At the same time, I have been busy the last couple of weeks helping my girlfriend type up and complete a joint project that we begun a year ago. With both of us pretty much completing the investigating and writing up of our respective family histories it became clear that one Sheppey family and one person from that family in particular, loosely linked our two families. So we've set about writing a document, coupled with old photographs and stuff, that we will make available to interested family members. It has been an interesting journey and as the person and his family in question lived a good part of their lives on Elmley in the late 1800's/early 1900's, it has also enabled us to discover even more about the history of Elmley that we love so much.
However, as anyone that has researched family history will testify, it is nowhere as easy as TV programmes such as "Who do you think you are" make it look. It involves an awful lot of talking to relatives, visiting libraries and cemeteries, cross-checking minute details, wasting time following false trails and above all, purchasing many old Birth, Marriage and Death Certificates such as the one below, at £9.25 a time, (I have over £600's worth). They are though a very important part of the jigsaw and a way of finding old names, addresses and occupations of people. Note how the one below, from 1842, has simply been signed by the groom and a witness by leaving an X as their mark, because they didn't know how to write their names. (click on it once and it comes up clearer)
I guess when you get into your late 60's as I am, you do tend to find yourself looking backwards more than you do forward. there's much more to look at. I particularly like a quote from the sculptress Barbara Hepworth where she said, "perhaps what one wants to say is formed in childhood, and the rest of ones life is spent trying to say it". I can identify with that, I've never really achieved being able to explain or describe myself, even at this late age. Without doubt, the happiest times of my life were the years 1964 to 1970, and I have spent the rest of my life trying to equal that period of discovery and contentment and failing miserably, until possibly recently.
Wallowing in the mists of melancholia is not everybody's cup of tea but I've always tended to be happier hankering after what I've already experienced, what I can't get my head round is the fact that you have to keep going forward in order to create those memories.