Author Topic: WHERE DID WE COME FROM ?  (Read 11754 times)

David Line

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Re: WHERE DID WE COME FROM ?
« Reply #15 on: June 09, 2009, 04:22:23 PM »
Once you start tracing your family origins it becomes addictive and, at times, obsessive. Today it is made so much easier thanks to the internet. As a result, I`ve managed (from the middle of France) to trace my paternal family back to 1715 and my maternal family back to an Irish tinker who arrived in the UK at the beginning of the 19th century. It`s not just the various censuses ( or should that be censii ) that help but parish records, various on-line museums, etc, that are now available on line. Fortunately the Downham part of the history is well established in-mind.

The obsessive bit came about because I had an ( maternal ) uncle killed in the First World War. Little was said about him in the family other than that he was blown to bits while carrying ammunition. No-one ever went to see his name carved on the memorial at Tyne Cot in Belgium or showed interest in his last days. But after all these years it was amazing at what could be researched. Starting with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission the route led to his old regiment who supplied copies of the regimental diary for the day he died with coded locations. The Imperial War Museum then came to the rescue with a copy of the army map for the area in which he was killed and an explanation of how to decipher the location codes. Some time passed but bit by bit the story emerged. Finally last year after overlaying the correct portion of the army map onto Google Earth I was able to calculate what I thought was the exact location of his unit on the day he died.  My wife and I visited the site using GPS for navigation and arrived at a splendid house in Belgium. The occupier was very helpful and pointed me straightway to the bunker, completely hidden from the view, which had been mentioned in the regimental diary.

The evidence is at:

http://line.david.free.fr/bill.html

and is a continuation page from the maternal family page at

http://line.david.free.fr/noon.html

David Line
formerly of Gareth Grove/ Beechmont Close

Gareth Grove 1946 - 1954
Beechmont Close 1954 - 1966

Splinter

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Re: WHERE DID WE COME FROM ?
« Reply #16 on: June 10, 2009, 12:02:32 AM »
Hello David. I have just been going through your family history and found it very well done. Are you still in France as your details are old and you have not been on site for a while (Hope you are OK?).
Born in Pendragon Road 1954 Family lived in house since 1935 Bought in 1970/1 Still own it.

Brenda

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Re: WHERE DID WE COME FROM ?
« Reply #17 on: June 10, 2009, 06:26:45 AM »
Fascinating stuff,David.    I shall be following the links to have a good look at your family history.

Bren

David Line

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Re: WHERE DID WE COME FROM ?
« Reply #18 on: June 10, 2009, 05:14:43 PM »
Splinter, yes still in the land of good food, good wine, low taxes and, most important, lots of space and great French friends. Thanks for your kind words. Brenda, as and when I have the time I`ll be dragging a few more skeletons from the closet to add to the site so keep tabs.

The great danger of relying only on memory for family history was illustrated yesterday. I got onto Google Earth and focussed on Gareth Grove - one of the camera shots shows my old house (No 63). What I had completely forgotten was that the front door was actually on the side of the house, something that only came back to me when I saw the picture. I could have sworn (on the Bible) that the entry was at the front. It makes one wonder what else has been distorted with the passage of time.

Pip pip

David Line
Gareth Grove 1946 - 1954
Beechmont Close 1954 - 1966

Brenda

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Re: WHERE DID WE COME FROM ?
« Reply #19 on: June 10, 2009, 11:51:33 PM »
David, that sort of thing happens to us all, I think.  I've always sworn I could walk the streets of Downham blindfold and know where I was but looking on a map, I see streets I've never seen before (and I'm sure they couldn't have squeezed them in since I left - except the new estate in Durham Hill).

It's in the same category as two people remembering the same event differently, isn't it?  Or seeing someone who you think is the spitting image of someone else and another person disagrees. 

I would never dare bear witness against anyone because I know memory is so unreliable.

Then there are the family anecdotes that get changed over the years with the re-telling. 

So, what is truth and what isn't, eh?

Bren


Vic

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Re: WHERE DID WE COME FROM ?
« Reply #20 on: June 11, 2009, 03:55:21 PM »
Brenda,
On my last visit to Downham I had a look at a new road of houses which are in a turning off Ballamore Road just before it crosses Shroffold Road, on the right hand bend going towards the school. I came across it as I had been to see 10, Ballamore Road where I was born. I recall my mother telling me that when I was a babe in arms she had slipped over on the pavement with me just by that turning where some boys had made a winter slide running down the hill. My elder sister always maintained that I had fallen on my head and it had made me crackers! That turning once went into some Council workshops I remember. There's another road called 'Riverside' off Downham Way almost opposite the cut to Ivorydown - I don't know why it's called that as there is no water near there and it is on one of the highest points on the estate -  which has been built where the council workshops used to be behind the flats in Merlin Gardens. Standing on our balcony at No 17 we could see the long single storey building with a pantiled roof. To the right there was a gap in the houses on to Downham Way and when the leaves were off the trees you could see the trams coming past the Ivorydown cut accelerating down to Northover. I shall have a walk round these roads when I visit in July.
Pull up a sandbag and put on your steel helmet - a further wartime reminisence: As boys we were all avid collectors of shrapnel. Most of it was from our own AA guns, but occasionally an incendary bomb would fall on the ashphalt portion of the pavement and fuse itself there before going out - one of those was a real prize. With an HE near miss there were always great shards of metal lying around. However, the Germans started dropping anti-personnel bombs with their normal bomb loads. They were small butterfly bombs which made a fluttering noise when coming down and they had a movement fuse so if you picked one up ........!
It was the tiles on the buildings that suffered the most from shrapnel. You could hear the pinging as they were struck and next morning a team of council workers would turn up to replace them, but they couldn't really keep up with the breakages.
Finally, your story about flies reminds me of when I once arrived in Alice Springs and disembarked from the aircraft some one remarked on how friendly the Aussies were, they kept waving to us. Within minutes we realised that they were waving the flies away! (I'm sure that's an old Aussie story).

Splinter

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Re: WHERE DID WE COME FROM ?
« Reply #21 on: June 11, 2009, 08:12:51 PM »
Brenda, Truth is in the eye of the beholder as he is the only one to see it (old saying).
Born in Pendragon Road 1954 Family lived in house since 1935 Bought in 1970/1 Still own it.

Brenda

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Re: WHERE DID WE COME FROM ?
« Reply #22 on: June 11, 2009, 11:13:15 PM »
Goodness, so there are new roads on the estate!  Thanks for that info Vic. I had thought my memory lapses must be getting worse.  Amazing though, where the space has come from.   Love the latest war anecdote.  As for the great Aussie wave - yes, it's those damn flies again.  I can never make up my mind which are the most annoying: the great noise blowies (blowflies) or the small bushflies which hitch a lift on your face. They drive me bonkers.

Yes, that's right Splinter, truth is definitely in the eye of the beholder.  Recently, I've heard that eye-witness accounts have been proved to be thoroughly unreliable. 

Bren