Why You Should Look Up Your Family History

This is a collaborative post.

Watch any TV for long enough, and you’ll be sure to see an advert for looking up your ancestry, your family tree, your family history, your DNA. According to ABC News, genealogy is now the second most popular hobby in the U.S. after gardening, and it’s the second most visited category of websites, after pornography. It’s a billion-dollar industry that has meant the creation of profitable websites, tv shows, books and an advent of over-the-counter genetic test kits resulting in a cottage industry in DNA ancestry testing.

People have a fundamental desire to know where they came from and how they got to where they are today. Chances are many of your ancestors overcame considerable personal hardship in their lives and knowing that your ancestors had this tremendous inner strength can be a powerful motivator if you’re trying to understand your place in the world. If it were not for your ancestors, you would not be here today.

Genealogy is history on a personal level. Discovering this history helps people to satisfy a deep need to understand how they fit into the broader world around them. It is more than just a collection of single family threads passing through time but many lifetimes woven together from the past, present and the future to create one journey. Genealogy is not only now a favorite pastime, but it is also important because it lies at the heart of the human condition.

Family history is booming today as the internet and social media have meant that we have access to transcripts, high-speed indexes, and digitized images, and you can now do a lot of research from the comfort of your own home. Genealogy is an information-based activity, and in just a few hours you can achieve more than would have been possible a few years ago.

We also live in an age where many of us live in different cities, maybe even in different countries or on different continents, from where our parents or grandparents lived, let alone our ancestors from centuries gone before. We now routinely travel around the world, whether on business or for pleasure, visiting places our ancestors had probably never heard of making the history of our families far more interesting than it ever has been before.

It’s exciting to find out who has gone before you and to honor their stories. There is likely to be a history of heroes, black sheep, ordinary people, matriarchs and patriarchs, babies or children who died, and all those in the middle – they were real people, and their blood runs through your veins. You might even find out you’re related to someone like Rob Roy, the Royal Family or William The Conqueror.

Some people in your family will be interested in family history, so it’s good to preserve it for those who come after you. Kids might need to know about it for a school project, or they might have lots of questions.  

Are your children anything like you?  Are you anything like your parents? Blood is thicker than water, and when you look at your family’s past, you might be surprised at what looks back at you, and you can learn an awful lot about yourself, and it’s nice to feel like a part of something bigger than yourself.

Looking through family history can be families together through their shared history. While the whole family may not all be interested in everyone or everything, some of them are interested in someone or something. Quite often you’ll be surprised at how much people have to share themselves – a story, a document, a photo, a family artifact, or a question that can then put you on a whole new path of research. For the elderly members of your family who are suffering from memory loss, the memories from long ago are the last to fade.  While they may not remember their grandchildren’s names, they might remember their grandparents’ names.

The longer you wait to get information on your family history, your grandparents, aunts and uncles, and parents get older and people pass away. Their belongings then get scattered, and more of your history will fade into the mist.  Find out what you can from those who are still alive. Look around your house or theirs and see what has survived. You never know what you might find.

“Trees without roots fall over.”—anonymous

Our Half Term Plans

This is a sponsored post.

Can you believe it is half term next week? I know that some of the country have had it this week but we are lucky enough to have it next week when everything will be a little quieter. What have you got planned for half term if yours is next week too?

We are having a lazy day on Saturday – relaxing and enjoying the first day off. We’re also heading off for a couple of days (with Mum keeping an eye on things here) so there will be plenty of content coming in the next few weeks about what we got up to! I’m so excited – it is going to be nice to get out and about with my little family because it has been far too long since we did something like this as a family. Steve also has to work some of the week unfortunately – getting the school all ready and sorted for when the kids go back the week after, so we’ve got to factor this into our plans. This happens every school holidays so we have to work around it as best we can – it isn’t always easy but we do try.

I’ve also got a few different errands I need to run and things I need to get done. I’m considering getting a good quality locksmith in to check over our locks – they seem to be working fine but get stuck every now and again and I want a professional to take a look and check everything is okay. I also want to get on top of my admin, get caught up with blog stuff and reviews and perhaps even find some time to get some more reading done. I’ve got a few books that have come in for review in the past few weeks so I want to get them read and get my thoughts drafted up. However, I might take advantage of going away and read them then!

Other than that, I want to chill and relax. It is going to be nice not having to do the school run for a week – it is my most dreaded part of the day because trying to get Jack up and out the door for school is an absolute nightmare. So I want to have some days where we just stay in and watch some movies, read some books and play some games. Not too much to ask, right?

Have you got anything nice planned for the half term? Or did you have half term this week? What did you get up to? I’d love to hear all about it.

30 Before 30 | An Update As I Turn 29

Yesterday I turned 29 – and it got me to thinking…how have I got on with my 30 before 30 list? If I am being perfectly honest, I had actually forgot about it – whoops! I have revisited it and am happy to see that I have managed to achieve a few – and let’s not forget I still have 364 days to complete as many of the rest as I can.

 

1. Finish writing my novel and hopefully get it published. If not, I plan on self publishing – This hasn’t happened. A lot has happened in the last few years and I just haven’t had the time.

2. Hopefully have another child or two. Will have to rely on nature for this one! – Yes, I’ve been pregnant twice since I made this list. Unfortunately one ended in a miscarriage, however if that hadn’t happened, I wouldn’t have got pregnant with Olivia and have her in my life now.

3. Finish reading through my entire Agatha Christie collection. I have had some for almost 13 years, oops – Another one that hasn’t happened due to timing. Hopefully this year!

4. Finally get round to meeting Sarah. It will happen, people! – This also hasn’t happened yet but I would love to meet her this year.

5. Buy a house. This means a lot of work and a lot of saving. – I don’t see this happening before I turn 30.

6. Completely clear any debt we have. Except for the mortgage if we buy a house – I am hoping to go into my thirties debt free but this hasn’t happened yet.

7. Finish re reading all of the Point Horror books – I haven’t achieved this yet, mainly because I haven’t been able to source all the books yet and I am not paying silly prices on eBay for them!

8. Get married. Because, you know, we’ve been engaged a while now – Yep, this hasn’t happened but hopefully soon. We don’t need a big old wedding.

9. Visit Greenway, Agatha Christie’s home in Devon – This hasn’t happened yet but I love Devon, it could happen this year.

10. Make plans to go on the Orient Express. Perhaps this could tie in with a wedding, it would be a lovely honeymoon – This is so expensive, it is very unlikely to happen.

11. Visit Highgate Cemetery. It really intrigues me – I haven’t visited yet but perhaps this could be a day trip for the summer.

12. Watch our complete DVD collection. We’ve got lots of DVD’s and quite a few haven’t yet been watched… – This hasn’t happened yet but is actually much more achievable now as we decluttered a lot of our DVD’s.

13. Watch Dexter from beginning to end. I never watched it all the way through but I really want to – Not yet but I’ve still got 364 days and I am just finishing up the 9th and final series of Forensic Files on Netflix so who knows?

14. Finally finish watching Desperate Housewives all of the way through. I’m currently stuck in the middle of season 2 – I was actually doing well with this and then Sky removed the boxset! I am going to see if Virgin have it now we are back with them.

15. Actually do something with my YouTube channel. I’ve made 3 videos so far but still not quite brave enough to be on camera – Finally something I can say I have sort of achieved! There are definitely a lot more videos on my YouTube channel now but I haven’t done much on there for quite some time.

16. Visit the Harry Potter studios. I have no excuse, it isn’t as if they are that far from where I live – You would think I would have achieved this by now, seeing as it is down the road from me but nope. Hopefully this year!

17. Go and see The Mousetrap, a play by Agatha Christie – This has been on my bucket list for YEARS and yet I still haven’t managed it. Whoops!

18. Go to a book festival. Because I love all the books – I actually managed to achieve this a mere few weeks after writing my list – read all about my trip to Paris and a literary festival here.

19. See Derren Brown – This hasn’t happened yet and I am not too sure it will happen before I am 30.

20. Ride in a hot air balloon – I haven’t done this yet but there’s still time, right?

21. Watch every single film on a top 100 list – probably IMDB’s – A film every 3.64 days should make this achievable, right? Does it count as cheating if I have already seen some and tick them off as completed on the list or do I have to rewatch them? Decisions, decisions.

22. See the Northern Lights. I want to travel more, much more – This could happen, this could not. We are waiting on some money to come through and the Northern Lights is something that both Steve and I are interested in so who knows?

23. Go for afternoon tea with my Mum or best friend (or both!) – I’ve managed this! Read all about my afternoon tea at Moggerhanger Park here.

24. Write an article for a magazine or newspaper – This hasn’t happened as such. I’ve written for some different companies online and some online mags, I’ve appeared in a magazine but haven’t actually written an article for a magazine or newspaper as such. I’d count this as half a win.

25. Host a dinner party – I’d say this is an ish. Steve cooked a homemade Chinese buffet for family which I suppose counts?

26. Attend at least 5 gigs – Nope, this is a fail.

27. Visit the British Library – I wish I could say this had been achieved but no.

28. Start looking into my family tree again – I haven’t done this yet but it is something I am planning on doing this year.

29. Go to see a musical in the West End – I haven’t done this but my friend and I are planning to do so this year.

30. Learn something new. Whether it is a new language or how to sew.. just something new – I’ve definitely learned a few more things along the way since I originally wrote the list but nothing as good as a new language or how to sew. There’s always time though!

So I’ve got 364 days to achieve as much of this list as possible. How do you think I will do?

Why I Love Receiving Flowers

Collaborative Post

I don’t know about you but one of my favourite gifts to receive is a bunch of flowers. In the almost ten years we’ve been together, Steve has bought me flowers only a handful of times but this is something I actually appreciate – he only gets me them when it is something meaningful. I’d much rather receive them very occasionally than receive them all the time which diminishes the meaning, to me.

Something else I also appreciate is the fact that he actually considers their meaning to – he doesn’t just choose the nearest possible flowers. He once got me an orchid, simply because he knew it was my favourite.

The meanings behind flowers is something that has always fascinated me. I think this stems from having both a father and a grandmother who loved nothing more than being out in the garden, cultivating their flowers, their plants, their crops. It seems to have spurred an interest in me.

With Valentine’s Day coming up, we can expect sales of roses to go through the roof. We will soon be seeing them everywhere – florists, supermarkets, petrol garages – and people will be buying them in their droves. But how many should you buy? Did you know there’s a meaning for how many roses you buy in a bouquet? That’s good to know, right?

Sidney Pearce

We’ve all seen people handing over that one single red rose but did you know that symbolises love at first sight? Nine roses tells your partner that you want to be together forever and a dozen symbolises infinite love (probably why a dozen is the most popular choice of rose bouquet).

It is so interesting to find this out about rose bouquet choices, especially in the lead up to such a romantic occasion. If you are wondering what number of roses to get your loved one, then you should definitely be finding out what number means what.

I love receiving flowers because they’re special, they show how Steve appreciates me and that he wants to show me. I love that I don’t receive them constantly as I feel like they would lose meaning if I was to receive them all the time. Receiving them infrequently means they are a surprise and not expected – something I truly appreciate.

Do you like receiving flowers as a gift? Do you like to receive them frequently or is it better when they’re not expected? I’d love to know!

The Top 7 Tag

I was recently tagged in this by my lovely friend Amy from Amy Georgia, someone who I met through blogging but is now an IRL friend too! The tag asks us to share our 7 favourite blog posts from last year, 7 things we loved in 2018 and 7 things I am looking forward to doing in 2019. I tag anyone who wants to complete this to give it a go! Here goes…

7 favourite blog posts from 2018

Visiting Paradise Wildlife Park Over The Half Term – Paradise Wildlife Park is one our favourite places to go as a family but we hadn’t been since the dinosaur section had been added. It was such a lovely day out as a whole family!

Seven – I can hardly believe my boy is seven now. Here’s a little post I wrote for him for his birthday.

Happy Birthday, Olivia – I wrote this post to celebrate Olivia’s first birthday – such a milestone!

A Day Out At Diggerland, Kent – I’ve got a few of our days out on this list, I love spending time together as a family.

Enjoy Some Halloween Fun At Freaky Funfest At Mead Open Farm – This was my first time visiting Mead Open Farm and it was such a lovely experience, especially with the Halloween activities. I’ll definitely be going back again.

Christmas Crafting With Baker Ross – I loved doing these crafting activities with the kids.

Why You Should Go and Get Your Smear Test – This was a post I really felt the need to write – smear tests are so important and we shouldn’t put them off.

7 things I loved in 2018

1 Celebrating Olivia’s first birthday – it was so much fun!

2 Likewise, Jack’s seventh birthday was a lot of fun – we headed to the cinema with some of his friends.

3 I adored all of our days out together, we did so many different things and had so much fun!

4 I got to see Jack’s learning grow – he is telling me new things every single day.

5 I got to attend a fantastic restaurant launch in Harpenden, the food was delicious.

6 I got to spend some fun times with friends

7 Seeing Olivia grow so much in just a short space of time

7 things to look forward to this year

1 Hopefully paying off most – if not, all – of our debt.

2. Lots more fantastic days out as a family.

3. We are hoping to go on holiday somewhere nice this year.

4. Hopefully building upon my business and growing.

5. More days/nights out with friends

6. Do amazing things in the summer holidays

7. Try something new

So here are my answers for the top 7 tag, what would yours be?