Posted on 2004/02/12 13:32:48 (February 2004).
[Sunday 8th February] Today we finally went to Portsmouth. Typically though, we left late, and I'm a little dubious about the route I chose on the way there, so by the time we arrived it was getting on for 3. Still, it gave us a good hour or so in Gun Wharf Quays, which Chie seemed to enjoy, after which we then went on to try and find some of the places my ancestors had lived. This didn't turn out to be very satisfying - we saw the outside of two houses, one where my great great grandfather had lived, and another where my great great great grandfather had lived. But they were just houses really!
So I made an executive decision to give up on touring family homes of yesteryear and go instead to see my Dad's cousin, Guy. As it happens he lived very close to the last house we visited. I had a great time there, sharing my findings about the family with Guy, and learning more from him. Also whilst there, Guy phoned his Mum's cousin Cornelia (which makes her my great great aunt or something like that), who was absolutely fascinating, and filled in lots of gaps in the family tree, along with anecdotes and explanations that really helped to bring these people to life. I've been trying to find out about my great grandfather's brothers and sisters for a long time now, and this was the first oppotunity I'd had to talk to someone who actually knew them all. My great grandfather was her uncle, my great grandfather's little sister was her mother, and all his other brothers and sisters were her aunts and uncles.
After leaving Guy's house we had a real failure in finding anywhere nice to eat in Portsmouth - it seems to pretty much shut down on a Sunday evening, which was a bit frustrating. We ended up eating at a Little Chef on the way home. Still, you can't win them all.
Ah, mate, your family tree is superbulous! I had a good old root through it. I like the way that the top of the tree is a bloke called John Hawkins. That made me larf.
It must have been really cool to discuss the family with someone who's really keen (like another member of family) - your Dad's cousin. What's you next step to take, are you going to root back through the archives for other branches of the family or are you going to try going further back up from your g-g-grandfather?
Posted by Rob Lang at 2004/02/18 09:29:57.
Yea, I found the John Hawkins there pretty pleasing too. I've just recently found out the name of his father - George, who is therefore my (breathe in) great great great great grandfather.
What's particularly good is that if you follow the tree up from my nephew William, his forefathers are the eldest sons all the way to George. This makes William the undisputed heir of the Hawkins empire. George is William's (breathe in again) great great great great great great grandfather (and relax). In other words, I have eight generations of Hawkins on my family tree.
Posted by John at 2004/02/18 13:04:33.
Unfortunately, it's a lot harder to go back any further. The earliest census records available (on the web at least) are 1871. Prior to that the further you go back the harder they are to get hold of, and the more patchy and less useful the information contained in them gets. Certainly up until 1841 there weren't actually any names on them. This means I probably can't get any census records for the time when John was a child and therefore would have been living with his father George. Unfortunately, there would have been rather a lot of George Hawkinses around at that time, and without any extra clues provided by census records, it is going to be more like guesswork trying to establish which of them I'm actually related to.
It's not just census information that has a frustrating habit of petering out the further you go back. The official births, marriage and deaths records only started in 1837. Before that, presumably, if you had a baby or died, basically nobody cared - or at least there was no legal requirement to record it. I reckon John was born around 1838, at which time as the recording system was in it's infancy, so maybe not everybody bothered with it (or even knew about it). Moreover John's father was born before this system began. Before that there's things like parish records held in churches, but as you can imagine, these are a lot more patchy and inconsistent, not to mention harder to get hold of in the first place.
So probably from here on I'm just going to wind it down a bit really. I'll leave my webpages there, which Google picks up nicely now, and who knows, hopefully one day I'll get an email from a distant cousin or something.
Posted by John at 2004/02/18 13:22:50.
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