I was pondering the other day on the diverse fortunes of my ancestors and began to compare the early generations between my father’s paternal tree and my mother’s paternal tree and found it quite fascinating.
I compared the two hundred years between seventeen and nineteen hundred.
I’ll begin with my mother’s ancestors:-
At the beginning of the year 1700 this family were Gentlemen farmers and apparently from the records were quite a wealthy Shire family. They had a large Estate with cottages which housed the Estate workers… Where the family money originally come from is unknown – I just hope it was by legitimate means!!
The following three generations sustained this wealthy lifestyle and then – as so often happened in these families, along came a *black sheep* who somehow frittered the money away, possibly by gambling - but I don’t have proof of how he squandered it. ..With the money virtually all gone his immediate descendant was left with enormous debts to pay off. The family house had to be sold and the Estate broken up into segments and sold off…. Definitely a case of *where the mighty have fallen*! It took another two generations – up to my gt grandfather before the family eventually found it's feet again.
On the other hand, in 1700 hundred and right through the following hundred and forty years my father’s ancestors were rural peasant people, with lowly aspirations. They were so poor that one of my ancestors during that time resorted to petty larceny and served twelve months in prison – his plea said it was the only way he could find to put food on the table for his family.
…Probably seeing their father sent to gaol proved a salutary lesson for his children, as all his sons (my gt gt grandfather was his fourth son) found some kind of employment and worked hard to haul themselves out of the poverty trap. Therefore when it came to my gt grandfather’s generation he and his siblings could be known as solid working class people
It's left me contemplating of how these two families who originally came from opposite ends of society eventually merged, and because of this, I am who I am.