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Friday, 29 June 2012

H is for Happiness and Help, Honouring Heroes, plus Hawkyards: A-Z Challenge

Having just finished a quick sprint through one A-Z challenge from Ros at http://genwestuk.blogspot.com/, I could not resist participating in a further series from Aona at

My focus here is on what we experience on our family history journey.

H  is for:

  • The Happiness gained from my family history and blogging activities.  

  • The way I am Heartened by comments from fellow bloggers and the Help they have given in terms of resources and tips on becoming a better blogger.

  • The Honour I can give my ancestors through my blog postings. I am thinking here in particular of my family Heroes - grandfather William Danson who won the Military Medal in 1918; three great uncles (George Danson, John Danson and Arthur Matthews) who lost their lives in the First World War; my father (John Weston) who advanced in 1944-45 from Omaha Beach through France to Germany; my uncle (Harry Danson) who was rescued from Dunkirk; and uncle Charles Weston who suffered as a Japanese prisoner of war.
Poulton le Fylde War Memorial, Lancashire with the names
of John and George Danson inscribed on it

The Military Medal citation awarded to my grandfather  William Danson

My uncle Harry Danson who was evacuated at Dunkirk
Is there a look of Errol Flynn about him?

In contrast Humour can be a part of our family stories, with my father contributing two such tales which make me laugh with his accounts of his Hair Raising First Drive and How a Pigeon Sent the News (a forerunner of Twitter!).

Also if anyone in the family looks to be getting above themselves, I can always bring them back to earth by the reminder that one of their ancestors was a lowly  "tripe dealer"!

My father John Weston (left) with his first car and brother Charles

  • Finally a mention of a strong sounding, distinctive name in my husband's family  - Hawkyard.  To me that is a surname that could come out of a gothic novel - picture the tall, dark eyed, arrogant hero (or villain) with an aquiline nose and haughty, brooding  stare.  

    The reality is much more prosaic.  These Hawkyards were from South Shields, a seaport on the north east coast of England and in the early 19th century they had a lodging house in Alnwick, Northumberland.  An internet search showed that the surname was particularly prevalent in Yorkshire.  On my long "to do" list for further research. 

Copyright © 2012 · Susan Donaldson.  All Rights Reserve


    1. A very interesting post. I enjoyed reading your linked stories too. How times have changed. It annoys me when I hear about family photos being thrown out. I sympathise with you. It is so hard to believe that some people had/have so little respect for memories.

    2. I do think your uncle looks a bit like Errol Flynn. So depressing to lose photographs because there is no way to go back there and take more! My husbands family has very few surviving photos from their childhood. Good family stories. You are lucky your father wrote them down for you.

    3. Reading through your H words, I was agreeing with each of them, well except for the Hawkyard as I don't have any in my family - but the rest are spot on. :-)

    4. Thank you to you all for your comments. I am pleased my posting struck a chord.

    5. Happiness, Heartened, Humour... Great!!! That Uncle of yours sure has an Errol Flynn similarity about him, especially the twinkle in his eye, Susan. Can't help wondering if he retained it throughout the years...


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