So, That Project…

January’s project was to tidy up the scrappy notes I had on my family tree and fill in a few of the gaps. Successful? I reckon so.

Parish Register from the eighteenth century – not one of my scrappy notes

It’s in much better shape than it was this time a month ago, and I feel I now have a developing narrative; I’m beginning to know a bit about the day to day lives of some of my ancestors, in a way that makes them real people rather than just a series of names and dates. Working class folk in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries – poverty, sickness and, frequently, early death. Large families. Both rural and urban poor.

Then we had some milder, sunnier, days, and I guess I got a little distracted, going out and walking as often as I could. It was good to get some miles into my legs.

February’s project, then, is to finish the final draft of A Good Place ready for the final round of editing. Currently I’m reading through the manuscript and making notes, and will hopefully get down to some serious writing in a couple of days. I know what I want to do with the storyline, and it’s really just a matter of filling in some gaps.

Other than the editing, of course.

If all continues to go well, my project for March will be to spend the month painting and drawing. I’m not sure what the thrust of it will be, but at the moment I’m thinking skies and evenings and trees, or maybe a whole load of other things. We’ll see.

And then April? Whoa! Let’s not get ahead of ourselves!

20 thoughts on “So, That Project…

  1. That’s the thing about projects and to-do lists; they can get away from us! It must be wonderful to have such a record of your ancestors to immerse yourself in. I only have a few records for my paternal ancestors, but even those few details can lead to some apparently depthless rabbit holes.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve found some of those, and have managed to find civil war records, ships’ manifests, and such, but to be honest? I’m the last of the line, so even the thought of passing on information to next generations isn’t there as a motivator. I have friends who spend all their time in genealogical research, but as interesting as it can be, I’m just not interested in getting serious about it.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. No, I see your point. Although as well as passing on all I find out in the form of a book to children and grandchildren, I also intend to give copies to niece, nephew and cousins. It’s almost an excuse for me to have fun solving puzzles.

          Liked by 2 people

  2. I thought the writing on that page looked rather impressive, Mick. I also have a mad February trying to get a new poetry anthology collated and edited. I’m also writing my novel and have just passed 35,000 words. I have another at 45,000 words. My problem is that I jump between then.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Robbie. That’s certainly my problem too – jumping between them. I’m sure it’s a kind of displacement activity.

      And yes, very impressive. I think Ralph and Sarah Cary on that page are my Great X7 Grandparents.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Mick, I really like this post and the subtle humour in the first and last sentences. When I took my first glance at your ‘scrappy notes’ I was very impressed thinking how unusual your handwriting was! Then, I read the note underneath and felt rather silly. If this had been a Facebook post, I might have added a much-overused expression to express my silliness – doh!

    I’m also very impressed by your plans for February and March (I’m lucky if I can think of ideas for the next day let alone the next two months). I hope you get the editing done for your newest book. I’d love to see some of your drawings and paintings – will you be posting any of them here?

    As for looking into the lives of your ancestors, it’s very interesting that you’ve managed to discover what sort of lives they led as far back as the 18th century. My son has started mapping out our family tree on the website, ‘’ but hasn’t gone that far back. He seems to have lost interest in it recently. It’s a shame really. I’ve thought about picking up where he left off, but, at the moment, rather than looking into my ancestors, I’m trying to find out who the previous occupants of my late Mum’s house in London were. I know the house was built in 1898 and we moved there in 1958, and that’s about it so far. Sadly, once you lose your parents and find yourself, as I do, at the top of the [family] tree (which I find quite scary), there’s no one left to ask about these details. I’m planning to contact the Land Registry in that part of London, and perhaps, census records for these years. If you happen to have any tips or experiences of doing this sort of thing, I’d be very appreciative. Thanks, Ellie x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Ellie. I will be posting some of the paintings and drawings, assuming they don’t turn out too badly. And if you search ‘paintings’ on the blog you’ll find a few pages of them already there.

      I wouldn’t despair about your son losing interest in the family tree. Initially, my only interest in ours was agreeing to help my father do some research on ours, some forty years ago. It’s only in the last few years I’ve really become interested again; I think it’s a consequence of getting older – you realise that the recollections of your older relations have all died with them, and that knowledge is now lost and, well, we’re not getting any younger…in time, perhaps your son will pick up the threads again.

      My cousin and I are the only ones with any memory of an entire line of that tree, and she has no interest in researching it, so I felt I really had to. And I want to put all my findings into book form for children, grandchildren, cousins, nieces and nephews.

      What I have found out about their lives, though, is all based on the documents I’ve found online and woven this into English social history. It’s pretty sparse, really.

      As for researching your house, you can, of course, access the census records for 1901 and 1911 (and 1921 for a hefty fee) on ancestry. For each of those you should be able to find the entries for the house, possibly by some trial and error and imaginative searching. Once you find an entry anywhere near the one you are searching for, you can move backwards or forwards through the photographed records. Good luck!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Mick, sorry for the delay in getting back to you – I haven’t been well these last few days. I’m feeling a lot better today though possibly because it’s a lovely sunny day here. A bright, dry day always makes me feel a lot more positive.

        I’m glad you’ll be posting more of your paintings and drawings. I’ve just taken a look at your website on Etsy. There’s some beautiful items on Etsy and I like the fact that they’re all individual people selling their ‘goods’ which I feel they’ve put their heart and soul into. That includes your page with them. I’ve had a look at your art collection there and particularly like the chestnut one, the oak tree leaves one and the one with the autumn leaves (I think, a watercolour). All beautiful, Mick – you’re very talented.

        Funnily enough, I’ve recently ordered from another site within Etsy, but my purchase is a new golf ball fitting for my wheelchair, Ollie. Currently, I literally have a real golf ball (a Slazenger No. 4). It came with Ollie when I first got him, but the one I’ve ordered from Etsy is, believe it or not, a ball designed as the planet. I’m very into all things to do with saving the planet and other similar topics. Ollie had to go into retirement in April so I have to have another wheelchair. I’ve chosen the exact same model and colour as I’m so used to that one. I’ll let you into a little secret (I’ve not told anyone in my non-blogging life yet) – I’ve already chosen a new name for my new one, ‘Alfie!’.

        I think it’s lovely that you’re working on your family tree so that future generations will be able to know about their ancestors. I might get round to working on my family tree from where my son left off. But, at the moment, I’m more interested in discovering the history of my Mum’s house. I wrote to Hackney Council (the house I grew up in) and received a reply this morning with instructions on how to go about finding out this information. Apparently, I have to apply for this information using a ‘Freedom of Information’ request.

        I will also take a look at the census records although am unable to afford Ancestry. I think I heard something yesterday about the 1921 census being free now; on the other hand, I might have dreamt this as I’m so engrossed in the whole topic! Ellie Xx

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Hi Ellie. Don’t worry about the delay – we’ve been away for the weekend so I’ve not been on the internet for a few days, which always feels good, actually. A cyber de-tox, if you like.

          Thanks for the comments about my paintings. very kind. It’ll be good to (hopefully) get some new ones on there. It all depends how they turn out.

          I hadn’t thought that to get the information about your mum’s house might need a Freedom of Information request. You wouldn’t have thought there was anything particularly secret or sensitive about it. But I suppose you’ll get the information, which is the thing.

          As for Ancestry – yes, I pay something like a hundred pounds a year for it, although the amount of information I can get from it makes that well worth while. But the 1921 information, unfortunately, is not free. Anything but. The rights to it have been acquired by another site, Find My Past, and even existing subscribers to that site have to pay an extra few quid for each view of the 1921 census. And I believe they have exclusive rights for at least three years. Hopefully, after that it will be added to the other sites.

          Liked by 1 person

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