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Thursday, 23 April 2015

A-Z Challenge - T for Tributes, Timelines & Travel

A-Z of Family History Sources & Stories 
Join me on this A-Z journey to explore the fascinating records 
that can  enhance your family history research and writing.

TRIBUTES  - I perhaps was slow to realise this, but I have discovered that blogging gives me a marvellous opportunity to pay Tribute to my ancestors through profiles of my great grandmother Maria Danson, nee Rawcliffe, to my great uncle George Danson who was killed in the First World War, to my grandfather William Danson who won the Military Medal,   to my feisty Great Aunt Jennie, to the war time experiences of my father John Weston, to my uncle Harry Danson  who was evacuated at Dunkirk, and to the talents of my mother and aunt - Kathleen and Edith Danson. I am proud to have done this.

A Painting by my Aunt Edith

TRAVEL  is a sideline on family history whether we  follow the ancestral trail by  exploring in  the footseps of our forebears or discover  how our ancestors got about.   Both aspects can provide you with inspiration for a family story.

  Earlston Parish Church Outing, 1907  -
one wonders how they managed going up and down the Scottish Borders hills!

My brother on the  ancestral trail in front of the famous Ironbridge, in Shropshire built in 1779.  Our father grew up here, sang in the local church choir from the age of seven and was vice-captain of the school football team.  His father Albert Weston walked  35 minute each way across the bridge  each day  to get to work.

TIMELINES   to me are an important feature of a  family history narrative.  Our ancestors did not live in a vacuum.    I am  a firm believer in setting their  lives in a wider context of life around them - what was happening at a local, national and international leveL?  I usually present this in the form of a text box in each chapter. 

My father was always called a Titanic baby - a bit of a misnomer, but it related to the  fact  he was born 15th April 1912, the night the Titanic sank.  For major events, date reference books can help, but local newspapers and local histories are invaluable sources of information.    Some ideas here: 
  • Was your ancestor alive when there was the threat of a Napoleonic invasion with towns and villages were ready to light beacons to warn of the French attack? 
  • Might your ancestors have seen the Jacobite army marching through Scotland and the north of England  in 1745,   as Prince Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie) attempted  to take the Hanoverian throne.
  • The coming of the railway to a community must have been a thrilling event to witness, with local newspapers giving extensive coverage of the excitement generated. 

  • What about the impact of the invention of the sewing machine  on the task of making a family's clothes?  
  • Might your female ancestors have seen suffragettes campaigning  locally?
  • When was your local cottage hospital built, or the local football  club formed? 
  • How did your  ancestral town or village mark the death of Queen Victoria in 1901?  

    The possibilities are endless.for adding colour to a family story................

    Copyright © 2015 · Susan Donaldson.  All Rights Reserved 

    On to U for Unusual, Unforgettable,
    Unlucky & Uniform 


  1. Placing my ancestors in the world at the time really makes them come alive for me..

  2. I agree blogging is a great way to pay tribute :) It is sometimes tricky to know which events they noticed and which passed them by but I agree they are useful to give context

  3. Thank you both for taking the time to comment.


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