GenTraveling and oh, the funny things kids say

Ashdownparkhotel

Happy Tuesday GenTravelers!

My last post was in honor of the new Netflix movie Guernsey, and although I’m a couple of weeks late, today’s post is in honor of the release of Christopher Robin (Disney’s new movie that was released on August 3rd). Why? Because I’m related to Winnie the Pooh, haha! Let me explain…

Last summer, my mother, my sisters and a few brothers-in-law went GenTraveling to England. Toward the end of our trip we stayed at Ashdown Park Hotel (photo above). We couldn’t go GenTraveling to Kent county, England to research our Ashdown ancestors without staying at such an establishment, right?  The hotel is close to Ashdown Forest and it is known that Ashdown Forest was A.A. Milne’s inspiration for his Winnie the Pooh books.

This Wikipedia article has an entire section about the Milnes, Ashdown Forest and Winnie the Pooh. Here’s just a bit of it:

“Christopher, who was an only child born in 1920 and whose closest childhood relationship was with his nanny, spent his early years happily exploring the forest. It is the Ashdown Forest landscape, and Christopher’s reports of his experiences and discoveries there, that provided inspiration and material for A.A. Milne’s stories. As Christopher Milne wrote later: “Anyone who has read the stories knows the forest and doesn’t need me to describe it. Pooh’s Forest and Ashdown Forest are identical”

So, here’s my funny story of how I’m related to Winnie the Pooh: My sister’s young daughter who was probably in 2nd or 3rd grade at the time, must have overheard us talking about our Ashdown family lines, and the conversation must have strayed to Ashdown Forest and Winnie the Pooh. Soon after this conversation, her daughter was at school and excitedly shared with her teacher and class mates that she was related to Winnie the Pooh!  (And if my sister’s daughter/my niece is related to him, I must be too! Right? haha!)

Oh, the funny things kids say!

Are any of you related to any fictional characters? :o)

 

GenTraveling to Guernsey Island

guernsey

Hello GenTravelers!

In honor of Netflix releasing Guernsey today, I wanted to post about GenTraveling there. (I apologize if any of you haven’t read the book and aren’t excited as I am about the movie coming out! Haha!)

Are there any readers out there that are LUCKY enough to have ancestors from Guernsey? If I had family lines from Guernsey, visiting there would be on the tippy-tippy-top of my GenTraveling bucket list!

One lucky guy,  author George Matheson, wrote about his GenTravels to Guernsey in the March/April 2015 edition of YourGenealogyToday magazine. It is an excellent article with lots of tips and advice for anyone planning a visit there.  His excitement about the island is contagious and he begins his article explaining the thrill of finding his ancestral farmhouse:

“Holding an 1878 sepia photograph, I strolled along a quiet ruett (or country lane) until there in front of me was the same image: the old farmhouse in which my grandfather was born, with the steeple of the church in which he was baptized rising in the background.  That was in 2009. It was my first trip to Guernsey and my first taste of the excitement of what is widely referred to as “Genealogical Tourism” or as I prefer to call it “Ancestral Tourism”. It’s a curious notion — this idea of going back to a place where someone on the family tree once lived.”

If you are planning a visit to Guernsey Island, be sure to go read this excellent article.  Mr. Matheson included an entire page of resources, travel tips, accommodation recommendations etc.  I believe he mentioned he’d been back 5 times, so I’d say he is somewhat of an expert.  His closing words sum up many GenTraveler’s feelings as well:

“Genealogical/Ancestral tourism is, for me, not just about finding a farmhouse or a tombstone, but about exploring and enjoying the ‘world’ my ancestors lived in and seeing what that ‘world’ has become.”

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So, are you planning your GenTraveling yet? Where do you plan to go? Be sure to share your GenTraveling Bucket list on our Bucket List Page.  GenTraveling: It’s the Real Deal Thrill!

 

 

 

 

 

GenTraveling near Montreal

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Hello GenTravelers!

Sometimes GenTraveling takes us to sad but significant historical sites. When my husband and I traveled to Canada a couple of months ago, we visited an area where, 329 years ago, was the site of the worst massacre in Canadian history.  The Lachine massacre happened on August 4-5, 1689. Reports vary widely regarding the number of deaths that occurred.  The Lachine Massacre monument website states 200 settlers were killed by 1500 Iroquois (link HERE).  Wikipedia states there were 72 deaths. Whatever the number of casualties, this terrible event is obviously included in many family histories.  My husband’s ancestors were involved – some were killed and some were captured. Fortunately his 6th great-grandmother, after being held captive for about 12 years was released after The Great Peace Treaty of 1701 and returned to her husband and subsequently began their family – in which my husband descends from.

The plaque pictured above on St. Joseph Street, Lachine, Quebec says:

During the night of the 4-5 August 1689, fifteen hundred Iroquois landed at Lachine and placed themselves in small groups near all the houses along the shore. At a given signal the massacre began; two hundred persons perished and one hundred and twenty were taken into captivity. The year 1689 was long known as “The year of the massacre”.

GenTraveling, and genealogy in general, uncovers both the happy and the sad, the precious and the terrible. History doesn’t (or shouldn’t) have a filter.

What sad but significant sites have you GenTraveled to? Or plan to travel to?

 

Literary GenTraveling

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Hello GenTravelers!

In previous posts (for instance THIS post) I’ve mentioned that when I can’t be off GenTraveling, I like to read and escape on literary travels – especially if they are historical or genealogy-themed stories. I was NOT expecting my book club’s pick this month to be anything of the sort (just look at the cover – it does not scream ‘historical’, right???)!  :o)  But I was pleasantly surprised that a major part of the book was about Ellis Island. Just as GenTraveling gives me a greater sense of where and how my ancestors lived, this book gave me a better sense of how it would be to immigrate to the U.S. in the early 1900’s.  The author, Susan Meissner, was an award-winning journalist before switching to novel writing and you can tell she had done her historical research.

The book’s story-line jumps from the tragic 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire to the 10-year anniversary of the tragic 9/11 World Trade Center terrorist attack.  I enjoyed this particular literary escape quite a bit.  Let me know if any of you have read it.  AND, as always, please send any book recommendations my way! Have a great day.

GenTraveling – New Zealand & Switzerland

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I read an amazingly incredible GenTraveling story in a news article recently: A young girl travels to New Zealand and meets up with a cousin that her uncle had contacted about family history, then a few years later unknowingly sits right next to this man’s brother on a train in Switzerland!  What are the odds???  My version of the story is obviously lacking many important details.  Go read the full article HERE.

I’m such a sucker for genealogical serendipity!  If you come across any other articles, be sure to send the links my way, ok? Thanks a million!

 

GenTraveling to Maine

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Happy Tuesday GenTravelers!

Look carefully…can you see the established date on this Hope General Store’s sign? Yes, 1832.  I took this photo in May of 2018 on a GenTraveling trip to Maine.  It was a ‘Real Deal Thrill’ to realize I was looking at one of those old-time General Stores which was the hub of the community – where my ancestors most certainly shopped for flour or sugar or other daily necessities.  And how great is it, that it is still standing!?!

Since our trip to Maine was sort of a side-jaunt from our travels to Canada, I didn’t research Maine’s historical buildings – it was just a happy coincidence that we drove past this wonderful site.  But lesson be learned for future travels:  Check out the registered historical buildings where you’ll be going! It’s a fantastic boost for imagining your ancestors climbing the steps of an old store, home or church when you already have a  clear vision of the buildings they might have visited.

Many old buildings are listed on Historical Site Registers – others may not be.  But the local historical society could surely tell you where the older structures are located.  Of course, you’ll want to do as much research before your travels as possible.  Obviously, some buildings will have more significance to your family than others.

Yes, all of these reminders are common sense!  But sometimes common sense goes out the window when there is so much to find, to see and to do (which is always the case when you’re on a GenTraveling research trip)! What particular buildings do you hope are still standing where you’ll be traveling next?

 

GenTraveling with my camera

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Good morning GenTravelers!

I’ll admit, this GenTraveling trip to this particular cemetery wasn’t very far away….just down the street a bit. (Plus, you can tell I took my time in editing it since there’s snow on the ground and now it’s July!)  However, I liked the cloud formation, so I thought I’d add it to the Artistic Genealogist tab.

I sometimes edit photos when I need a break from genealogy. What do you do when you’ve had a bit too much family history work?