Searching on Ancestry has been a bit of a struggle recently...I'm back to the late 1800's and early 1900's and goodness...it's awful boring. There are plenty of second and third cousins but they didn't go to prison or were married in a Clandestine marriage...they named their children with sensible names like Alfred and George and Elsie with not a Happy or a Deliverance in sight. They had sensible jobs as well...Carpenters and Train Drivers and one was a conductor on a tram. No-one ended their days in a Workhouse...they died of a ripe old age in places like Bournemouth in bungalows called The Pines...
And I ought to put them all down in a dutiful fashion because I don't suppose they ever thought of themselves as boring and they need to be included along with those who died in obscure battles or on the way to the Holy Land or found themselves in a gloomy dungeon awaiting beheading...
It's just it's awful hard to summon up any real enthusiasm...there are no Apprenticeship papers to pore over...no old Wills about leaving the best cow to the wife...no-one thus far has had an occupation I've needed to look up to see what it was they did to keep a roof over their heads...
I was reading an article about researching family where the author said there be times like this in everyone's tree where you reach the point when you begin to wonder whether or not it's worth it...include everyone was the advice...put every single person down. Then when you're truly fed-up to the back teeth with Gladys and her kin...go back again to those who lived four or five hundred years ago and seek out yet another tale of battles and merchants who travelled the Old Silk Road laden down with precious spices and dyes and the odd dancing bear or two...
Perhaps it's rather like reading a book which has long passages of prose and then a couple of pages of all out action...tempted to skip the prose and get back to the action must have affected most people at some time or other...
It's highly doubtful that a family tree would ever be totally completed...no matter how often I've thought ...there, that branch is finished now...another hint will pop up and off I go again. It isn't kind to find those named Gladys who were married to Arthur and lived salutary lives before dying of old age in a quiet seaside town boring...but I'm afraid I do. I like the thrill of seeing a record from the Criminal Records appear...I love finding out the name and the tonnage of the ship which carried a family branch out to America in 1600...and my special delight is reserved for those old Wills...carefully and laboriously written in neat handwriting on a piece of precious parchment...my best pewter dish to my Grand-daughter...one Shilling for each Grand- child for gloves...the Bay Horse and harness to my eldest son...such stories those Wills contain.
I like the fact the originals are carefully preserved in a small museum somewhere in Ohio or Derbyshire...I especially like that others feel them worth the keeping to be pored over and looked at with something akin to awe.
And I like the Apprenticeship Papers...from those you can find out the occupation of your sixth Great Grandfather and the terms and conditions he set down for the boy who lived and worked and was taught by him for a period of seven years...some were so strict. No dancing or drinking or fornication...bed time was set at nine o'clock in the evening and Church attendance on a Sunday was obligatory...all that to become a qualified baker or a cordwainer...
So, I'll continue to flit between Olaf of the Islands who died from an axe wound to the head...to an earnest preacher man who loathed the Native Americans to Gladys who led a quiet life and died from old age peaceably in her bed...