The study of genealogy, which is a fancy word for tracing ones family back in time, is a very rewarding pursuit for those engaged in it, like me.  It is actually "exciting" finding the missing link in a family line or actually determining were a particular family lived over time

, or learning preciously what year an ancestor was born, married or died.   The glee of finding a family headstone in a remote cemetery is overwhelming!

However, trying to explain the excitement of genealogy to friends and family is difficult to say the least.  I see many eyes glaze over when I explain how a missing family fact can be discovered and how important this information is to those impacted.    Rarely, do I ever get the point of genealogy across.......

Recently I received a letter from Barbara Mair which clearly highlights the joy that genealogy can bring to families.  Just a little bit of background about Barbara.  Barbara turns 90 this year and lives outside of London, England.  When Barbara was a young girl her parents separated.   Barbara and her mother moved from Canada to Italy and then immigrated to England in the late 1930s.   Barbara though for a long time that her father had died and later learned he might be alive, but knew nothing more about her father  You can imagine Barbara's surprise when in the last few months she learned her father had not died and that he had a second family in Canada.  Barbara has now connected with her half brother in Canada and they have been able to share stories of their father, a happy ending story.

Here is Barbara's letter received via e-mail, which is shared with her permission.

Hi Cliff      

Firstly, am truly amazed at all the trouble you have taken, not only to research your own family tree, but now the families of all near and distant cousins.    What a fantastic achievement and what pleasure you have given to all of us, including the English Lot !!     I was raised in Europe from the age of 8, believing my father was dead and not till I was 17 was I told that he could be alive.    WW2 started just before my 18th birthday and I grew up quickly. I began my nurse training in London and life was busy and hard in war-torn London. But I passed my Finals after 3 grueling years.      And after another year I became a Nightingale Nurse.           
          Secondly, I was very interested to read of my father's military years  in WW1 and of his posting to Bramshott Camp.    As the war escalated many of us were sent down to prepare for the invasion of France....to huge hospitals in Surrey and Hampshire and it was here that I met many Canadian troops from camps allover the district not as patients but at concerts, dances,  lunches,etc . (Bramshott ? who knows, we were never allowed to inquire).    I like to think that had my father known he would have been proud of his daughter....  Later, as a charge nurse (Sister ) on night duty , I admitted some of the first casualties from the beaches of Normandy.... so I understand a little of what my father went through.   In 1944 we had the RAMC orderlies to help us when needed. What help did my father have??  Now I understand why my memories of my father are of a quiet man who did not like me making a noise; did not play with me. Did his memories haunt him into the 1920s?  Could it have affected his marriage?  His work?  I know he wanted a son and my mother did not want another baby.   We shall never know.           
    Thirdly..... many thanks for helping to make my 90th birthday so special. I may be old and slow ---- but am not ancient yet ----!  To read and learn about my root, my genes, my relations is all very precious,.. but above all to know more about my father; and to think he could have given me away in marriage to Michael a RAF pilot in 1945 had life been different.
Lastly, I do admire your strength as you ponder through reams of notes, quotes, maps, certificates, letters, etc.,  and get everything sorted! It must be so exhausting!   What does your wife think?     I hope you have recorded all your life story for your descendants of the future including voice and photos --- the latter two are so important. 
My love to you both and to all the Clinckett /Gittens Clan                    .
May God bless you for making an old lady very happy.  
Barbara Mair (nee Leach) 
 PS .....Sorry about the delay, Carolyn is now back from their holiday in America and so, at last I have your email address.  We shall be meeting on Sunday so I shall hear all the latest news !!       

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