28 November 2012

Families in Fact and Fiction

When exploring family history, it is interesting to find imaginative patterns.  Although I am not particularly familiar with the writings of JRR Tolkein, my maternal ancestors lived in the region he knew best.  Perhaps my relatives provided some of the inspiration for Hobbits!

My husband's maternal ancestors came from a region inspiring many legends.  Sometimes I wonder if the English Midlands, the Veneto and Australia have much at all in common.  But then I remember my visits to the Wrekin, the Montello and Uluru.

02 November 2012

Town Ancestors and Country Ancestors

The further back we go with our family history research, the more we find that we have both town ancestors and country ancestors.  Aesop's fable about a town mouse and the country mouse may have some parallels in your family history.

Did your rural ancestors behave in different ways than your urban ancestors?  Did they have different values and beliefs?  Were there differences of opinion when they met each other?

You may like to explore these two contrasting links:




Sometimes, the people who grow up in cities appreciate nature more than their country cousins do, and vice versa.  I have often preferred the slower pace of country life and the fresher air, but I have also needed the cultural stimulation of city experiences and foreign travel from time to time.





before 1900 



Provincial towns and sprawling suburbs usually do not hold much appeal for me as I often find them dull.  Such places are very much the same in many ways, in my experience, all over the world, though being somewhere dull can also provide the impetus for some fascinating online research!

01 November 2012

Searching for Useful Opinions

Sometimes it is difficult to find useful opinions, no matter how much exploring we do, whether online or in life.  How do you know when you have found a useful opinion?

Being able to distinguish between facts and opinions is a good starting point, in my opinion.  For example, I usually like the comments on my blogs to be essentially factual rather than just a matter of opinion.


Mow Cop - An example of fact and opinion


How do you distinguish between fact and opinion when writing about family history, planning a holiday, developing a business, working out what to eat, or making any other important decision?