Who Am I Really?
During a conversation with a friend, the topic of the family came up in our conversation. In particular our Grandparents. My friend knew his paternal Grandparents and Great Grandparents when he was a young boy.
I had two elderly, frail Grandmothers and maternal Grandfather with a mind ravaged by Dementia by the time I was aware of who they were.
The chat with my friend highlighted a large gap of knowledge about family history on my Father’s side. I knew some stories about Mum’s family as she and her sisters would share their memories and stories of people long gone.
When I walked home that afternoon I remembered when I was younger, and conversations with family. In particular, my Dad’s family.
My Dad and his family never really spoke about my Grandfather Thomas Sherry (1901-1955). Whenever I asked my father about him he would usually inform me that Grandad was a tall quiet man from a family of coal miners. His family came from a village near Airdrie called Longriggend.
Dad grew up in an era that children were seen and not heard. “Speak when you’re spoken to” was the mantra of the day in families. So Dad wouldn’t engage in chit-chat with his old man unless Grandad Sherry felt like speaking.
As my Grandfather was a quiet chap, apparently this did not often happen.
That was all I and my brothers knew about our Sherry background. Dad never spoke about Aunts, Cousins, Grandparents or Uncles.
When my father passed away no Sherry outside our family unit came to pay their respects. I found that odd as other funerals I attended brought back lost relatives to the fold.
The Sherry Universe & Beyond
When I was growing up my Sherry universe consisted of my Brothers, Aunts, Grandmother, and Mother. Up until my mid-thirties I only ever met one other Sherry and I later found out we were not related.
Having reminded myself that I knew the square root of zero about my family history, coupled with the need to take up a new hobby, I decided to subscribe to Ancestry and try to fill in the gaps.
Within hours I knew the names of Great Grandparents, where they lived, and how many children they had.
My Sherry family tree grew branches daily. Later on, I began to research my Mother’s ancestry from the Coyle family who lived in Kilsyth. Another tree. More branches.
The journey into my ancestry provided me with new insights about the past and in turn, helped me to understand what makes me the person I am today.
Family Tree research is a journey. To be clichéd, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.
My journey has been fascinating, frustrating, occasionally upsetting but a rewarding experience.
It’s a journey that can often uncover some interesting pieces of information which occasionally contradicts the family history told by previous generations.
However, the downside to researching family history is that whenever family and friends mention family, I proceed to bore the majority of them with my research.
I hope that you find my research and thoughts interesting and that it may start you on a journey of personal discovery.
And if you think we are related, don’t be afraid to get in touch.