Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Finding the Start

‘Listen to the voices, feelings, sights and experiences of our ancestors. Their lives, joys and fears are within us. In that way, they are with us always’.
            You have to begin somewhere. You have to find the time in some corner of your mind. The years go by and you find you have cluttered spaces in your own home fussed with pieces of paper and scraps of others’ writings. You start to research; in the days of the world wide web that is easy. Before you know where you are you have a mountain more material. That is the situation I am in now when getting to that stage when there may not be many of my own years yet to enjoy and try to share just a fragment of what I have found.

        I have a chest of drawers full to the brim with chattering individuals from my ancestral family, all begging to talk to me at once, all wanting to promote their own family’s photo from the torn photo-bibles and photo albums - now antique - brushed by the dust of the drawer-space. 

One of the photos from a family album. I think the river is the Taw at Bondleigh

         They must want to tell me about who they are so much that the drawers may soon fall out with the pressure of hidden voices.
          It’s all about your forefathers and foremothers. And about passing on what you know. I  am not a genealogist; nor am I much of an expert in knowing all the pertinent family history sources. I do not intend to leave behind a rigorous account or chart of my ancestral roots. Every single individual's story is complicated and everyone even our distant ancestors, can be contrary and contradictory. How then can one assume an understanding of anyone, even if he or she is one's several times great grandparent? However, I can come out with wwhat seem impressive dates and names and facts. Our family's as yet known (probable) earliest ancestor is Johannes MITCHELLMORE/MYCHELMORE, born in 1570, in Buckfastleigh. That’s near the end of the reign of Elizabeth 1st, approaching five hundred years ago; in between there are a bewildering number of individuals. There is never time to settle and begin to mark them down on to blank sheets of paper, try to find them again in the footholds of history and then to reinvent them to recreate them for those who are to follow me, and for the extended family. 

          As with every family there there are a cluster of unsolved mysteries, which may never be solved, though maybe one of those as yet unknown people in the future may be able to do so ...
          Who do you think of when you think of ‘family’? I seem to have been drawn more toward my paternal 'Sampsons', but have also been fascinated by the michroncondrail ancestry inherited from my mother. I have traced the Sampsons back to circa middle of the C17, but before that I draw a blank. How long did the Sampsons live in the mid Devon village of Broadwoodkelly? Records show that they were there for at least three centuries. When did they arrive there? As yet I do not know.
          There is a parallel and fascinating situation with my maternal mothers. I have found my mother’s mother’s mother’s mother Charlotte, and I know she came from Christow in Devon. I know also that she, just as my paternal surname, was also a Sampson. But as yet I can not find definitive evidence of her parentage and indeed if her Sampson ancestors link up with the paternal line of the same name.
           But I’m not beginning with either of these lines ...
Do take a look ...

copyright Julie Sampson