Life's little lessons, The Cork Board

Who the hell do I think I am?

A couple of years ago I spent some time staring at a screen, scrawling and trawling through endless digital alleyways trying to piece together the story of the Ps. My family. As luck would have it, I have a reasonably unusual surname and as a consequence following a family trail, once I’d fixed on it, could be easy if the scribes of the time had done their job. I was able to piece together the generations and burrow into the warren with some certainty back to the early 1700s.

It was fun and exciting. I found some fascinating stories and individuals who were worth investigating further. But you can get sucked into this until it becomes your life, literally, so sooner or later you have to look up from the screen and get back to reality.

From what I did learn, though, was that in the 1700s the Ps were an educated family and were church wardens of their parish. In one library microfiche search (remember them)  I came across a signature of a family member which was practiced and grand. Now I wish I’d taken a copy and maybe I’ll go back to the library just to do that.

I thought the trail would end there. Time was ticking away and I figured I had done enough and had my fun. Then recently I stumbled upon a record of the Ps which showed that they were members of The Palmers Gild (sic) in the middle of the 16th century. Wow, I never expected such records to exist but it seems history is being written (and sometimes re-written) every day, and it’s all there on the Webster waiting to be discovered. For the sake of context,the population of England and Wales mid-16th century was about 4 million – a vastly different place to what we experience today.

Isn’t there something a bit Monty Python about this picture ?

My hunch has always been, and only a hunch, is that we Ps came to England with the Normans, settled on lands in Shropshire having done our bit for Baron de Lacy during the Conquest, and hopefully were cultured rather than brutal.

But the recent discovery piqued my interest once again. You had to have a few bob to be a member of The Palmers Gild in the 16th century and so cultured, wealthy and educated I was happy with.

What would an ancestry DNA test throw up ? There was only one way to find out.

These tests are not cheap but for genealogists they are becoming increasingly popular. I spat into my tube and posted the kit to the lab and waited with baited breath. If my hunch was right, I reckoned on 5% French, bit of Welsh, since I knew I had a great-great Welsh bit,  if the readings were that detailed, but mainly Brit.

You may well have seen the promotional videos of people being shocked to find that they are not exactly who they think they. They are interesting to watch and quite intriguing. But from the family tree work that I had already researched I was sure that, dilution being what it is, I was pretty much mostly British. It just makes sense anyway.

Therefore, without any fanfare, this is what came back…….. !

Screen Shot 2017-05-07 at 18.42.50

Funky chart, eh? It would seem that I am almost 70% other. Primarily French. Was my hunch right?

The Scandinavian chunk was a surprise. But like many people I’ve wandered into Ikea wanting nothing and coming out with armfuls.

Has it changed the way I think of myself? Perhaps slightly but only in a knowledge sense. My character is still my character. I am who I am. I am still the sum of my experiences and education. But knowing a little more completes a picture of myself in my head, at least. And it is fun to add some colour to the whole picture. The thing is, I was merd at French in school ………….



Finally a note about “Cyclisto”.. it has moved already. Sorry. It is now here. I didn’t quite set it up correctly so if you did subscribe – thank you – but please can you do it again ? And I’m grateful for your support.

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