Now that I term has started again and I am feeling back to health, I am beginning to pick up where I left off with my family history. I am very excited to have discovered an Open University short course entitled 'Start Writing Family History', a sister course to 'Start Writing Fiction' which I took earlier this year. This sounds just what I need to draw together the facts and anecdotes, the photos and memories of my predecessors. While I will undoubtedly need some help refining my research skills, I have a number of people well practiced and skilled in this area I can ask. As I reflect on my family tree, what I want to do is to make some kind of sense of these lives, of who they were and of who I am, of where I come from and of my place in history. Sitting in my in-box I have three e-mails from relatives, two of whom I have only recently re-established contact with, one with snippets of news, one with tales of an eccentric Great Uncle and one with a promise of photos of my great-grandmother. I am also looking at my husband's side of the family with a view to creating a photo- and story-album for my children telling them of their Great-Great Grandparents.
Suddenly I am aware of the brevity of life as my grandparents' generation reach their tenth decade and their memories of their grandparents, parents and siblings slip closer to being lost. While I develop these precious relationships I am trying to gently ask questions and to learn more of the personalities of the people gone before. I regret the relationships I have missed, my grandparent's siblings I could have known better and I am grateful for the opportunity to get to know the remainder of my Great Aunts and Uncles.