“What lessons did your ancestors leave that you have carried forward in your own life, that keep your feet on the ground? Do you feel that you have yet become part of the story of your place? “
Many of my ancestors moved around from place to place and established thriving businesses and comfortable homes whilst nurturing growing families.
Their lessons handed down through generations tell me its okay to be a gypsy and never the let the grass grow under my feet.
I have done my fair share of house hopping – I have lived in at least seven residences in my childhood – two of which were in another country.
My trips back to the UK have been frequent and in one of those I was seeking the place where I spent the first year of my life. My birthplace was Cardiff, Wales 🏴 but my first residence was in Eglwys Brewis, near St Athan.
For years I had listened to the story of the family’s escape to Wales during the final year of WW2. I wanted to see the place where my Dad was stationed, as an RAF officer and where my roots are.
I learned later, while reading a 1944 diary written by eldest sister Pamela, that my family left London to find somewhere safe for me to be born. The tiny village of Eglwys Brewis was the place for RAF officers, referred to as their married quarters. A row of double story houses inside a gated community – each joined with the other with shared dividing walls. [We first needed to ask permission to enter, from the armed soldier standing sentry at the gate.]
I was waiting for that feeling of belonging – of coming home – but sadly it did not occur at that moment. However a strong feeling of belonging did begin to grow as we spent more time exploring Wales.
Wales still represents a strong sense of home place for me, even though I have not been back for decades. In my genealogy research I located the Welsh roots in my maternal family tree and realised that I was a descendant of the Evans clan. Searching for Evans in Wales was like trying to find a needle in a haystack!
On a subsequent journey, I visited the town of Haverfordwest in Pembrokeshire and found the church where my Welsh ancestors were recorded. We were lucky that day as it was a special family history day and I was able to sift through the Census and Baptism records held by the church, all laid out on the pews, while listening to the history of this 12th century church of St Mary’s. Later with the help of a Welsh Genealogist, I was able to trace my Welsh connections back to the 1700s.
I live now on the other side of the world in Wodonga, Victoria – a thriving regional city in Australia. [I have lived in Australia for most of my life, arriving as a young immigrant in 1949.] This new home of ours (the seventh place for me in Australia) will be my final residence (I think) and I can be content to continue to write my blogs, courses and ebooks, and make a difference for beginner family historians.
My website provides an abundance of support resources for those writing their blogs on family history:
Be sure to get your Free Family Story Workbook, Free Story Template and Blogging Checklist from the Free Resources Menu.
My adventures into writing family history stories of my clans can be found here:
Tonight I launch my Family History Webinar Series.
You are welcome to attend and delve into the ‘Shortcuts, tools and strategies’ for writing your ancestral stories.
I will showcase how I use Trello to create my Ancestral Cards; demonstrate how to use my story writing templates I have created for you as Word and PDF documents, and take you on a short journey into creating your story library collections in Google Drive.
See the previous post for details and register here:
One reply on “Sense of Place!”
Fascinating insights and interestingly, Mike was born in Cardiff and had some fascinating thoughts on returning there in 2017!