Sunday, May 1, 2011

British Culture and Ancestral Homelands

In honor of the royal wedding this week it is only fitting to reflect on the impact of British Culture and our Ancestral Homelands. Not everyone has English ancestors, but all of us have Ancestral Homelands. The culture of our ancestors living environments is part of our family history treasure. Becoming acquainted with them will help us to know our ancestors and the influence they have on us even today.

The largest impact of the wedding seems to be a commoner marrying into royalty. It is fun to find royal lines as we research our ancestors. Once a family connects to royal ancestry the links can take you either back to Charlemagne or Adam, depending on the creativity of the compiler. One of my husband’s lines, that have a royal connection, fans out to cover almost every nation of the world as the royals intermarried to preserve and conserve their wealthy land holdings.

Most of our ancestral lines are more humble folk. In truth if you can't get past the 1600s that is usually the case. Traveling to England I knew there was not much research left to be done on my English lines. This was more an opportunity to visit a mystical country and experience the culture that contains centuries of history. The museums alone are so superior to anything we have here.

The first three days in England were drizzly and damp. We stayed in a bed and breakfast that was an 18th century four storey Georgian Townhouse, which fascinated me. It was not glamorous inside, but very comfortable unless you were in one of the closet sized bedrooms. Every corner seemed to hold a piece of history and it was hard not to go exploring the entire building. This was our itinerary:

Thursday – fly to London; check in 12:30 PM
Friday – City Bus Tour, Buckingham Palace, Victoria and Albert Museum, LDS FHC
Saturday – City Bus Tour, Shopping
Sunday – Hertford, British Museum
Monday – Leave London 1 PM

The first memorable place for me was the LDS Family History Center, which we came upon just by coincidence. It felt like home away from home.

The second place was the town of Hertford just north of London. This is the town my ancestor lived in before leaving for the new world. It still today looks very much like it did in the 1630s. We walked down cobble stone roads, through the ancient church and cemetery, ate at the local pub, and visited the grounds of the castle. My ancestors probably worked as servants in the castle or were very low-level royalty. They held some land and were educated.

The best part of the day was that they were celebrating an historic event, so the people were in what remains of the castle, dressed in the historic time period clothing. There was a band playing on the green. The people welcomed us and made us feel so at home.

So whether you are royal or not, the great people of England share a wonderful cultural history with many of us. Wherever your ancestors are from, take the time to appreciate their cultural past and share it with your families. It enriches our family history by knowing more intimately those who have helped to make us what we are today. Hopefully you are inspired to travel either by Internet or physically to make these discoveries.

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