Sunday, 20 September 2015

Not just a Trivial Pursuit

It is not about having a convict in your past or a couple of filthy rich relatives anymore. If doing the family history used to be a gentile pastime it is now closer to a competitive sport. Put a few researchers together and it becomes a competition and one up-manship with players claiming boasting rights of Royalty, presidents and a host of interesting characters and stories.

If this was a game of Ancestor Pursuit what pieces of the pie would people be vying for?

What are the 10 “must have characters” on a family tree? With improved and almost speed researching available through Internet technology it is now  possible to expand search sites to enliven the quest.

I guarantee you’ll find more than Grandma’s illegitimate son.  It is probable the researcher can find bankrupts, bigamists, black sheep, criminals and loads of old men marrying younger women.

The pursuit of family research shows it is possible to have it all and have fun looking when ancestors turn up owning interesting pieces of history, having fought battles rather than wars and are possibly tourist attractions in their own right.

Who will be the ultimate winner?

The  most interesting character in my tree is a ghost - Sir Little John with the Great Beard.

 Sir John Byron -Sir Little John with the Great Beard 
You can Google this titled great grandfather of the poet Byron whose alabaster effigy is also a tourist attraction at the Newstead Abbey in Nottingham.

Did anyone mention Knights and the High Sheriff of Nottingham?  I can boast a history back to Knights in 1066 and friendships with Kings and Queens.

Add in a couple of explorers and early Australian Pioneers and the pursuit gets even better.

My favourites are the filthy rich relatives who lost the lot and a couple of  bankrupts. I wonder -does a bigamist beat a Waterloo War hero ?
Robert Strelley Esq changed his will several times in the days before he died

When I first started researching the branches and twigs and saplings of my tree I  was chuffed to get back to humble beginnings who were hard-working ribbon weaving great-great-grandparents in the 1840s. I wrote up their stories. Along the way I’ve found stories to tell more – yes a bigamist, explorers,  pioneers and convicts.

This year I’ve focused  on telling the stories of some unsung heros of WW1. Some lost their lives, some won medals and some just plain old did their duty. 

Is it really a competition or is telling their stories what it is all about?

My top TEN Ancestry Trivial Pursuit pieces

Sir/ Knight
Bankrupt/ debtor
Filthy rich relatives
Early war heros
Australian pioneer or convict
WWI or II hero
Criminal lunatic
Trail blazer or Explorer

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