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Family Tree Stories

by Nick Thorne, The Nosey Genealogist on December 12th, 2012

I don’t know about you, but I have had lots of people telling me today that it is the 12th day of the 12th month of the 12th year and this is not going to come around for another hundred years.

As always, I like to think back to my ancestors and so this got me wondering if in 1912, 1812, 1712 or way back in 1612 my forebears were similarly stopping to think about the fact that this date sequence was not going to be repeated for another hundred years!

I wonder about my great-grandfather working as a ship’s carpenter in Devon in 1912. Were his work mates discussing the next time the phenomena would occur in 2012?

 

Family history is all about wrapping some human stories to the bland facts and figures that such and such an ancestor was born on this particular day; that they were married here and died in this particular place on this date.

Whether you are starting out, or have already got an impressive family tree, do talk to your relatives and find out what the older generations can remember about family that are no longer with us.

Do remember, however, to check the facts as stories can get changed in the telling and also from being passed down from one to another.

This week I have been looking at a story from the second world war – and nothing to do with the 12th of the 12th of the 12th!

A close family member served in the Merchant Navy and reputedly was to join a particular ship called the Coptic. Because he was not fully proficient at his job, when the time came, he was held back to finish his training and then assigned to another ship by his bosses. He spent his war sailing on the convoys across the Atlantic and down to Australia and the Pacific ocean.

His story tells that the M.V. Coptic was sunk three days out of Liverpool and all hands were lost while, serendipitously, he made it through the war without being killed on the M.V. Dominion Monarch.

http://uboat.net/allies/merchants/737.html

On checking the facts I found that the Coptic was not sunk on the stormy night of 17th January 1941 and indeed also saw the war out, so what did this do to his story? Well I think he got the ship’s name muddled up in his head as the Zealandic, another ship of the same merchant line, was indeed attacked by a U-boat on that night and none of the crew survived.

So listen to the older generations and then check the facts before adding the tale to your family tree.

 

Tip: I have found it useful to upload my family tree to Genes Reunited as I have been contacted on many occasions by distant cousins working on other branches of our tree, who are also members of this website.

 

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2 Comments
  1. Debra permalink

    I have been doing my family genelogy for about 5 years my dad;s side is fro Rye,Sussex England, my mothers side has some cheroke Indain in them, so if you find the names Chatterton or Swain or Warren or Tate in your tree we may be related!!

  2. Maureen Coath permalink

    My father was born on 10 November 1912 (10.11.12) and even when he was really bad with Alzheimers at the end, he could still tell you his birthday was 10.11.12.

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