Lost in thought, I saw a beautiful cherry blossom tree when I was doing my walk, this week. It cast my mind back to a trip to a fruit farm a few years ago. During the middle of the cherry blossom flowering season April. I remember the scent of the flowers as I walked past the masses of cherry trees. Memories are priceless and mine of the cherry blossom scent and aroma haven’t faded..
Researching my own family tree has uncovered some amazing stories.
If you’re interested in getting started, this week I have a guest post from a friend BM; he’s a real family history guru who has a wealth of experience and knowledge. So, read on and uncover your own family’s secrets….
A simple guide to family history
Have you watched a programme on TV about someone’s family history and thought I wish I could do that but it looks too complicated?
Well you can start it in a few easy steps. When you have got into family history; you’ll find it so interesting that the impetus will spur you on.
Write down everything you know and arrange it in an easy to refer to format.
Speak to your relatives to see what they know or can find out for you.
At this stage just make notes of any interesting stories that come up – you can pursue these later.
Make a note of any discrepancies without questioning them too -these can also be followed up later.
Your ultimate aim is to reach back in your family tree to about 1911 as useful records are available up to this date.
You can access census records online via a subscription website such as Ancestry, Find My Past or The Genealogist.
Some of these are also available from many library authorities.
They have a wide range of resources including the censuses which for England and Wales for example date back every ten years from 1911 to 1841. Other nations feature as well e.g. the United States and Scotland.
With luck these will allow to compile family groups back to the beginning of the Victorian period.
Repeat step 3 each time clarifying and checking what you know and using whatever relevant resources you can- not only from the internet but physical ones as well.
Finding out about the areas your ancestors lived in and the types of lives they led which will help to explain much of what you find. There are many websites and magazines which can aid you.
You can also go down the route of DNA testing to find modern day relatives.
I hope this will introduce you to a hobby which millions of people are becoming fascinated by.
I’ve found researching my own family story helps you to understand your place in the world and the things that have come to be; as we are at a time when identity has become so important.
Now we are staying home, my one walk a day is more important that ever before.
I have to admit walking is something I hated, as a child. I remember having to go on walks and thinking, how much further, my legs will fall off in a minute!
So, what changed my opinion of walking?
I first started walking regularly before I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, about fifteen years ago. I’d been suffering with lower back pain and sciatica, which got progressively worse.I was unable to work. My doctor said I need to go to physio first; to get the muscles and joints moving and when I’m mobile to start walking regularly.
At the time I thought it was really unhelpful advice as I could barely move, let alone walk anywhere!But after a few painful physio sessions. I started with short bursts at first of 5 to 10 minutes, progressing to longer walks.Now I do a regular walk every day and have not suffered from back pain so much; I also have more energy to do things.
I find my walk stimulating now; especially on a fine sunny day, it can really lift your mood.
Observing nature and seeing trees come into leaf as spring approaches is really refreshing.
I live near a park and I can vary my daily walks through wooded areas and quiet residential streets. I usually spend about 25-45 minutes on a walk and vary the terrain.
Being a fibromyalgia sufferer I notice any temperature drop as the weather changes, straight away. My joints feel stiff, I get more pain and all my symptoms get progressively worse. I still try to keep active if I can everyday by walking. I wear layers and thermals to keep warm.
I have a pair of waterproof walking boots; which are great to wear in heavy rain. I bought mine from a outdoor clothing and footwear shop in the winter sale. I’ve also invested in a waterproof jacket,woolly hat, thermal gloves and socks.
I find it difficult keeping my hands and feet warm, when it is really cold. Research shows we loose most heat from our hands and feet; so it makes sense to keep these areas as warm as possible.
If you plan to begin walking and have not exercised recently it would be advisable to start slowly first. If your joints are very stiff it might help to try gentle exercises before you start to warm up the joints.
When you feel ready to start put on some comfortable shoes and suitable waterproof clothing for the weather.Start off slowly with short bursts of 5 to 10 minutes and gradually build up from this.You will find you get more confidence and can do longer distances.
For more information about walking and exercise have a look at the NHS Walking guide. Check before setting out the latest update in your area, on staying safe during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Easter this year is tinged with sadness for so many people affected in some way by Coronavirus. I’ve been spending more time at home than usual due to lockdown.
My garden has been my focus recently; it’s been looking very spring like. At Easter in previous years, I’ve gone to visit gardens to see all the spring bulbs and flowers in bloom. Spring is a popular time of year for gardens, just opened for the year. Now, government restrictions mean they are closed, with other attractions and businesses.
As an alternative to a usual visit, I came across a number of virtual tours, of popular tourist sites. Some sites have recently added special virtual tours. If you’re stuck for ideas for the Easter weekend; why not check some of these out and design your own virtual tour.
I did a virtual tour of Keukenhof gardens , Lisse, Netherlands. On one trip a few years ago I visited it along with other places in Amsterdam. The gardens are amazing to see, they are laid out with huge flower beds, full of beautiful tulips, hyacinths, daffodils, roses, carnations, irises, lilies and other spring flowers.
The gardens are one of the largest in Europe and cover around 80 acres of land planted with 7 million bulbs.
Around this area near Lisse, are fields planted acre upon acre with tulip bulbs. These stretch into the distance with their striking, vibrant colours, making the Dutch bulb fields a tourist attraction.
A very popular place to visit in Amsterdam isAnne Franks house. Her famous diary documents the years from 1942-44 in hiding; before she was captured and sent to the concentration camp, Bergen Belsen.
A virtual tour shows you around her house and the secret annex where she went into hiding during the German occupation of the Netherlands during the Second World War.
It’s a humbling experience to see this virtual tour; particularly as our movements have been restricted so much.
Easter is symbolic of new life, my poem this week looks ahead…