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Choppings & family history

This was a weekend of much gardening. My mother came over and helped chop things. There's still a mountain left to do, but the area we worked on is visibly improved.

1) I took down that stupid ash tree by the pond that I've been meaning to do something about forever, but never quite got round do doing anything more than pollarding before. It's surprising the difference it made in terms of light.

2) I pruned the grape vine right back. It's a little early, but the leaves were coming off it so I thought better get it done than risk forgetting it again!

3) weeded and chopped and filled many tub trugs with the results.

4) Earlier this week I took all the green figs off the tree. With a bit of luck this will result in a decent sized crop early enough next year that more fruit will ripen.

  The Family 'History' bit.
She had made an attempt at drawing up a family tree, which revealed the startling fact that she didn't know the names of her own grandparents. One of these days I must try to find those out. Also that a startling number of my Gran's large family were nutters of various stripes (I knew that, but it was pleasing to see them all laid out and be able to point and go 'and is that one mad as well?'.

Apparently I have a second cousin called Karen on the Isle of Wight, but she's not one of the mad ones. :-)

The prompt for this tree-making was, I think, having turned up a document that came to her from her Aunt Grace, which is supposed to contain the research of some American Cousins. Apparently, they came to the UK (when, we know not, and nor do we know their names, relationship to my mother or Aunt Grace, or their purposes... ).

They went to Somerset House, where they discovered some highly-coloured facts about a family called Steed, which Aunt Grace wrote down on now-yellowed and disintegrating notepaper. Sadly, the reason that they thought our family was connected to these Steeds is lost, but I am delighted to have a document to prove my relationship to the King of Barbados. (I never knew that Barbados ever had a king of its own, and Google doesn't seem to either) 




( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
19th Oct, 2009 07:46 (UTC)
It always amuses me how so many Americans who research their family history quickly find that they're descended from royalty and dukes, whereas most British people who research their family history find they're descended from a long line of totally obscure agricultural labourers. Presumably life was so hard during the Hungry 40s for the poor second sons of kings and earls, what with the famous blight that hit the pearl and ruby crop, that they all hopped on the nearest boat and went off to America for a better life.

Perhaps it's similar to the way that common peasants and cavemen called Ug never bother to get themselves reincarnated, whereas Egyptian princesses do it all the time.
19th Oct, 2009 11:03 (UTC)
See, this is what puts me off looking. As long as I don't check, I have a family tree which contains a golf professional (I like to imagine him with a small, caddish, moustache) , a sea captain, a family business making ornate stained glass, and of course, the King of Barbados.

If I go and research these fine mirages, they will probably turn into a number of clerks, a corner shop and a line of rather dull people who worked the fields just outside Maldon. That's such a risk to take!
19th Oct, 2009 11:33 (UTC)
What's frustrating also is that interesting details of people working the fields are lost to time, leaving only a dull looking entry on the census occupation. Then as now, many people in exciting looking jobs are dull, and many people in dull jobs make up for it by doing hobbies.

I recently found out - by chance rummaging in a previous relative's genealogy notes - that one dull seeming bricklayer played the trumpet in a brass band. Instant change of mental image of that ancestor...
19th Oct, 2009 12:00 (UTC)
I fear I would consider even a bricklayer with a trumpet to be poor compensation for losing the King of Barbados...
19th Oct, 2009 13:50 (UTC)
19th Oct, 2009 15:45 (UTC)
But perhaps the King of Barbados was in fact a Lost Heir who was smuggled as a baby to the homesteads and farms of the dull people who worked the fields outside Maldon, so he could grow to manhood in a place where the evil usurper would never look for him. Of course, he had to appear in all the obvious records like parish registers, civil registration and census returns under his fake name and identity, because the evil usurper had minions everywhere, yay even amongst the ranks of census enumerators and those dread legions that are the parish clerks. This means, of course, that if you traced your family history through all these methods, you would indeed think him just a dull person who worked the fields outside Maldon, but how wrong you would be!
19th Oct, 2009 17:30 (UTC)
And very likely, Clarienne's trumpet playing bricklayer was not in a brass band at all, but claimed he was to the world and particularly his wife, in order to conceal his double life as the mysterious lover of Lady Hamilton.
19th Oct, 2009 17:53 (UTC)
lmao. Well if I was the heir to the throne of Barbados, and trying to hide as a commoner, I'd take up the trumpet in order to look less suspisciously inconspicuous.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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