Saturday, 1 August 2009

Great-great grandmother Sarah

I am still following a personal rabbit-trail into my family history. Having learned the name of my paternal grandmother's father, I did an internet search and discovered that my father's cousin in Canada has researched that part of the family and collated some old family photos. This one shows my father as a little baby, with his mother (my grandmother), her father and his mother: my great great grandmother. Her name is Sarah and she was born in 1862.I keep staring at this picture, although I'm not sure what I'm looking for. Some clue to who I am perhaps?
Sarah was born just 109 years before me. With a similar gap, I will have great-great grandchildren living before the end of this century. This gives a new clarity my feelings on the issues facing our world, my world: terrorism, rogue nuclear states, climate change, limited resources, increasing pollution, genetic engineering. It has become clear to me how, without realising, I have not bothered to care much about these issues, the future seems hazy and uncertain, too frightening to think about perhaps, and certainly not my problem.
Sarah lost a son in World War I and lived through almost all of World War II, and yet, when she was my age, Queen Victoria was still on the throne. I wonder how the future looked to her then and whether the Great War seemed like the end of the world? How distant my life is to hers and how different my great-grandchildrens' will be to mine. It seems very important to me now to be purposeful in what I pass on.

1 comment:

Jane D. said...

I am trying to muster the nerve to some research into my mums family - you are inspiring me.