Well it's been quite a while since I put anything up in my blogs and I must apologise to my followers. There has been a lot happening to and around my family and so I thought it appropriate to say a few words about the family - no sorry ....no airing of my family's dirty laundry here and any skeletons will stay in their respective closets.
I've been researching my family and their history since I was 15 years old and one thing I learned very early is that one relies very heavily on the yarns and confidences of various family members in order to gather some of the facts. If one repeats a harmful yarn to another living soul, not only is unwarranted pain and destruction released but one loses the trust of others and that is no small thing. In fact it makes 'Genealogy' impossible so I have a simple rule, I will reveal an individuals history only when i.) that history has become public, ii) they have requested I reveal it or iii) sufficient time has passed so as to have no more impact than the odd raising of someone's eyebrows.
Family history is fascinating, there are literally thousands of yarns and we would all like to be related to a famous, powerful or wealthy family however that is rarely the case. We are in fact more likely to be related to a notorious bad-ass and often criminals or assassins. Bet that got you to the edge of your seat.... sorry I seem to come from a long line of unknown battlers who have had a few minor successes and some major setbacks, just average everyday folk.
So how did I get started on this lifelong quest? Well, whilst the story probably doesn't rate printing in the local rag it was a big deal to the family and brought about unwittingly by my father. Dad's still alive and doesn't mind my relating the story. Amongst other things there is a family tradition of birthright, blessings and inheritance straight out of the 'Old Testament' from the Holy Bible, literally!
The birthright and blessings in our family had some strict rules as relayed to me by my Great Aunt Jo (Johanna), our family 'Matriarch' and my father had bent/broken (depending on one's perspective) one of the rules,, but wait... I'm getting ahead of myself. First strict adherence to birthright and blessings - The recipient of these must be the oldest surviving first born son or his son or his son's son and that son should be named after his grandfather or father in order to receive the blessing of that relative or the family. Along with the blessing came a responsibility to the family. One of those responsibilities is the safekeeping of any family heirlooms such as the Family Bible (Ours is about 400 years old - 20" x 14" x 4", leather bound, illustrated and written in Old (High) Dutch).
My Father was the benefactor of this birthright, also he is today and was at the time, a 'Jehovah Witness' (this is not an invitation to enter into a theological debate over doctrine, I might add!). Well one evening Great Aunt Jo (a wonderful lady with a heart of gold) was visiting and wanted to verify one of the names written into a partial family tree in the last pages of said Bible. My Father advised Great Aunt Jo that he had lent the Family Bible to the 'Kingdom Hall' (Church) and assured her that it was in good hands. I can tell you the term 'Matriarch' was indeed apt, I was beckoned forth by Great Aunt Jo as she instructed my father to retrieve the heirloom forthwith in the strongest and severest tones I had ever heard from anyone of that generation, whilst she maintained total decorum. I think that this was my most memorable if not very first 'Note to self' experience - "Don't EVER get on the wrong side of this lady", I thought.
While Dad was off recovering the Bible, Aunt Jo advised me of the tradition and it's responsibilities and when Dad returned home Great Aunt Jo instructed my Father to hand the heirloom's and the blessings on to me being the eldest of his four sons.
I took that old Family Bible and scanned every single page, I found a wealth of goodies in that old book, locks of hair, land deeds, receipts, newspaper clippings in three languages and a portion of the family tree - what a treasure trove. It was the dates of these entry's and the beauty of the writing along with the fact that they had been entered in the mid 1800's, probably in a small house of possibly two or three rooms late at night by candlelight while the large family slept goodness knows where. This was the beginning of my fascination with family history and the origins of our Family Name.
It has until recently been a very slow and often tedious job of searching, inaccurate records, dead ends, back tracking, learning and re-learning. When I married, I started searching for my beautiful wife's family ( my Bonnie Ronnie was an orphan). In 1979 we managed to acquire a copy of Ronnie's full birth certificate in Salisbury (Harare), Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) which gave us Ronnie's mothers name 'Joan Magdalene Breytenbach' and in almost 40 years I have not been able to uncover even one single fact about her family.
Now whilst I struggle with my Bonnie Ronnie's side of the family I have had great success with my 'Lombard', 'Lombaard' side of the family and have a solid history complete with citations and source documents going back to Aurel, Vaucluse, Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur, France and the birth of my Great Grandfather x 10 Jean Lombaard born in 1603.
Very satisfying - My Great Grandfather is depicted in uniform.
|Petrus Stephanus Lombaard 1870-1962|
A challenge for you - What uniform is this? (Country, Army, Regiment & Period - if you can)
Till next time - God Bless.