Daily Archives: December 11, 2014

David Harrison BRENNAN

David was one of my great-grandfathers. He was born on 30 July 1892 and baptised three and a half weeks later in Gateshead, Durham, to Thomas and Georgiana (née Harrison).

At the time the 1901 census was taken, overnight between March 31/April 1, the 8 year old David was living in Gateshead with his parents and siblings – Thomas W (14), Sarah A (10), William S (5), Robert (3) and 2yo John.

By 1911 (the census having been taken on Sunday 2 April), the family had moved to 11 Oakland Gardens, Harrowgate, and had been enlarged by another 3 children – George aged 8, 6 year old Georgina and Violet (3).

David signed up to join the British Army in October 1915, enlisting in the Royal Engineers – he again gave his home address as 11 Oakland Gardens.

Shortly after joining up, he married Janet Conway, who had already fallen pregnant with their eldest daughter! The marriage was registered in Darlington in the first quarter of 1916; and they went on to have another 3 daughters, among them my paternal grandmother. David died in 1981 in Sheffield, almost 3 weeks after his 89th birthday.

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So, where *do* I come from?

I was born in February 1979, 2 and a half weeks after my father’s 30th birthday, six days before my due date – which also happened to be my mother’s 33rd birthday – in a city in the northwest of England called Chester, although I grew up just over the Welsh border. In fact I now live less than 3 miles from the house my parents brought me (eventually… but that’s another story!) home to when I was first born.

BUT… neither myself nor my parents have any ancestral links to the northwest… my father was born and raised in Yorkshire, as was his father before him; and my mother was born in Surrey and raised in Somerset.

So although the northwest has always been my home, I always dread answering one of the first questions that comes up when I meet someone new – “Where are you from?” Do they mean “Where do you live?” or “Where were you born?” … often I add a third option into the equation – “Where do you feel at home?” The answer to this third question is simple – God’s own county of Yorkshire. I went to university in Preston, Lancashire, and loved it, but if you cut me I bleed white not red 🙂 I visited my father’s middle sister near Barnsley recently, and heaved a sigh of relief as she drove us back from Manchester over the Pennines.

As the year comes to a close…

…I’ve been starting to think more about trying to make my dream of self-employed genealogist a reality. I’ve recently completed an on-line blogging mini-course run by Stacy Rust which was really great, and it has really inspired me to become more of a business blogger going into the next year. She also recently ran a webinar on finding your target market which I was unfortunately unable to attend live, so I look forward to watching that soon.

Why genealogy?

I have been interested in genealogy for longer than I have known what it was. I remember being given a scrapbook by my late grandmother (on my father’s side) that had my paternal family tree on the back… I think it went back two or three generations. As I was born and raised in an area of the UK to which I have no ancestral links, I have often wondered ‘where do I come from?’ and would like to help others answer that same question.