Welcome to my first blog. A series that I hope will introduce you to the wonders that I have discovered over a decade of piecing together so much. So much in the way of enlightening me to the knowledge of the history of a family, how turns of events in that past have worked through time to produce who I am and even who I share my life with.
I want to share this story with you. If it gives you encouragement to start your own journey of discovery (of self and dare I say, ‘Ancestors’) I will be very pleased. Let me know your thoughts. Share them and this story with others. It is only through the power of such unified thought that the true story of our life now and possibly, many lives can be truly understood.
My story began over ten years ago…This is what got me thinking!
In 1861 on a remote Scottish farm in Aberdeenshire a family lived along with a number of farm labourers and household staff. The farmer was a James Rae. He was married to Jean McDonald Rae. They had several children appearing upon this 1861 census. One of these children was a six-year-old girl named, Elizabeth. At this time her occupation was listed as a scholar. We’d just say a normal little school child learning and playing happily with her five other siblings.
Over time this little girl would grow into a young lady and move away from the farm. First, moving down in service to a country house in Suffolk, England, hundreds of miles away from her family. She would eventually move again and start a family of her own and settle in Wimbledon on the outskirts of London. Her children would then lead lives of their own, living through and dying in the hugely destructive World Wars of the twentieth century.
This is where I come in. I might say at this point that despite being Scottish myself, having been born in Renfrewshire, in an urban town to the west of Glasgow. I have no genetic link to the Rae family. At the age of seven years old I left Scotland and moved, via several addresses in Middlesex, near London, to a small town on the Hampshire/Surrey border in England.
So why would I be interested in the Rae family at all? Well, to be harsh I wasn’t at first. My interest arose following a conversation with my mother. We were trying to get to the bottom of her family history, as you do…just chatting. This was my first delve into what I now know is Genealogy.
Amongst the staff and workers on the Rae farm in Scotland was an agricultural labourer by the name of Alexander Thomson. He was twenty-four years old. He would go on to marry Annie Robertson having children of their own. One of these children would become a Gamekeeper in the Highlands of Scotland, learn how to drive, becoming a chauffer on a large estate house. During World War One he would join the army, fight in Turkey and return with malaria. Settling in Paisley, Scotland with his new wife and eventual family. This man was my mum’s father, my granddad.
So why the interest in the Rae farm I hear you ask, again. This is where it really gets interesting. Initially for me it was a little surreal, un-frighteningly spooky.
As is the case when looking into your family history it becomes a bit of a bug. One that grows and begins to involve those nearest and dearest around you. My husband’s family tree included an address in Wimbledon. His great grandmother was Elizabeth Glassbrook, nee Rae (Mother of Jack Glassbrook who fought and died in the First World War). She had been living in the same household as my great grandfather, hundreds of miles away in Scotland and several whole lifetimes away.
Now I know they say the world is a small place. How could it be, that this is only such a simple coincidence. This initial investigation and realisation that both my husband and I had long lost family members that would have known each other, so far away and so long ago, started a chain of events that has lead me to question some big and emotive subjects.
I’d love to share these thoughts with you. Some you’ll agree with; some you’ll totally feel are ‘off the wall’. However, over this series of blogs we can formulate our thoughts and feelings about the things that make us us and how we move through life with those we know we are meant to be with…our soul mates.
Some of the subjects this has led me to investigate are; connections to people now and the possibility to these people in past lives; why are we often drawn to feel an affinity to certain historical periods of time and could we have more than just a genealogical link to our ancestors?
During my searches I have found some fantastic resources. One of the stories that I uncovered will be serialised in my next few blogs. It was from a website called: Sacred Texts and is a story written a long time ago, around 865 CE, on an island that is now called Ireland. It is a story of love and loss, deception and deceit. It is one that transcends time and that, even today, we can connect with through the drama and the schemes born of jealousy and betrayal.
Please subscribe and follow my blog. Share with your friends, those that you feel might like to think about these subjects. Comment if you wish and I’ll take your views and experience in mind as I progress through my further investigations.
5 thoughts on “Genealogy…isn’t it wonderful? Who knew it would lead to this?”
Fascinating, I am one of Elizabeth Rae’s Great Grandchildren. I didn’t know i had any Scottish blood at all until I started looking at my family tree!
There is a photo of Clacks in Netherfield, where Elizabeth Rae grew up, on our Glassbrook Forum page. I was lucky enough to have visited the croft last year. I am also a great granddaughter.
I read this and thought it was very good.