copyright Paula R C ReadmanLast night I phoned a cousin I hadn’t hear from for quite awhile. We first made contact when I was researching my family history in 1989. Vanda is quite a bit older than me and now in her early 80’s.

Last night her husband told me her sad news and the reason she hadn’t been in contact with me. She has dementia.

It’s such a wicked thing to think that after years of researching our family history and all those amazing stories we had undiscovered together are now lost to her.

I remember the excitement we shared as she learnt how to use a computer to record all the information, which now lays untouched in her study. Her dear husband said, ‘I been thinking about you, Paula as no one else is interested in the family, would you like Vanda’s research.’copyright Paula R C Readman


I realise now when family historian gather together the pages of our place in history, it’s really for ourselves and not for future generation, as it has no value to other family member because it is only the things of monetary value most people want, the things you see on the antique road show.

Here are two things I’ve collected linking my family’s part in history

1) Medals of an ancestor who serviced in two World Wars, sold by his son which I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time to buy the lots. They will be on show in Whitby museum this year. 2) Information about two ancestors and their place in history which brought about the end of the whaling industry in Whitby.

Copyright Paula R C Readman

Now which do you think has the most value?

I would like to think every thing has a real value without have a price tag on it.  That history can teach us much about who we are,  where our roots lay and our place in every day history of the common man.


Maybe I’m too much of a dreamer, a teller of stories. Uncovering my history, my family history has give me a real understanding of what makes me who I am today.


Best wishes, and thank you for reading my posting.


Paula R C.



    1. I find it so sad that so many people no nothing about their past. All that I uncovered about my family came from just know that my great grandfather was born in a place called Whitby, and my grandmother didn’t like it because it was too windy there. My grandfather was only 26 yrs old when he died leaving behind a young wife with two children.


  1. Hi Paula .. I’m so glad your uncle offered you Vanda’s research .. I sincerely hope you said yes and will keep Vanda’s memory too via her papers … and utilise it all somehow.

    Value – it’s all in the story isn’t it … and so if we all have one small story we shall have added value to our family’s world .. both: the two Service medals – thank goodness you were able to get them back, and then the story about whaling – that’s so important … what a wonderful bit of history ..

    I might get to Whitby one day .. thanks for the great post – cheers Hilary


    1. If you do go to Whitby, Hilary. Check out the Museum and you will see a painting of my 4x great grandfather Captain Thomas Hodgson. When my cousin Janet died her wish was for the painting to go to the museum. I carried out that wish, so future generations could see what he looked like and know his story.


  2. Yes, what a moving post. It’s odd how many people aren’t interested in their family history. My late father wasn’t the slightest bit interested and my mother is now 90 but believes in the present and not the past. However I have only one cousin and his wife has done an awful lot of research into my mother’s side of the family and also my father’s which is a wonderful folio. !’ve seen some amazing photos and have found out some interesting facts. Unfortunately, both my grandfathers who fought in World War I, like many of those who survived as they did never spoke of their experiences. One died in the 1970s and the other in the 1980s (he sadly and to our annoyance sold his medals to an unscrupulous man who knocked on his door and paid practically nothing!) Now I can never find out the truth and it’s all lost.


    1. Thank you for your comment, Sally. It’s so sad when family items are sold off. Russell and I quite often say the same things when we see things like that being sold off on TV programmes like ‘Flog it’. Last night a woman was selling a gold pocket watch belonging to her great grandfather. She had three sons and two grandson if I remember rightly. ‘Who do I give it to’, she said. It sold for £250 to be melted down for the gold. How sad is that? The gt, grandfather long service watch meant that much to the family and she will spend the money and there will nothing to show.


  3. Beautiful post. I lost my father very recently. He was a chemist in the 50s / 60s and had kept all of his beautifully hand written test notes (he used to test the water in the River Tyne for industrial pollutants above other things). Some of the tales he told me about his work will linger with me forever. I am so pleased to have these books now, a tangible link to the brilliant man he used to be, all his poison diary notes. He had very little to leave me materially (which I didn’t give a stuff about, I’d far rather have him than his possessions), these books – and a freshly dry cleaned suit he kept ‘just in case’ – will be with me forever. Oh, and a monster of a car that we’ve called Bernadette. He loved that car!


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