Friday, January 27, 2006

Right up my tree!

In his post Sex, Religion, Drugs, Sex and Religion while on Drugs, Guns … the wonderful Walker asked for a topic to post about. I plumped for genealogy and have just read his post A Tree of Time.

I find family history fascinating in a way that I never found classroom history fascinating; tales of kings and queens, unusual plumbing* and wooden wheels never meant anything to me, never rang bells, never inspired awe and wonder! Romans, Celts and Tudors ... give me great grandpa the sailor any day.

So, here's a potted history ... welcome to the first branch of my tree!

I was born in Swansea, (Morriston Hospital to be precise), in August 1969. My cheesecloth and denim clad, Mamas and Papas listening parents took me home to a house on this road. In fact if you were standing taking this photograph (on the left) you'd have been outside the lounge window! The 2nd photo is much older (pre 1888), taken looking up towards our house ... which hadn't been built at that stage!

Tynybonau Road Tynybonau Road again

We lived in the upstairs flat of the house with my grandparents living downstairs. That's them on the right of my mother. With most people, my grandfather was a tartar but with my brother and I he was a pussy cat ... ex-merchant navy he'd been to just about every country in the world with a coastline and most major seaports. Last year when I was in South Africa one of the things that struck me everyday as I was sitting outside the hotel was I knew my grandfather has sailed from Durban to Ceylon (that's what it was called then) and here was I sitting staring at that same stretch of water!

Mum and Dad's wedding, June 1962

My gran was a whole different ball-game ... she was quieter with a more obviously wicked sense of humour. My dad called her "Toots" and my brother spent hours chasing her around the garden with worms! My grandparents met in Swansea and married on August 14th 1929, exactly 40 years to the day before I was born! My gran, the youngest of 13 children had come down from the coal fields of the Rhondda valley to work as a waitress in a big hotel in Swansea and met my grandpa. A great aunt of mine once insinuated that my grandfather was marrying below himself ... actually come to think of it I think it was my great-aunt's lesbian lover who made the insinuation! See there's a bit of scandal** straight away!

Next to my dad is my nana, my mum's mum and there right on the edge of the photo is her dad! Nana and Grampa-Carey-o (his name was Carey and that's what we always called him) met at a college for young disabled adults in Shropshire and married in Swansea in 1940.

Nana and Grampa Carey-o

My grampa was a shoemaker (the trade that he had learnt at the Derwen) and was a sweet, gentle man with a great sense of humour. He made us laugh and I remember him listening to music all the time. My mum says that my brother is alot like him ... anything for an easy life; he died in 1988 after a long illness. My nana was the tartar in that side of the family ... she's tiny only 4' 11" at her tallest and I think she tries to make up for her size with a snap ... it's either that or the fact that she's small like a terrier!! She's still alive, in fact she'll be 90 years old in August! She lives in an old people's home and shares a room with her younger sister Peggy.

Nana and Grampa Carey-o in Majorca

So there you go, branch #1 ... a little scandal, a lot of laughs and lots of love!

* I'd holidayed in France, I'd seen it in the flesh so to speak! I mean have you ever used a traditional French loo? Where to stand? When to jump?
** Yeh, ok, I know it's hardly scandalous now ... but in the 1930s ~ wow!


Walker said...

Your granfather sounds like the adventurer and your gran sounds like she married the perfect man and you great aunt was probably mad because your father got her and she couldn't have her Ha Ha Ha .
I dissagree with Branch #1 though, there afre many branches in all our trees and many a leaf to color them like your scandelous Great aunt and your grand father.
To be able to stand where a relative did once thousand of miles from home and years apart is special.
Great post again and thanks for the mention
I beat Fizzy to WOOHOO

Ms Mac said...

I loved the first branch of your tree!

And amazing photos, I especially love the one of your Granpa Carey-o and Nana!

All I ever wanted when I was about 6 or 7 was a cheesecloth shirt that tied in a knot at my tummy. I got one and didn't take it off for a week!

Fizzy said...

(I wanted one of those shirts too Ms Mac)

I loved your post Jo- I too am fed up of hearing about Henry, or "doing" the Victorians.
There is Welsh blood in my family too, butit is North Wales (Cheshire/shropshire boarders)
when I was little I had a very old Seedy(as in never be on your own with him seedy) Uncle who lived in Mold... always thought that was appropriate.

Wulfweard The White said...

Been 'doing' my tree for over 12 years. Doing the wife next.

Loads of royalty and scandal and earliest ancestor Wulfweard (died 1066). Lots of fun and you meet people you didn't know existed

Fi said...

Lovely post Jo, and great photos. Your family sounds quite the characters. Will eagerly await second branch ;)