Academic genealogy has taken a back seat lately. That’s because we moved home for the second time in as many years. We hadn’t even opened every box from the last relocation before we started packing again. Now we’re ensconced in an old converted Primitive Methodist chapel in rural Lincolnshire, ‘out on the marsh’ as we like to call it. The walls are damp in places, drainage is dubious, heating clamours, hedges are overgrown and the sugar beet campaign has started – beware mud on road. But from all windows we have views over fields; Gedney Church is just visible on the southern edge and Boston Stump is just invisible to the north-west. To the north and east the sea wall forms a pencil-straight horizon worthy of any draughtsman.
So far within our extended curtilage we’ve enjoyed the antics of a covey of about 50 French partridge, a flock of some fifteen tree sparrows, a thieving magpie, several pheasants, lots of tits and finches, a lone muntjac and Lenny. We’ve exchanged the close social accessibility of village life for the bucolic isolation of the countryside. Here we’d like to stay for a while; my next change of address will include the words ‘late of…’.
Within a few days of moving in, with unopened boxes piled in various rooms and the air still redolent of perspiring removal men, cousin David and his wife Anne arrived. They were just finishing a whistle-stop tour of Great Britain as part of their vacation from Canada. We tried to recall when we last met and came to the conclusion it was in 1959 when my sister Maxine married. Half a century ago! After such an interval, perhaps it’s not surprising that I had to keep reminding myself that I was not chatting to Uncle Phil but to his son. Thus can be implied several definitions of ‘distant relations.’
We had a grand if brief time. Now we’re all settling back into the mellowness of autumn with inevitable long nights becoming longer. This is the time for renewed research into the family’s history. After an instant of stirring excitement over a potential USA far-cousin, we were disappointed to find the link was an inadvertent red herring dropped by a misinterpreted coincidence of name and dates. But the search continues with no waning of enthusiasm.
All new developments will be reported here. (AK)