Week 10: 52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy
Amy Coffin of The We Tree Genealogy Blog in conjunction with GeneaBloggers has called for bloggers of genealogy and family history to take on the 2012 challenge of 52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy This week’s topic is Genealogy Road Trips: No two genealogy road trips are the same, but they are always fun and meaningful. Describe a memorable trip in your past. Where did you go? What did you find or not find? Did you meet any new cousins? What did the trip mean to you and your family?
My first thought when I read this topic was how to choose which cemetery trip to talk about. Any genealogist or family historian will tell you that there’s nothing like a cemetery road trip. But then I remembered the road trip I did with my cousin Myrna. I can’t remember when this was exactly but it would have been about 8 or 9 years ago. Myrna’s father and my father were brothers, but I didn’t get to meet her as an adult until about a year or two before this road trip.
My Dad grew up in the Melbourne suburb of Richmond, Victoria. He was the second youngest of a large family, and Myrna’s father was the eldest. The family had quite a few moves around neighbouring suburbs. Myrna and I had spent many hours poring over our research information, with Myrna patiently trying to explain to me where these addresses were. So we decided it was necessary to do a road trip. We set off quite early, with our list of addresses. Myrna driving, so that I would be free to look. Back in those days I was a bad passenger and much preferred to be behind the wheel in control. That caused lots of laughter on the day. We toured around the northern suburbs of Melbourne with not a care in the world, trying to follow the footsteps of our fathers.
We were very pleased to see that most of the houses were still standing. Most of them were looking quite grand, obviously having been renovated in recent years. We had to use our imaginations to think of how those houses would have looked back in the 1920’s and ’30s. Back then, these were slum areas, where families were doing it tough.
I came home with a greater understanding of my father’s life as a young boy. My father is now 86 and he remembered every one of those houses that we photographed. Through showing him the photos we took and talking about the houses, he was able to share much more information with me than ever before. Information that he hadn’t remembered for years.
This trip was hugely valuable to my research but also priceless as Myrna and I have now become very close cousins and friends.