The more I delve into the family tree, the more interesting it becomes, not least because it appears a few of my ancestors were born out of wedlock, which I find suprising. As there is history of unconventional families in my recent history, so I really should not be surprised to find it in more distant relatives, but I find it fascinating to discover given how society has viewed illegitimacy through the ages. What I am glad to learn is that the mothers did go on to find husbands; I can only hope husbands who lovingly accepted their wives’ children as one of their own.
The other part of this research I am enjoying is meeting other descendants of my various ancestors. All are friendly and helpful and making these connections makes me feel part of a much wider community, or clan – as if ours wasn’t big enough. I think, too, I have managed to find my link to Scotland, though the records dry up in Ireland, the names originate in Scotland.
I have also learned that family stories can be more than unreliable, they can simply be cover-ups. Certainly in one particular case this was necessary, but in others I have to wonder why these stories were invented. If it was simply to impress the neighbours, then why not tell your progeny the truth at the very least?
And, finally, I don’t think I will ever balk at filling out the census again, as these have proved useful tools for learning about working and living conditions of my family as well as movement. It seems I come from a long line of people happy to move away from their place of birth. Perhaps there’s a gene for that?