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Week 10: 52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy

May 13, 2012

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.

One Comment
  1. Well done Jenny, your bringing back photos of the houses in which your father lived, was an amazing memory aid to assist your father to reminisce. I looked at a book in my library called Family Memories, A guide to reminiscing, by Bob Price, printed by the State library of NSW Press, in 1992. It is a comprehensive guide of 130 pages but as far as I can see, it didn’t mention going out and taking photos of the houses then showing these photos of the houses a person occupied (or visit them) to aid in reminiscing. One could extend this to photographing the places a person worked, or holidayed etc I assume. At the good age of your father, which in itself is a tribute to you and your family, the memories and wisdom he has will one day be of interest to others as well. His observations may well contain valuable information too. The book by Bob Price had quotations to commence each chapter, and the quotation on Your First Home, was “I want a house that has got over all its troubles; I don’t want to spend the rest of my life bringing up a young and inexperienced house” (Jerome K Jerome).
    One could say the wisdom of our ancestors is like this house.

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