Besides all the Visitors' Centre events Don and I have been reporting lately, there've been lots of other things going on. Never a dull moment around here.
We've already had a couple of visits from friends and family this year and we are expecting a lot more. Seems this is the year to come to England. We're looking forward to seeing those of you who are coming! We run a Visitors' Centre, so everyone is welcome to stop by and visit!
In addition, we've had the opportunity to do some more traveling. Early in January we drove to Bristol over a weekend for a speaking assignment. We traveled with Elder and Sister Horsley, one of our Visitors' Centre senior couples. In their early 20's they both served missions in England and actually met in Bristol. It was a long awaited dream come true for them to go back and find their old mission home and see where they had lived and worked. After 40 years, they were able to drive right to it.
The trip was also a long awaited dream come true for me, because my Grandma Dana's family goes back to the early 1700's in an area not too far from Bristol. During the weekend we took the time to go find it. Chelwood and Farmborough are two little villages where the Shore family lived for generations. To be able to see those places - the countryside, the hills, the houses, the church where they were christened and married - meant soooo much to me. What a great gift it has been to me during this mission to visit several of the towns that I wrote about three or four years ago in my Grandpa and Grandma Dana's history. When I was writing, I had no idea that I would ever have the opportunity to actually visit the towns and villages they came from. The topography hasn't changed much in the years since they lived there. I've mentioned the "spirit of place" we've felt before. As we walked and drove around I felt like I was watching myself in an episode of Who Do You Think You Are! I felt such a connection to the place, the time, and the people who lived there.
|Farmborough, England -|
not to be confused with the large city of Farnborough 90 miles to the east
|The three mile long one-lane road between Farmborough and Chelwood|
|The Chelwood countryside|
|The only church in Chelwood - this is where some of my Shore ancestors |
would have worshipped and married. The clock tower dates back to 1796.
|A walk back through time|
|The majestic Manor House (now a hotel) in Castle Combe|
|Sisters Cardona, Ylisaari, Reneer, Phermsin, and Maughan with Eva (third from left)|
After church in Helston on Sunday we took a drive straight south to Lizard Point for a view of the vast North Atlantic ocean. What a beautiful, desolate piece of land on the southwestern tip of England! The locals said it was a mighty cold weekend for Cornwall, but not having been there before, we didn't know the difference. At least when the wind stopped blowing our teeth stopped chattering....
|Elder and Sister Kearl at Lizard Point|
|Overlooking the English Channel at Lizard Point|
|Looking out over the North Atlantic|
|Off-shore lighthouse at Lands End|
|The beauty of England|
|On the way home|
A few weeks after our trip to Cornwall, Janet arrived to participate in the Who Do You Think You Are - Live Family History Conference in London. This was her second year to have a booth at the conference and it provided the perfect opportunity to promote her new book. Zap the Grandma Gap is a step-by-step guide about how to invest your kids and grandkids in their family history and why it is so very important in today's world. This year Janet also had her first out-of-country speaking opportunity. She taught two classes at the conference. We heard they were a great success!
Before the conference started, Don and I were able to spend some time with Janet by "dividing and conquering." By each of us taking a separate P-Day on different days that week we were able to spend some one-on-one time with her that we really enjoyed. Janet has been yearning for her dad to accompany her to Taunton to do some new research on his Carpenter lines. He was able to spend a day with her in the Somerset Heritage Centre in Taunton checking out parish records and copying christening, marriage and burial records on his patriarchal line in Bradford-on-Tone. They had an amazing opportunity while there. They were able to hold some of the original wills and documents of Don's 4th and 5th great-grandparents - including their signatures and wax seals. Some of the documents are older than the Declaration of Independence. What an experience!
|Janet and her dad visited Trefusis Farm where at least four generations |
of the Carpenter family lived near Bradford-on-Tone
|St. Giles Church in Bradford-On-Tone|
|Carpenter family property deeds from the 1700's at the Somerset Heritage Centre|
|Inside St. James Church in Taunton-|
where Don's 5th great-grandparents were married in 1731
On the next Sunday, February 17th, after church, we took a drive with Janet to the cemetery in Gravesend, an hour north of where we live, to find some Carpenter ancestors' graves. We had already visited Gravesend once before at Christmastime in search of Carpenter homesteads (see January 2013: And Then There Were Five). We were so excited when we found this headstone in the cemetery:
|At the Gravesend Cemetery|
|The Carpenter family tombstone|
|The Carpenter headstone in the cemetery at Gravesend.|
On Monday I got my turn to spend some time with Janet. She had already invited me to take the train into London with her and go to tea - a thank-you of sorts for some editing I did on her book before Christmas. She didn't have to twist my arm -- I really wanted to go to tea once while we're in England! We had a great time!
|Janet in Victoria Station|
|Having tea at the Orangery at Kensington Palace |
with my oldest daughter was so much fun that I'm thinking
we'll make it a new mom and daughters tradition at home...
|I could get used to this!|
The lemon ginger herbal tea was the best!
|"Who Do You Think You Are - Live" at the Olympia Exhibition Centre|
|This Family History conference draws about 40,000 people every year|
Family History is a huge hobby in the U.K.
|Lisa Louise Cooke and Janet at their booth|
The conference really made me long to get back into family history when we get home!!! I love family history conferences!
|Spending a few minutes at the Church's FamilySearch booth|