get up,  dust themselves down and try again.  Courage does not mean mistakes aren’t made but courage often  involves the quality to learn from mistakes and carry on. So after 10 failed attempts,(and no doubt many more obstacles which had had to be overcome.)John Glenn became the first American to orbit the planet.

John Glenn


When the new becomes commonplace, people become accustomed to it. That’s a tribute to our sense of adventure. 






Dolly Parton’s Birthday-19th January


My Great Grandfather became a tailor, due to the training he received as a result of a trust fund set up by John Clingan.


The trust fund was set up to support local underprivileged children several hundred years ago. Having a trade must have made a huge difference to my Great Grandfather and his family. The trust fund money probably changed the future  of his descendants for generations.

Today is Dolly Parton’s Birthday. Below she talks about her scheme, which has helped give children access to books.

This scheme means that Dolly Parton is much more than a singer. She has become a historical figure by virtue of the fact that she is helping change the future of generations of children and their families.