Sunday, March 17, 2013

Known but unknown ancestors

Recently i have been lucky enough to have found a few photographs of some of my ancestors taken in the interwar period. The first photo is of my Great Aunt Annie and Great Uncle Leslie (plus a dog, name unknown). Annie lived very close to where i live now literally a few hundred metres away (though the street her house was on no longer exists) so it is likely the photo was also taken in the area.
Although i have heard stories about Leslie, who was my Nan's younger brother, i never met him (he died not long after i was born). He was captured at Dunkirk and spent the war in Nazi coal mines, this affected him terribly physically and mentally i am told. I do have his last will and testament in my archives and he did not leave a great deal after he passed away. I know these things about him and his life but nothing from the man himself.

Despite all the information we can glean on our ancestors these days we still often lack enough to truly understand them, to know how they thought and what they were truly like. The NY Times has an interesting article on how the internet and social media will enable people to record so much about themselves and how they thought for future generations (though whether people will be that interested is another matter). For now though we usually just have to rely on piecing together bits of information with hazy memories (often second-hand).

The other photos, taken from Aston in the 1920s (or early 1930s) unfortunately have no names on them so the identity of these ancestors is unknown. Sometimes we just have these tantalising snippets on the past age. It perhaps means we cherish what has survived all the more, any future historians looking into my life will have to wade though hundreds of photographs of my dinner and blog posts on science-fiction before they can get any idea about me!

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