Families are important. From the parents who made you to those who came before them, wearing what Philip Larkin called “old-style hats and coats” in his brilliantly controversial poem This Be The Verse: without family, none of us would be here, simple as that.
Roots Day on Tuesday 23rd December was founded so that people everywhere have a greater awareness and understanding of genealogy, and a stronger impulse to discover more about their own lineage. It’s a great opportunity to do it your way, whether that be visiting your local archive library and history centre, researching your family tree online, or simply sitting down with Gramps and going through some old photos over a cuppa. It’s amazing what you can learn in just a few minutes, and once you’ve started you may well continue the project for weeks, months or even indefinitely.
I had a rummage and found this photo of my maternal grandparents’ wedding. Harry Dale Adamson III and Iris Wilson were married on Saturday 31st July 1948, when they were both twenty, at St Nicholas Church on the corner of Pickering Road in Hull. Whilst my grandma wears a traditional white dress, my grandad looks pretty sharp in his Royal Navy uniform. Apparently he had his hair done specially for the day, although I’m sure he would have preferred a regulation side parting to the overly coiffured wave rolling across his head.
Aside from my Uncle Jim (man on the right), I wasn’t certain who the others were. Luckily my mam’s always on call via Facebook, so she was able to immediately supply me with the following information:
Far left is Pat, Grandad’s cousin, who now lives in Canada. She was probably still in school at the time. The big guy was Grandad’s friend, Ron; he was the best man. The dark-haired woman I think was called Mary; not sure about her though.
Olive Mullett is on the right of Grandma; she and Mary were Grandma’s friends. Uncle Jim was a trawlerman for a while; he gave Grandma away because her dad died when she was a baby. Far right is Shirley, Grandma’s niece.
Grandad was on the submarines and Grandma was a factory worker at Reckitts, but she left to get married cos that’s what they did back then.
So already I’ve found out a lot of detail just by sending a quick Facebook message. In my bedroom is a tin of old photographs eternalising school years, family pets, holidays, army service, caravans by the sea and all manner of other events and situations that made up my forebears’ lives. I think I might look into some of them, and I strongly recommend you do the same with your own.