Notes on a family


I’ve been writing this blog, firstly as ‘Life in Laroque‘, and later, when we returned to England, as ‘From Pyrenees to Pennines‘ for eight years now.  I’m beginning to feel the ‘brand’ is becoming a little tired, and that I may no longer post quite so regularly.

But I shan’t stop writing.  I’m planning to start a blog that  I’ll call ‘Notes on a family‘, which will mainly be for family members to read.  I can’t think it will attract many followers from further afield.

Mine is a relatively small family.  As a child, I had no brothers, no sisters, no grandparents, no aunts, and only one uncle, whom I met once.  Obviously then, no cousins either.  I didn’t mind.  I listened to my schoolfriends moaning about the torments of having a brother,  how annoying their sisters were, and how embarrassing they found their Uncle Norman and Auntie Elaine, and took their comments at face value.


This makes me feel very old. It’s my mother with her younger brother. Such a period piece.

One of my regrets when my mother died was that I’d asked her so little about her family.  Her father, for instance, who’d died when she was 19.  He was one of 8 siblings born to a poor London family.  Alone among those siblings, he was sent to Grammar School, which can’t have been at all easy.  He won a scholarship to Cambridge, where he did exceptionally well, and became a parish priest.  What’s the story there?  I shall never know now.

My father too.  He came from Poland during World War II.  His family were well-to-do landowners at one point, but his father died when he was 12. Because his mother remarried and I don’t know what her new surname was, I have no means of tracing any family members there.

But there are leads I can follow, and I have started to do so.  My new blog will not be organised chronologically.  Rather I’ll tell tales as they occur to me, recount results of research when I have any successes.  Here’s the first post.

15 thoughts on “Notes on a family

  1. Well, okay, I guess you can have a new blog as long as it sounds so interesting! I do hope you keep writing here, as you are inspired . . . Happy New Year, Margaret!


  2. Our journey through life is interesting and something of a paradox. I’ve enjoyed following your adventures in France and your return to England. I love reading of your walks in the countryside and the your work in the community. It will be a joy to follow your adventures of learning of your family. Wishing you and your family a Happy New Year and Peace.


  3. Well I wasn’t tired of your previous blog, not at all, but I’m sure I’m going to enjoy this new one. So interesting already! I too love the exercise book and the beautiful writing whose style I recognise very well, being a bit older than you but not that much. Er, ‘Barton’ isn’t a Polish name, at least not as far as I know. Watch this space, I guess. Happy 2016!

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    1. Ah, well you’ll have to wait for the chapter on why it is indeed not a Polish name that became our family surname. Happy 2016 to you too!


  4. I do hope you continue to write about your wonderful countryside walks and your work on heritage sites from time to time! I understand completely your desire to delve into your family more and am sure the rest of your family will appreciate it. Good luck!


  5. i also shall miss your posts from my homeland as well as “my” bit of France. Great photos, I have a wall of similar know to all as the dead rellies wall and it’s fascinating to trace family likenesses.


  6. Hey, you don’t get rid of me that easily! I’ll continue to post, just not perhaps as often. I have two books of albums of ‘dead tellies’ Who are they? I don’t know. Perhaps the albums should go. I know you’d tell me to chuck ’em.


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