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Why family history fascinates me

July 3, 2011

For my first blog entry I’d like to record why I’m so fascinated with this subject that most of my friends and family find, well, just plain boring.  I fell into recording my family history by accident about 10 years ago when I was asked to help organise a family reunion. This was not my family so I was able to just take it all in without worrying about the work and research that needed to be done. But I was hooked and am now studying for my Diploma of Genealogy and continuing on with the never ending task of researching and recording the history of the many branches and twigs on my family tree.

Back at the start, my first step was to talk to Dad about his family. All I knew was that his parents died when he was about 5. I had no idea how or why, and am ashamed to say that for most of my life, never questioned what might have caused Dad and his brothers and sisters to become orphans. The first thing I discovered was that Dad’s parents, my grandparents died within 6 weeks of each other. This piece of information really got me interested. Off I went to Births Deaths and Marriages to get their death certificates full of excitement. I will never forget the sadness and devastation I felt on reading my grandmothers death certificate, and seeing the names of her 10 children listed there. How sad it must have been for her to be a new widow, and now find herself seriously ill, knowing that she was going to die and leave all these children alone in the world.  The second youngest, age 5 was my Dad. Until then other than my Dad, they had just been names on a page. At that moment I realised that this was my family. A family that I never knew existed until now.

To say I was hooked was an understatement.

During the years of research I have made contact with many many cousins. I grew up with just four cousins, and I can remember at school being  jealous of the kids who came from big families. Little did I know that I had a huge number of  first cousins out there that I never knew existed. And many more second cousins. I’ve met many of these people over the years and really felt the family connection with them.

My grandmother Emily Taylor’s  grandparents came to Australia from Haverfordwest, Wales in 1841 with two small children, under 2 years old.  I often wonder at what life must have been like in the 19th century to make normally sane parents with small children get onto rickety old boats and sail out to a new land  for a new start, not knowing much about where they were going and knowing that they would probably never see their family back home again.

John and Martha Taylor went on to have another  10 children born in Australia. And each of those children had large families.  For each mystery I solve, another quickly occurs. This is why I am so intrigued.

Here is my grandmother, Emily Taylor at a young age.  I think she looks quite glamorous.

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3 Comments
  1. I want to read more

  2. Thank you Jenny and Gordon. We are all very interested and look forward to learning more, and I am looking at your gedcom now, thank you, which is as proudly Welsh as my beautiful wifes name Glynis. Google map shows HaverfordWest, Pembrokeshire, Wales as an old walled town of 10000 people near StBrides Bay in the south west corner of Wales. A town that was important for people on a pilgrimage to St Davids. A town of Welsh churches that was originally part of the de Clare land that passed onto the Despensers in Medieval times. Possibly John & Martha were enthused religiously about a better land and how they populated it is their magnificent achievement.
    Family Name Given Name Age Month Year Ship Book Page
    TAYLOR —- I JAN 1841 SALSETTE 2 292
    TAYLOR — MRS 31 JAN 1841 SALSETTE 2 292
    TAYLOR JOHN 31 JAN 1841 SALSETTE 2 283

    • Phil, I spent one night in Haverfordwest a few years ago when I did a bike ride across Wales with my daughter. It was summer and they had the heaviest rain I’ve ever seen. I thought then that the lure of sunshine must have been hard to ignore. 1841 was a very bleak and tough time to be living in Wales. I have the shipping record that you have posted. It’s very interesting as there is another Taylor family on the ship who also settled in Diamond Creek. That is my next research task to trace them to ours. Thanks for your interest

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