I survived speaking to the local WI on Valentine’s Day. I commented how appropriate it was to be speaking about family trees on 14 February as after all romance and relationships are the building blocks of a family.
The talk was entitled ‘You and Your Family Tree’. The “You” bit was to encourage the ladies present (and indeed anyone reading this) to write down their family stories and memories for future generations. I also asked them to label their photographs. I read an extract from my mother’s memoirs about when she contracted diphtheria (a little daunting as she was in the audience!).
I knew that some of the attendees would have traced their family trees and agonised for a long time about how to make the talk interesting for them too. In the end I focussed on my 4times great-grandfather who was born in 1795. His life spans several changes in records. He is definitely an ancestor who wanted to be found as he left me lots of traces of his existence. This format enabled me to cover church records, birth, marriage and death certificates, tithe maps, vestry minutes, census, inquest documents, wills, monumental inscriptions, a bill of sale, photographs and many more.
It seemed to go down well. I could have easily talked for two hours instead of one, but then I have been tracing family trees for thirty years now. The added bonus was the delicious cake and cup of tea at the end and a cheque for the local Multiple Sclerosis Society.