Tag Archives: christmas

The Christmas Gift

5 Jan

On Christmas Eve I received what could possibly be the most unorthodox Christmas gift I have ever received, but it probably rate as one of the most important gifts I have ever received.

It was wasn’t a Christmas gift in the traditional sense of the word, there was nothing to unwrap, for this was a gift of information.

To most people the information hastily scribbled on the back of an envelope would seem insignificant, even if they knew what it was they probably wouldn’t get excited about it, but I could instantly see that the information would help solve one of the long-standing mysteries in my family tree.

The information consisted of four names and addresses from an old address book, revealing where my grandmother’s “adopted” sister Minnie had lived in Hampshire after she had married. Minnie’s full name and background had remained a mystery for years and without my grandmother to ask it seemed unlikely that it was going to be discovered any time soon, but all that changed this Christmas.

The week before Christmas I had been given the surname COLLINS, this in itself was a major breakthrough and given time might have enabled me to find out Minnie’s identity, but the extra information made that discovery a certainty. Within a couple of days I had begun to unravel the intriguing story of Minnie and her parents, establishing her relationship to my grandmother and raising no end of questions about their lives.

So whilst this information has set me on the path of solving one particular mystery it has also been a much greater gift. It was the spark that has re-ignited my passion for family history. Until then I had struggled to find any enthusiasm for my research but that changed almost overnight.

My free time has been filled with thoughts of little else as I put together plans to visit record offices, trying to work out where else I can find out information that is going to add to this story and gathering together all the information so far in preparation for making contact with a possible descendant of Minnie.

It is hard to put into words the impact of those few words, it reaches far beyond just the story of Minnie because I can now see the branches of my family tree starting to come to life again and urging me to explore them once more. Probably the best gift I could have wished for.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Merry Christmas

25 Dec

I searched long and hard to find the least seasonal Christmas postcard I could, and they don’t come much less seasonal than this one. The addition of the words Christmas Wishes was a rather poor effort I think to turn this otherwise quite attractive postcard into a Christmas card.

Still it serves it’s purpose in allowing me to wish you all a Merry Christmas and best wishes for the New Year, as well as showing off some of the most stunning scenery in Sussex.

Copyright © 2011 John Gasson.
Creative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License
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Start Your Family Tree Week

23 Dec

Stuck for something to do between Christmas and New Year? Fed up with nothing but repeats to watch on TV? Bored with staring at leftover turkey? Why not start researching your family tree?

Boxing Day marks the beginning of Start Your Family Tree Week, the UK’s first family history awareness campaign. What better time to get started on your family history than the week between Christmas and the New Year, when many people will have time off from work and when families will probably be in contact more than any other time of the year.

The aim of Start Your Family Tree Week is to encourage more people to start researching their family tree by providing them advice and guidance on how to get started. The initiative is supported by several websites and organisations, at the forefront of whom is findmypast.co.uk.

Debra Chatfield, Marketing Manager for findmypast.co.uk, said: “Start Your Family Tree Week will help people make the most of Christmas family gatherings to pass on their family memories across the generations, and to share in brand new discoveries by using online family history resources.
The internet has made it so much easier to trace your family tree and learn about your family’s own unique story, full of colourful, real-life characters from the past. Every family has its intrigues, well-kept secrets and heart-warming tales, and I believe we could soon see family history becoming the traditional Christmas pastime for all the family.”

Visit the special page on findmypast.co.uk to learn more and find links to other participating websites and organisations.

Even if you have already been researching your family history for years like me you should still visit the websites, as well as possibly learning something new, you might also be able to take part in some of the competitions or take advantage of the various special offers.

Postcards from Australia: Christmas Edition (Part Three)

22 Dec

This is the third and final of the three special Christmas editions of the Postcards from Australia series of posts I ran earlier in the year (you can find the two previous Christmas editions here and here).

This postcard was sent by William Joseph Henry BATEMAN and his family in Australia to his sister (Dorothy) May back home in England, wishing her “Hearty Greetings”. I just hope that the image on the front is not the BATEMAN’s home!

I am not sure what was in the cut-out on this one, the verse suggests it was wattle (acacia) blossom, but sadly this has long since disappeared.

Postcards from Australia: Christmas Edition (Part Two)

21 Dec

This is the second of three special Christmas editions of the Postcards from Australia series of posts I ran earlier in the year.

This postcard was sent by William Joseph Henry BATEMAN and his family in Australia to his dad back home in England to wish him Season’s Greetings for Christmas 1912.

Although the picture is not really what we would call a Christmas scene, I do like the little verse:

As a token sweet
Accept this golden wheat,
Produced on Austral soil
After many months of toil.

The grains of wheat have vanished, they probably fell out years ago, but I do wonder if someone might have tried to grow them at some time!

Postcards from Australia: Christmas Edition (Part One)

14 Dec

Back by popular demand (well not really, back because I saved these cards specially) are three special Christmas editions of the Postcards from Australia series of posts I ran earlier in the year.

Like the previous postcards this was sent by William Joseph Henry BATEMAN and his wife and family back to his family in England. As you can see below this one was sent to his mother “with love and best wishes” for Christmas 1912, presumably in an envelope as there is no stamp or postmark.

The artwork on the card (The Call To Breakfast) is obviously by the same artist as the previous postcards I featured, but I wouldn’t really consider it a Christmas scene. I am not sure what is in the cut-out at the top, the plastic film covering it is disintegrating, revealing the “chips from the nuggets of gold”.

Postcards from Australia: At The Shaft

15 Sep

This postcard in another postcard that was sent “home” to England by the BATEMAN family of Australia, this one was sent by the wife of William Joseph Henry BATEMAN to her sister-in-law (Dorothy) May BATEMAN. The picture is another of the Australian Series by the artist J. Hutchings, and the card itself is a little worn around the edges.

At The Shaft

The card was sent on the 7th January 1908 (although it may have been the 1st) and serves as a thank you letter for Christmas cards and gifts. Postcards like this are great because they prove that there was still a connection with the family back home, I often wonder when people leave home, especially when they leave the country, whether they actually remained in touch.

At The Shaft (back)

What is particularly nice about this message is the reference to Siddie (Sidney Ambrose BULL), Annie’s son from her first marriage. I wonder what those books were that he was so proud of? It is pleasing to see that despite not being William’s son he was accepted as part of the family. Sidney would have been around eight or nine years old at the time.

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