As a child I spent many happy hours with my Grandma (my Dad’s Mum) drawing out the family tree on long pieces of wallpaper underlay. She was a family historian well before family history became popular, a fountain of knowledge of both her and my Grandad’s ancestors and cousins. Nana & Grandpy (my Mum’s parents) contributed their own knowledge of their parents and grandparents. I had names, locations and several relevant dates for all sixteen of my great, great grandparents without reference to any of the more formal sources genealogists use.
Life took over: university, work, marriage, widowhood, two years spent abroad, a commitment to making the world a more sustainable, people-focused place. Grandad & Nana died. The folder full of scraps of paper travelled with me from home to home but was rarely opened.
In 2014 my Grandpy (Mum’s Dad) died and, not long after, my Grandma (Dad’s Mum) moved into a nursing home. As a family we sorted through their belongings including documents, newspaper clippings and old family photos. It felt important to me to bring order to their stories and the fascination with family history was reignited.
My family history is largely contained within sheet thirty-two of the Bartholomew half inch revised map “Wharfedale“. As far back as I have been able to trace at least 80% of each generation are from the West Riding of Yorkshire, predominantly the Nidderdale, Upper Wharfedale and Washburn valleys. Two of my great, great great grandparents were not of Yorkshire stock, with one born in Gloucestershire and one in Pembrokeshire. They had met, married and moved to Yorkshire by 1851. Another of my great, great, great grandparents was born just over the border in Lancashire. However this was a short term venture, her sole traceable parent (she was illegitimate) was born in, you’ve guessed it, Yorkshire. The remaining twenty-nine great, great, great grandparents were born, lived and died in Yorkshire.
Finally we are predominantly a family of amazing women and as such I have broken the standard convention of putting the male first. Where I have a choice I research the female line, list the women under their birth name and always list them first.
The best way to navigate this website is through my Grandparent’s pages: Mary Booth (Nana, my Mum’s Mum), Richard Walker Barrett (Grandpy, my Mum’s Dad), Mary Houseman (Grandma, my Dad’s Mum) and George Houseman (Grandad, my Dad’s Dad) which contain (or will contain) bios, links and earlier ancestors.
Or if you prefer to listen to the stories, there’s now a podcast version too!