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.
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.