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Thursday, 26 July 2012

L is for Lament, Lessons, Lure, Luck and Likeness - 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.
L is for

How many of us Lament not asking the right questions at the right time:  Where was my grandmother born?   What was her mother called?   Did she have any brothers and sisters?

I wish also I had asked my Aunt Edith  to write down her memories and experiences.  She played a key role in my life and was a teacher, traveller and great talker. She was fond of regaling me with stories and full of entertaining anecdotes on her younger brothers and sisters, the young men she danced with, and her time as a teacher in the 1930s-1950s in a poor part of town.  She had a keen memory for past pupils (particularly black sheep) and of humorous incidents such as excuse notes, written for absences.  In later life she became a traveller, visiting Russia in the days of the Iron Curtain, and married for the first time at the age of 73.  If only I had taken more note of what she was recounting, but sadly much of the detail now escapes me.

Lessons I have Learnt - many and varied amongst them: 

  • Always record your searches with specific source references.  I have committed the fault of being so eager to find some key facts in a limited time, that I rush to scribble down my sources and findings, get home and when I come to my notes later, have difficulty deciphering them.  What a waste of precious time!   More haste less speed.
  • Don't assume  - it may be the right name in the right place, with a date that sounds right, but is it really your ancestor or another of the same name?   A call for corroboration!
Our family history journey often comes from Love of our family and a Longing to find out more about our background.  Once we start on the  trail,  its Lure is strong and I can echo many other bloggers who talk of being "addicted" or "obsessed" by their hobby. 

Could I be called Lazy? Perhaps when it comes to certain tasks, but family history and blogging wins hands down over housework! 

Let's not  forget that a vital stroke of Luck, such as making contact with distant cousins, can make all the difference - and for me has been a great boost to my blogging activity.    Below is an advertising blotter of hairdresser "Elise", aka Elsie Oldham - the mother of my third cousin Stuart who discovered my blog and has been a great source of additional stories and p[photographs.

Do you spot a LIkeness amongst your old family photographs?  Do the eyes have it in these photographs of my great grandmother Maria Rawcliffe, mother Kathleen Danson and myself - or it my fanciful wishful thinking?   I leave you to judge!

Copyright © 2012 · Susan Donaldson.  All Rights Reserved


  1. Oh how I identified with this post, Susan. Lamentations, lessons (more haste less speed indeed!) and definitely FH beats housework!

    I think there's definitely a resemblance.

  2. I totally related to this post too. I chuckled about the housework (or lack of) because that happens here too! I also lament not talking to various family members sooner.

  3. I think the eyes have it. And can I ever relate to wishing I'd recorded the talks I had with relatives now gone. House work gets short shrift here too.

  4. You've nailed it! As for doing genealogy research or blogging over housework - it doesn't even come close!

  5. Whooo Hooo!!! I'm with you re: the Housework :-) Your Aunt Edith sounds like a fascinating person... I'll check back for further info about her on your Blog. Maybe meditating with a photo, or a special belonging of hers, will help bring back some of her stories? Cheers...Catherine


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