In the Beginning ...
Like many others, I started tracing my family history after a funeral. I had been to several family funerals over the years but this one was different: some of the usual 'characters' were missing - and so were the family stories which they always told. I realised that, before long, much of our surviving 'family memory' would be lost. So I began work.
That was in 1999. Now, as I write in 2013, I have amassed a huge amount of information - much more than I could ever have dreamed of. The problem is what to do with it all! I have entered all the detail of people and relationships in an online family tree - but much of the interest in family history lies in the stories and the way our ancestors' lives touch history. Family trees don't really work for stories. So, here is my twenty-first century solution: Greg's Family History Blogsite.
I hope that each story will stand alone and will contain something of interest to you - even if you are not directly related to the characters involved. The green links may appeal to anyone interested in family history. The red ones are more detailed and may be less interesting to readers who are not descendants.
Uncle Herb's Trousers
One of the tales missing at that funeral in 1999 was the tale of Uncle Herb's Trousers. Told to me as a child by my father, I had always treated it as a bit of mythology - until the funeral of my Nan when the tale was told by a distant relation whom I had never met before. So it MUST be true, mustn't it!
The story goes like this: young Uncle Herb was a-courting. On a lovely summer's day he had taken his young lady out of London and into the country. They found a quiet spot and had a lovely picnic. It was such a lovely warm day and the food and drink were so fine that both became sleepy and were soon snoring peacefully. As the temperature fell, they awoke with a start and realised that they barely had time to catch the train back into town. In a panic, they threw everything into the picnic hamper and ran to the station just in time.
It was only as they sat down in the train and began to relax that Uncle Herb noticed the tickling sensation on his legs. Looking down he saw that his legs were covered in ants - clearly he had been sleeping on top of a nest. Being a practical chap, he made his excuses and took himself to the WC to clean himself up.
Some time later, as the train neared the end of the line, Uncle Herb had not returned. Becoming concerned by his absence, his young lady went to investigate. She found him trapped in the WC. Having removed his ant-filled trousers, Uncle Herb had tried to cleanse them by shaking them out of the train window. Unfortunately, a train passing in the opposite direction had whipped the garment out of his hands and was, at that moment, carrying the trousers at high speed Eastwards. They say that Uncle Herb made his way home with a very red face and wearing a fetching skirt made from the picnic cloth.
Doubtless much of the tale is an exaggeration, but like so many 'family tales' I heard later it was probably true in general - if not in detail.