John Wasn't
Sixty Years

Family Trees  
Many people I am sure have wondered what their ancestors looked like, how they spent their days, how they earned a living and generally what sort of lives they led. I have for the last eight years been climbing my family tree. Some branches proved to be more gnarled than others, some had nuts on them, some were fruity, some were interesting and full of tales to be told whilst many were simply downright boring.

Whilst at school I hated history with vengeance therefore I never paid any attention to dates, events and I couldn’t begin to tell you who was on the throne at any given time!

Since climbing my tree I have become fascinated by how people led their lives in past times. Looking at my great great grandmother details for instance she married at eighteen and had eleven children. Family folklore tells that three of her children died of diphtheria within a fortnight, and she herself died on December 26, 1885 when she was only 45 and her youngest child was only three years old. Her death certificate gives valvular heart disease and exhaustion as cause of death, I can’t imagine what life was like for her – did she ever have happy times I wonder, how did she manage a family of that size and what happened to her family after her death? I know my Great Great Grandfather remarried six months after her death and his new wife was twenty years his junior and she gave him more children.

All those tales to tell from only one family!! When you consider I now have 700 names on my tree I could fill volumes if only I could be sure of the history!!

Also whilst climbing my tree I have trawled through what seems like millions of names on various census, those in themselves leave you speechless. I never realized that Ostrich Feather maker could be an occupation or that you could become a retired prince! Many of my relatives came from a small area of Norfolk and by looking into the census it’s easy to find cousins, future brides or grooms and young men who went away to war together all living within a very small area. Ancestors that came from Kent lived along one street and you can easily find numerous families with the same surname living in the same area.

So over the years I have decided that whilst I couldn’t possibly sit down and write the story of my ancestors I have decided to write the story of the Gissmoe family. I make no apologises if the historical facts aren’t quite correct. After eight years of pouring over dates and figures I have decided to throw caution out the window. If you recognise any of these characters it is purely coincidental as they are all a figment of my imagination. If you happen to recognise any of my characters that vaguely resemble yourself please don’t be offended – it is not intentional – it’s just a figment of your imagination – maybe. J! You will of course find myself on the tree but that’s my privilege! Remember this – you are certain to have a character very like one of these hanging on your family tree. They may be someone to aspire to, someone you’d rather not be associated with, even a nut or they could be a little like you. After all – it may be in the genes!

So here I go I've compiled the Gissmoe tree. I've begun with the story of Vicki daughter of William and Bridie.

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