Tuesday, 7 June 2011

There is a story in every document.

The more I am involved in family research, the more I love it. My personal research aside , the stories uncovered never cease to amaze me. I mean the fact is , what lay dormant  in the archives , is someone’s fascination of the future. Here are three brief examples of just some story lines discovered in my research this week:
My recent assignments have taken me to the parish archives of a number villages in   Northern Britain, where original church documents make wonderful reading. Perhaps not at  the time , but today the phrase ‘ supposed to be begotten by  the Reverend Cornelius Abbotsford of this parish’  when written against a child’s baptism in 1707, only invites the feeling of intrigue. It also creates a whole new avenue of research, based on nothing more that blind theory, what if’s and maybe’s.  In truth , whilst this is interesting to research  and in the main out of the ordinary, the paternal line can only be proved by the DNA of living descendents. None the less, researching the ‘accused’ might prove to be an interesting distraction and in any case, as my old mother would say, it is a wise man that knows his own father !
Later last week, I was also spending sometime exploring newspaper archives and in particular the case of George Parker. George Parker was one of many noticeable ‘accidental shootings’ in the 1900’s and just one of a worrying number during the Great War. George had been to a party with his friends George Lee and Alfred Leaning. Both Leaning and Parker had been in the forces at that time Leaning in the RAF and Parker , a sailor. George Lee had been employed as a card cutter. Following the party, the 3 gentlemen decided to swap clothes and stopping off at a coffee bar on the way home, it was Parker who jokingly offered his pistol to a girl. The pistol accidently went off and Parker was killed. When Leaning and Lee went to the Police station as witnesses, it was discovered that they had changed clothes.  Lee was fined 20 shillings and Leaning 40 shillings.
It’s not just Newspaper archives that give you interesting information either as the death Certificate of Catherine Rainey , aged 40 of Grimsby, Lincolnshire shows. On Aug 8th 1915, her ‘cause of death’ is recorded as ‘accidently knocked down by a motor car driven by John William Michael’
What does your past reveal about you and your family  ?
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