The Importance of Family in Family History


This week’s piece is necessarily brief as family activities have taken me away from the computer, however in the week of my mother’s ninety-sixth birthday I wanted to cherish the importance of those family members who are the custodians and guardians of our history.

The lovely photograph above is my maternal grandmother taken for her wedding in India at the beginning of the twentieth century, whither she had gone as the first white woman doctor ever seen in that part of south India. Her sister Alice was the principal researcher of the family history, but she was following in the footsteps of their great grandfather, and as a result I have inherited a variety of notes and papers compiled in the days when the only way to get a baptism record was to write to the parish priest of the parish where you thought the event had taken place.

Also through my mother, who now holds the family archive, I first heard the story of the ‘Indian Princess’ that led me through a round about route to Jamaica. A tiny fragment of paper with a sketchy line of descent from the eighteenth century had been written down by my mother’s grandfather after a conversation with his mother in about 1889.

From that we arrive at this website, and in due course I hope also a book.

So cherish your family and the stories they tell – you never know where it may lead!

3 thoughts on “The Importance of Family in Family History”

  1. Wendy Lee

    How fascinating! I totally agree with your title – because it is WHO our ancestors were and how they lived (not just that they existed and had x children) that makes genealogy so interesting. Even one sentence written about a person by someone who knew them is valuable; it makes them real and makes a connection across the generations. Old letters from one’s ancestors are priceless!

    You must be thrilled to have this pioneering lady doctor as your ancestor. What was her name?

    If you are referring to Jessie Jackson Prideaux (the Indian Princess) then I suspect we are both descendants of Allegonda Boom!


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