Imagine 50 years after WWI you discovered that the grandfather everyone believed to have died of war wounds was actually alive and kicking and living nearby! Shockingly, that's exactly what happened to my guest, Helen Tovey's father. No wonder she became hooked on tracing her family tree. Helen is the editor of the brilliant Family Tree magazine and has a vibrant tree filled with innovative and inventive ancestors.
Resources:Support the podcast and buy me a cup of coffee https://ko-fi.com/genealogystories (Ko-fi.com/genealogystories)
For more info see http://www.genealogystories.co.uk/innovative-ancestors (www.genealogystories.co.uk/innovative-ancestors)
For more about Family Tree magazine: https://www.family-tree.co.uk/ (https://www.family-tree.co.uk/)
For more info on the railway accidents project mentioned at the end of the interview, see http://www.railwayaccidents.port.ac.uk/ (http://www.railwayaccidents.port.ac.uk/)
[00:32] What made you start tracing your family tree?
Helen explains the tree that her father inherited and a mysterious name in a newspaper that unlocked a family secret.
[4:22] How has our ancestors personal lives impacted upon our lives today?
Helen talks about us today as survivors and about how consoling it can be to find ancestors that led difficult lives.
[6:37] Do you have any favourite stories?
Helen shares stories about an ancestor that she was told had invented roundabouts and what she discovered about his life.
[9:17] We talk about the way stories are passed down generations, what is and isn't remembered.
[10:55] Do you have a favourite ancestor or someone you wish you could have met?
Helen tells us about her Great-Granny, her childhood visits to her home and her affection for her. Plus, her family tree brick walls including two possible sisters with the same first name.
[14:12] We discuss the joy of breaking through brick walls and the muddles that DNA can throw up. We share our feelings on tracing further back vs collecting stories about our ancestors and how we use our own ancestors as a starting point for exploring wider history.
[19:07] Where are your ancestors from?
Helen shares her UK and Irish roots and a newly discovered connection with Orkney. We discuss epigenics and the strange feeling of "coming home" that you can get from a place that you have actually never lived yourself.
[22:32] Do you have a favourite time period?
Helen tells us about her love for the 17th Century and her secret wish to be an international textile seller in the 1700s.
[24:33] Helen shares her links to an ancestor that put down a slave riot. We talk about how tracing your family history can be uncomfortable and challenging. We discuss the changes in attitudes towards women both positive and negative.
[29:30] What influence do you think the pandemic will have on genealogy?
Helen hopes that the archives are not too adversely effected. We talk about the benefits of being able to now meet online and share stories. Helen shares her thoughts on the way genealogists are inventive.
[32:32] What would you say to someone who was considering tracing their family tree?
Helen shares her thoughts on the joy of exploring the past and the excitement of finding an ancestor in a historic document.