Branches of the Family Tree

10th June 2012:

A couple of months ago I started researching my family tree – and it’s thrown up a few surprises.


I’m not really sure what sparked my interest in our family history.  If there had been a time to start, it surely would have been ten years ago when we were in France and visited the Lutyens War Memorial at Thiepval.  My Great Grandad was killed at the Somme and there, carved into the stone, was his name.   It all felt a long long way away from his home on Tyneside.


Or maybe my interest was stirred by the suitcase full of old photographs from my Mam’s house.   Or the fact that, walking around my home town, I can point at a place and say, “My Mam lived there after they were bombed out of ….”, or, “My Mam and Dad lived there when they were first married”.   And I can see, not just the building site or the new offices, but how it might have been in 1940 or 1947.


However it started, it now feels like a runaway train, gathering speed and eating up time as I delve deeper into the past.  But it has been good fun.  I’ve been able to tell my Mam that she was named for her Granny, Christiana Findley, who in turn was named for her Granny, Christiana Cleghorn.   (Great Great Granny Cleghorn and her sister, Ademina, had both been dressmakers, like my Mam.)


My Gran probably and very sensibly thought that Christiana was a hell of a name of a little baby – so it became Christina.  In fact, it may well have been that all along; spelling mistakes, illiteracy and just plain writing things down wrong could have changed and corrupted the name.


Yes, it has been fun.  But why does no one warn you how addictive it can be?   More addictive even than playing Angry Birds.  You just have to track down Great Great Uncle Thomas and you can be up until three in the morning doing so.  But then what about Great Great Aunty Eleanor?   And didn’t she have a cousin who went to sea?   What happened to him?


Just one more name to check, just one more and then you’re done.  You’ll turn the computer off and get some sleep.   Promise.  Five more minutes, then that’s it.


Two hours and another subscription to yet another genealogy website later, you eventually get to bed – just in time to get up and go to work, and spend the day dreaming of Great Great Great Grandpa Francis who was born in Canada in 1791 …



Christine …


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