Welcome to Week 35 of my Genealogy challenge, from the wonderful Amy Johnson Crow, of writing something about your Ancestors for a whole year, #52Ancestors in 52 weeks. This week’s prompt is ‘Unforgettable’.
I started tracing my Family History in the late 1990’s, back when the Internet was in its infancy and home computers were few and far between. I had very little idea back then of what I was doing, or how I was going to even research my tree.
I went to the local library and borrowed some books and started looking at how to go about researching my tree. The best and most obvious suggestion that I was found, was to join my local Family History Society, namely The Essex Society For Family History. I enjoyed the quarterly read of The Family Historian and I registered my ‘Members Interests’ and waited full of anticipation. Several months went by and nothing. So I thought about my name Chiddicks and by this time I had realised that it was pretty rare across the whole Country, but quite popular in my home County of Essex.
So I thought the simplest idea would be to write, yes we wrote letters back in the day, to everybody with the Surname Chiddicks in the Telephone Directory, yes we even had those as well!
So I sent off my introductory letters, including my stamped addressed envelope and again waited with anticipation. This time I was able to include my home telephone number. About a week later I received a phone call from an elderly gentleman who informed me that his Brother Bob was ‘doing the Family History thing’ and maybe I should give him a call. So I rang Bob and we chatted about our various discoveries and he invited me over the following week to lunch.
This was for me an unforgettable experience, my first ever meet up with a new ‘Cousin’. We shared stories, exchanged photographs, shared laughter and had a throughly great afternoon. This was to become a truly memorable friendship, until Bob sadly passed away in 2004. We met on many many occasions and I grew to know Bob and his Wife Ivy very well. My only regret is that we never got a picture of the two of us together.
On paper Bob was my Second Cousin 2 x removed, but more than that, we were ‘Family’ and to me that first experience mesmerised me and wetted my appetite for more. Meeting new Family and Cousins is truly one of the best parts of Family History for me…………..Truly ‘Unforgettable’
Life brings tears, smiles and memories. The tears dry, the smiles fade, but the memories last forever………..