08:19 AM

Become your family's story keeper

In his latest blog, Paul Chiddicks asks - is there more to family history than just names and dates?

I remember when I first started researching my family history many years ago, I felt like a bit of a 'collector' really. But instead of stamps and coins, I was hoarding dates and certificates.

It was only once I had exhausted all my lines, exhausted my wife’s lines, the neighbours' lines, work colleagues lines and anybody I remotely knew, that I realised that I actually knew very little about my family, other than a basic time line.

So that set me thinking, what was my actual goal and purpose? Was I just a hoarder or was I a family story teller?

Become your family's story keeper

The trigger point for me was sending an elderly aunt a 20-page family tree report that I had carefully and painstakingly put together. She flicked over a few pages, said it was 'interesting' and put it to one side. It was just a list of 'cold data', it told nothing about the story of our family at all.

This made me totally re-think my whole approach to my family history and how I was presenting my families story and where we 'fitted in' as a family, in the world that we lived.