Kevin and I have been researching the whole family tree thing, recently. It’s something we get enthused about, and delve obsessively into, every couple of years, before we get bored and watch telly instead.
On this occasion, we’ve excelled ourselves in the obsessing – we’ve expanded the Genesreunited family tree from about thirty names, to a hundred and thirty, by exploring in pretty much every direction. Two things have struck us so far:
1) When we’re looking at maps to try and find where our ancestors actually lived, we’re facing the same problems – the entire area around Scottie Road has been levelled, re-planned, and rebuilt in the last fifty years, and none of the street still exist. But we’re looking in pretty much the same area. What are the odds? I’ve ended up married to someone whom I met in a graduate environment, full of people who don’t even hail from Liverpool, and our backgrounds are incredibly similar. But for one key difference, I keep expecting to find out we’re blood related, somehow…
The key difference, of course, is which SIDE of Scotland Road we’re looking at – his family hail from the side closest to the river, whereas mine are from the inland side. I’m not 100% certain, but I’m prepared to hazard a guess that the inland side is the Protestant side, and the river-most side is the Catholic one… Generations ago, we were probably chucking rocks at each other.
2) We’ve also been watching “Who Do You Think You Are?” on the Beeb, and it seems to us that all the major celebrities whose ancestry they’ve studied have hit Poor Law Relief of some sort – Jeremy Paxman had someone claiming from the Alms houses, then being shipped to Bradford to find work in the mills, and someone else emigrating to Canada with the Sally Army to avoid the Glasgow workhouse; Stephen Fry had ancestors who were in and out of the workhouse, in between trips to Margate to be treated for TB. Kevin and I have yet to find a single workhouse connection. All of our ancestors, so far, have been hard-working, Respectable Working Class. No professionals, aside from our immediate generation (and my mother), but always with a decent trade, or failing that, a labouring job. It turns out that to be rich and famous in this world, you need to descend from Oliver Twist. Go figure.