Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Who do you think you are?

Well, who do you think YOU are? Are you interested in your
family history? "Oh, I haven't got the time or the slightest
interest", you might be saying. Or, "Boring!"

That's a shame, I think, if that's your attitude. I'm
fascinated by it - relationships between family members in
particular, as what goes on in one generation tends to
repeat itself in the next. You think that people might learn
from others' past mistakes - get out of the life scripts they
or their parents acquired ... "Don't trust (anyone)" was one
of my mother's strong beliefs, and which has affected me to
some extent.... not of course that she's to blame for any
of my dysfunctional beliefs really -- I have to take full
responsibility for my belief system.

So how much do we really know what relationships were like
between our grandparents? -- I have a fairly good knowledge
about that from my parents. But what about the generations
before that?

I know a little about my ggrandparents but bugger all about
the previous generation. All of them were just ordinary
working class or lower middle class folk. If they kept any
diaries, which I doubt, the diaries never came our way.

And so the sad thing is that generations of people get
forgotten -- their graves neglected and bones chucked away to
make way for others. How long will I be remembered? By my
grandchildren - yes -- but their children?

We can look back through a few hundred years at our ancestors
-- discover their BMD details, where they lived and what their
jobs were, possibly -- but this is like trainspotting -- just
collecting the bare facts -- no detail of what their lives
were really like -- all we can do is speculate about what
happened to them at that time in history.

It was Nigella Lawson's turn in tonight's BBC1 programme on
celebs' family history. With the help of a research team, she
delved back into her Jewish family history in Germany and in
Holland -- her distant ancestors were very poor on her
mothers' side of the family, but the more recent ones became
very rich (an ancestor founded the Lyons company - the
catering and food company with all the corner tea shops).

The BBC programme went on to show scenes of Belsen, the Nazi
death camps in Germany, just after the liberation by the
Allied Forces. Her grandparents were said to be on the Nazi
death list and would have been killed if the UK had been
overrun by the Germans in WW2. My parents reckoned they were
on the same list too (as they were left wingers). It's
good job we won the war, otherwise I wouldn't be here.


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