I never knew my grandparents. My parents had me later in life, and their parents before them had the unfortunate combination of being older parents and dying young. In my life I do feel out of synch with generations because of this, reinforced by my brother and sister having moved away from home by the time I started forming proper memories.
My dad, before he too died quite young, had explored his family tree, writing off to record offices and mapping it out on large rolls of paper as the internet for the masses had not yet been invented. Over the past few years my sister has taken up the mantle, and with the help of technology confirmed connections, sprouted some new branches on the tree, and digitalised some images. She has gone as far back as 1750 on Dad’s paternal side.
I feel a great deal of warmth towards the people on the family tree that I know or have known, but for the remainder I care little about forming a bond (dead or alive!). I like to hear their stories, but that’s true for anyone that I see a photo of, and I like to link what I know about them with how that informed the person I have a direct connection with that, but other than that I’ve not got a lot of interest in exploring my roots.
It seems that in my family we either have a tradition, or are just lack imagination, but we seem to all be named the same. I’m Kathryn, my mum is Catherine (commonly known as Rene though), my Great Aunt was Catherine, and my Great Grandmother was a Catherine too. My dad, brother, and his son are all called Michael. And the records show a good smattering of Cecils, but I think that’s more a fashion thing. My sister and I took our grandmothers names as our middle names.
Mum’s maternal grandparents
Great Granny (Mum’s gran)
Catherine McCreight (no dates) was a laundress who married to Alec McClements and became a housewife. Died about 1951.
Great Grandad (Mum’s grandda)
Alec McClements, who we think was a dock worker on the coal boats in the docks in Belfast.
Dad’s paternal grandparents
Great Granny (Dad’s gran)
Laura Kezia Hall (1857 – 1926) from Birr, Ireland. Once married to Cecil Green her main profession was being a ‘lady wot lunched’, and the family had a servant or two.
Great Grandad (Dad’s grandda)
Cecil William Green (1860 – 1944) was a Laundry proprietor in Chiswick, London.
Dad’s maternal grandparents
Edward Witherspoon (1855 – 1933) a millwright from Mallusk (near Glengormley) married to Anna Knox (1868 – 1926).
My paternal grandparents
Grandda (Dad’s dad)
Cecil William Green(1893-1954) (yes, another one) born Chiswick London, served in WW1 from the beginning and was one of the 1st tank drivers. We believe he later became a marine engineer in the Merchant Navy serving in WW2. He married Jane They married in Belfast in 1921 and lived there for the rest of their days.
Grandma (Dad’s mum)
Jane Knox Witherspoon (1899-1961) was from Mallusk, Northern Ireland and we think they met in Germany when she was in the Women’s Voluntary Services for Air Raid Precautions, nowadays known as the Royal Voluntary Service. After her husband died she worked in Pensions Branch at Stormont (ie she became a Northern Irish Civil Servant).
My maternal grandparents
Grandma (Mum’s mum)
Margaret McClements (1909 – 1973)
Grandda (Mum’s dad)
Cecil James Anderson (? – 1974). He was a gardener and then worked at Kinnegar (near Holywood) in the army stores. He rode a big black bicycle and had a beautiful rose garden and a greenhouse (according to my sister).