Tuesday, 15 June 2010

So much information and so little time

Photograph: Mary (Polly) Atkins Ross, aged about 11 with her father Edward Atkins and sister, Elizabeth (Lizzie) Atkins aged about 13, circa.1860.

In that all or nothing way of family research I have an ever-increasing pile of information and not a lot of time to put it to good use. Still, the most important thing is the collecting of information... the use of it can wait. It has all in fact been waiting for decades.

I now have photographs of all of Charlie and Mary's five children. Not all of them are particularly clear but they are better than nothing. It is extremely satisfying to put a 'face' to people from the past. I may not be able to do that with Charlie Ross, although we do have his grand-daughter Flora who was said to look exactly like him, but , what is even more exciting is that I have a photograph of Great-grandmother Mary as a child.

Cousin Jenny, the grand-daughter of Georgina Anastasia , known as'Teeny', had one of Mary with her sister Lizzie and their father Edward Atkins. It must be from the 1860's and therefore quite precious. For me at least.  Mary was said to be small so it is hard to say if she is 10 or 13 in this photograph, but with two years between the sisters I am betting it is around 11 as Lizzie looks to be in her early teens and is wearing a dress length which indicates she is no longer a child.

It is interesting to see how much of the maternal and paternal traits went into the genetic mix for their children. It is clear that Mary's daughter Georgina Anastasia inherited her looks in a way my grandfather, Charles Vangelios did not. Constantinus John was said to be smaller in height than some of his brothers and in a photograph I have received he also looks to be slight of build.

Interestingly, four of Charlie and Mary's children were not known by their given name. Constantinus was known as 'Jack'; Georgina as 'Teeny' ; Chrysantheous as 'Dan' and Spiros as 'Dud'. No doubt my grandfather kept his given name because it was the most anglicised. Then again, he was also known as 'Nigger' although one presumes not by his family.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

The family tree is spreading broad branches

PHOTOGRAPH: Spiros Andrew Ross on a 'trotter'. Circa: 1921?

It has been a busy week or so with contact made at last with the families of Charlie and Mary Ross's youngest child, Spiros Andrew and the oldest, Constantinus John 'Jack'.

What is interesting is that it seems both of these branches of the family had no idea there was a Greek connection. While my grandfather, Charles Vangelios and his sister, Georgina Anastasia certainly talked about their Greek father to their children and it was in turn passed on ... and I think Chrysantheous Christus 'Dan' did the same ... the other two did not. One could understand that Spiros, as the youngest, and only six years old when his father died, might know or cared less but it is much more curious that 'Jack' the oldest should pass on so little.

Which makes it all so much more exciting to be where we are. Cousin Lee tells me she hopes to get the family bible from her aunt, Sylvia, which could prove invaluable in terms of family records. And cousin Hayden has been in touch from the US to say he thought he was a Scottish Ross not a Greek 'Ross' and he is keen to tell me what he knows.

Even better is the fact that photos and archival material have been coming in. Looking at photos of Great-uncle Spiros reminds me that I had met him although I have no memory of the event. It is interesting how 'faces' stay with us in ways that other things do not.