On the back of the A-Z April Challenge, the lovely folk at Gould Genealogy devised another challenge – Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge. Each week, we work through the letters of the alphabet sharing perhaps an elusive ancestor, a favourite or particular ancestor, or perhaps a heirloom.
C is for Conversations
As I mentioned in my last post, I would regularly visit my elderly Aunts, usually fortnightly. I had grown up doing that and once I was into adulthood I carried on the tradition. A recent conversation with a Cousin of my generation revealed that he had never met two of our Great Aunts, because he had never visited them as a child and subsequently did not visit as an adult.
The conversations that I had with not just my Aunts but also their first cousins placed me at a genealogical advantage. Simply through letting them chat, aided by an occasional prompt or question from me they were more than happy to chat and fill me in on various information.
I showed them photographs that I had inherited and asked for clarity on who the photograph was of and often I was not just told the name, but a whole caption of history, perhaps about where they worked, lived, married and so forth. Little snippets of information that when added together provided a much bigger picture.
On a particular day I mentioned to one Aunt that I was visiting her sister the following weekend and that I was meeting Aunt’s first Cousin during the week. Aunt suddenly said that she would come over and see me at her sister’s the following Saturday. I wondered if I could perhaps get the Cousin to come along as well. A phone call later and all was agreed.
As I said, my Aunt was in a wheelchair and did receive lots of visitors, but her face was a real pleasure as it lit up at the sound of her younger sister’s voice. Then she heard her cousin and was overwhelmed. I was as usual given the instruction for tea and cake duty. Upon entering the lounge the three of them were chatting and remembering and in hindsight I so wish I had recorded the three of them chatting.
Listening to them was amazing and I was slightly amused when the older of the sisters announced that they were completely wrong over something. My Aunt Doll, the youngest of the sisters was called Dolly by her older sister and the cousin Ivy then referred to the older sister as Rosey. The familiarity that they felt for each other was incredible and it was a treasure to witness it.
All three of them have passed away now, the most recent, my Aunt, who was the younger sister in 2009, but the legacy that they each left is something that I will treasure always.