I’ve been away from this blog for several weeks because my mother has died. With the funeral to arrange, relatives from the UK, Australia and New Zealand to contact, and our grief to cope with as well as the usual business of ordinary life to get on with, I hadn’t the time – or the heart.
But from a genealogy point of view, my huge loss has been balanced a little by some gains. I’ll talk about those later.
My father died when I was quite young. He’d always told us family stories, but he didn’t speak much about his own life. I kept meaning to ask Mum more about it, but there was always something else to talk about, and there would be another time, wouldn’t there? Well, now there isn’t.
I wish I could send a message back in time to myself and say: “Just ask. Make the time. Take notes. Record her memories. Don’t lose them.”
But I am very lucky because she had, for several years, been writing down her own life story and her children and grandchildren will always have that.
I’m also lucky because it was on a visit to relatives in Australia in the 1990s that she finally tracked down our elusive Delaney ancestor, Nicholas. Our branch of the family had known his name, but nothing about his life before he came to New South Wales – or much about what happened after that, either.
Thanks to the dedication of our cousins, we found out the truth about Nicholas Delaney and eventually wrote his biography and, when more stories came up, I started blogging about them. Finding new information about our ancestors was exciting for both of us, and Mum and I swapped facts and stories by email and over long chats around the table.
There are still questions I want to ask her. Did you get any further with tracking down Mary Maude Wilson‘s mysterious mother, Sarah Emma? Where’s the evidence that James Thomas Richards‘ wife, Rebecca, was a foundling? And I so much want to share my new discoveries with her.
Some of these questions will never get an answer. But she’s not the only one I can ask.
One consolation of contacting relatives around the world is that they’ve shared some lovely memories of her with me, and some other family history as well. I’ve added some more twigs to our tree. And I’m going to go on letting them know about my discoveries, and hoping they’ll let me have their opinions and add to my knowledge. It’s wonderful to be in touch with my cousins again.
And I’ll always be grateful to Mum for getting me interested in genealogy. It’s a gift that has given me great pleasure, many frustrations and membership of an inspiring community of bloggers, tweeters and other fellow geneaddicts.