Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Taking my Dad on a Who Do You Think You Are Tour
I took Dad out to my favorite place, the Somerset Heritage Centre and he agreed to be my assistant for some research there for a couple of days. The people there were so kind and generous to us. Phil Hawking was very attentive when we had questions and did lots of work to help us uncover more information about our ancestors. We came home with scores of images that I now get to go through. When Dad's grandfather first wrote the Vicar in Bradford on Tone around the turn of the century and the Vicar started sending him information about his family from the parish records there, he wrote that a "most enjoyable pastime" ensued as he tried to piece together the records of his family. I know just how that must have felt.
Dad came face to face with the wills and deeds I found last year of his 5th and 6th great grandparents. It is so mind boggling to see the signatures and wax seals on these documents that you know where signed before the Declaration of Independence and Constitution of the United States were signed. It makes everything so real. Even that old.
Dad helped me go through the parish registers that hold the records of his patriarchal line. We digitized several years of records off the microfilm with Dad running the microfilm reader and me running the computer. It was nice to sit together with him and fun to hear him say, "There's a Carpenter, there's a Carpenter." We found the marriage records and christening records for many of his ancestors and we're going to have fun going back through and documenting and piecing together the siblings and the families. Though my university administrator Dad knows how to research, you couldn't call him a genealogist, but I think he had fun.
We had a wonderful dinner at the White Horse Inn again. The people there have been so gracious to us when we have visited and the food is wonderful. It has been really nice to visit there as many times as I have. I feel so blessed to have been able to take my children and my father there now and it is so fulfilling to have been able to have been able to share this trip with my family reaching up and down.
And as a final treat, after we came back into London, the next day we went out to find the plot in the Gravesend Cemetery where many members of this family came to be buried. I hadn't scoped this site out before so when we walked in and found this fantastic tombstone it was a great surprise for me. It listed the seven family members buried there including Dad's Great-Grandparents and Great-Great Grandparents. The tombstone was in wonderful shape and had a wealth of genealogical information on it. Such a fantastic find.
So on my way to speaking at the Who Do You Think You Are Conference this year, we had our own who do you think you are tour. It was fantastic. Simply lovely.