When I was 12 years old, I had a dream or a desire to travel. I had an obsession with the United States of America. It all began after history and geography lessons where I began to learn more about our world. I remember it was a train journey across America in one of these lessons that started it all…
My obsession was extremely strong. I learnt about every US State and was able to name them from west to east (up and down) along with each State’s capital. These capitals are not what you would think. Whilst at school, I accumulated several penfriends, with so many in the US. I was able to build on my knowledge and obsession.
I had a vision that I wished to be in Philadelphia (Pennsylvania, USA) in July 1976. I had no idea how this would be achieved. However, a combination of events occurred and everything fell into place.
On 4 July 1976, I was there to watch the bicentennial parade which went for over 3 or so hours. In the evening there was a massive firework display which I watched from my hotel room.
Newspaper clipping published in the Mackay Daily Mercury on 12 June 1976.
Oh, one minor thing, I had never been on a plane nor had I been so far from the safety of my home. I was 19. My flight departed on 11 June 1976, the start of another adventure had commenced. I visited several penfriends on my journey and learnt so much more about American History.
In the Beginning.
The travel bug had consumed me. In 1978, I travelled to the UK. I also travelled around Eastern Europe. My dad’s father had been born in England. Australia and the United Kingdom have an arrangement where I was able to apply for a visa. I needed to prove I was the grandson. I gathered all the documents required as proof.
This included the following:
- My birth certificate.
- My dad’s birth certificate.
- My grandfather’s birth certificate.
I also needed to provide my parent’s marriage certificate and my grandparent’s marriage certificate. I think this was to prove I wasn’t adopted! I was then able to apply for a UK grandparent visa.
The Starting Point.
Now, I commenced another journey – a never-ending journey – in the hunt to find out more about where I came from or is it who I came from? You may see what I had actually started to do without realising what I was doing!
The family history starting point – Start with yourself, then move backwards to your parents then their parents (your grandparents) and then their parents and so forth. From figure 1 seen previously in “A New Year Dawns”, you would see my rough Ancestor Chart showing myself plus fourteen (14) others. My chart only shows thirteen (13) as my great-grandmother wasn’t married. There is another story here for another day…
I describe the journey as never-ending for a reason. Remember, you will find details and information. What one has to remember though – do you have the correct person that connects to your tree. I am nearly positive you will find a lot of men called William or Thomas (just a couple of examples) as well as those who changed their names. Again, another story for another day…
In the intervening years, my research was slow – very slow – no online records nor internet for that matter.
My story continues in Part Two…
Look forward to Part 2……
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