Don’t you love all these genealogy sites that promise records relating to your ancestors? I have yet to find one of them that can tell me anything at all about my Dad’s family. They assume you have some knowledge of the family at least as far back as grandparents and if all you have is a name the road ends right there.
All I had was a name (which turned out to be only half right) and a second hand account of a family row over a will that brought my father’s father South – and there, it seems is an end to it.
Grandfather was living with his wife and kids in Croydon when he died, whilst his siblings were all living in Haltwhistle, Northumberland. As my father was only eight at the time, and remembered little about the northern tribe, the trail runs somewhat cool.
Its so frustrating!
To be fair to Ancestry dot com, et al my family name is Graham, which I am told is possibly the most commonly occurring surname along the borders. When I rang Carlisle registry office and told them I was looking for gr-grandfather, one ‘Thomas Graham’… I was met with slightly hysterical laughter.
‘Thomas Graham?’ says he. ‘In the Borders? there are at least a dozen just in the area you are looking at. If you don’t know already know from family links then it will all be guesswork.’
It doesn’t help of course, that my grandfather’s birth name -Frederick William Geddes – does not match his Navy records – Frederick William Graham, and his own grandfather seemed to lie to census takers as naturally as he breathed – in the solid tradition of his Reiver ancestors.
A strange family to the end.