Another year has rolled around. Last Sunday, the first weekend in March was our annual cousins get together for one of my maternal families – BAXTER.
I have organized these Cousin’s Days for this branch of the family for many years now. You can see reports of some of them in former blogs.
Although they are always wonderful days for us all, each year has been a little different, and this year was no exception. This year the numbers attending were about the same, but there were no children. These were all off representing their school or community in a team sport of some kind or another.
Another interesting fact was that all lines of my grandparent’s children were represented by at least the eldest grandchild on that line. This has never happened before. In fact, most of the attendees were first cousins to me.
In the past, I have selected an ancestral couple on that family line and prepared material telling the story of the chosen couple. In the past years I have written the story of ‘The Life and Times of Arthur and Harriet May Baxter (nee Bell)’ – my grandparents; The Life and Times of James and Margaret Jane Baxter (nee Kennedy)‘ – Great-Grandparents; ‘The Life and Times of Thomas George and Mary Baxter (nee Mather)’ – Great- Great- Grandparents; ‘The Life and Times of James and Elizabeth Baxter (nee Dixon) – Great-Great-Great Grandparents and the Life and Times of George and Sarah Bell (nee Sargent)‘-Great-Great Grandparents. This year it was The Life and Times of Thomas and Mary Bell (nee Battlemore)– Great-Great-Great grandparents.
However, for several reasons, I didn’t have the story of Thomas and Mary Bell ready in time. Firstly, I became ill while only up to the indexing of the material. Secondly, I found photographs and documents, that I had filed away safely during our bushfire crises this last year, and had forgotten about them. They needed to be included- and thirdly, I received a DNA match (of a very small amount), with people in England, who are connected to the female line of ‘Battlemore’ or more correctly ‘Bartholomew’.
The DNA research trail is something I have recently embraced although I know it is only a ‘tool’ rather than the answer to research problems. Although everyone was a little disappointed I didn’t bring all the material with me this year, they all know I will eventually get it done. They are very excited about what might come out of the DNA connection. Particularly, to my delight, several of my first cousins received DNA Kits for gifts at Christmas! They have at last sent their samples away and are awaiting results. Everyone is most interested to see how it might help with our ancestral quest.
Another plus with all my work and sharing with these cousins each year, it has now begun to bear fruit. Some of my cousin’s, now adult children, have begun their own family history journey. One visited Picton and the surrounding area and was able to identify and photograph family homes still standing after over 150 years; the old farm, with the sign still at the front gate; family headstones in cemeteries, once crumbling and overgrown, now cleared and restored beautifully; and the historic Picton Anglican Church, St Mark’s, restored after severe flooding a few years ago. All this material they put together as a slide show with video clips. All to music in glorious colour to be enjoyed by members of our family.
I know I do not have to worry about the future of our family histories. They are in the good hands of the next generation.