Family Research Part 2

I guess most of us want to find out in our family research that we are descended from Mary Queen of Scots or related to another famous person. I mentioned Mary because I knew someone who always claimed this. Her family scoffed at the idea until after her death, they discovered some papers which suggested a royal connection. In New Zealand, I played croquet with Max who showed me papers with a family tree that dated back to the Norman Conquest of England. His ancestor was one the knights who accompanied William and survived the Battle of Hastings.

Most of us have ordinary ancestors. I am not sure these days whether I should be proud of mine or not After all, they were part of the colonial influx which took land from the Maoris. The situation is double confusing because the Maoris themselves were invaders who took land from the Morioris. I suppose the colonial influx was far worse because of its large scale. Thousands of people arrived in the country in the big immigration wave of the nineteenth century. They included my ancestors who came from Ireland and Scotland. When I think logically about it, I can only consider their acts in their historical context. My great-grandfather received a medal for taking part in the New Zealand Land Wars where the Maoris and Europeans were adversaries. I am sure he thought he was doing the right thing. In later years, he lived peacefully among Maoris in a small village where all the kids attended the same school. I hope the pupils were treated equally regardless of race but have some doubts and no proof.

It is interesting to note how ideas change. Australia was founded by people who were judged to be felons at the time. We have trouble now accepting the harsh laws that condemned them. People are pleased to be descended from well-known outlaws like Robin Hood or Ned Kelly. But what if your family member was Lizzie Borden or a more modern murdered. Do you claim that connection or bury it? (Pun not actually intended.) I am thinking about this situation because in your research, you might discover a relative who was imprisoned for a crime like assault or burglary. Do you mention this fact when you are compiling a family history? I haven’t decided where I stand on this difficult issue.

I planned to do a lot of family research during the first pandemic lock down. It seemed an ideal opportunity but I did zero, nada, nil and none. I was seized by an inertia which has taken months to clear. Maybe I should get working now before the second wave of covid and inertia hits me.