Thursday, August 02, 2007

J Allsop of that Ilk

I am slowly beginning to realise that I have a very odd ilk. Delicacy precludes any detailed revelations here, but with every new page opened - or more aptly, every stone upturned - in the Allsop Family History, it seems that new facts generate more questions than answers, more fog than light.
It is not I researching the Allsop clan, but my step-nephew, Edward. Our first contact some years back was when I received an email from him saying "I think your father was my grandfather", an opening line that Noel Coward would have minced across a busy street to procure.
Edward is technically by step-nephew, because my father was married twice, the first time to Clara Jane Dingley (I know her name from an inscription in a book), who gave him two children: Dennis (Edward's father) and Doreen (with whom I am still in contact); and the second time to my mother, Mabel France, who gave him two children, my sister Betty (1928-1963) and me (1936- ?), who was first diagnosed as a fibroid.
Never mind all that. The mishegoss is the chronology of his first wife's death (in childbirth, giving birth to Doreen) + my mother's appearance on the scene (before first wife's death?) + the date, circumstances and location of the second marriage.
There is more, but I will keep that for my memoirs, and it's all a bit confusing since what I learned from my mother (plus the very very little that I gleaned from my father on those rare days when he noticed that I wasn't a fibroid) does not match what I am finding out from Edward, and Edward's various correspondents.
In the end it doesn't matter, it's more like an itch that I can't scratch, but this is a cautionary tale: don't ask if you can't handle the answers. A friend of mine, a good man except for one blind spot - he is antisemitic - researched his family history but gave up abruptly when he discovered that he had Jewish ancestry. He won't talk about it, but I thought it was a delicious irony. Serves the bugger right.

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