Family Stories – Family Histories

 Presented as part of National Family History Week 1 – 3 August

Charles Brown and familyHow much do we really know abut our family’s background?  Are those family stories really true?  Partly true? Wishful thinking? Here is some background to the three family stories I am going to talk about during my seminar.  Two are about my family and one is about the family of a lady who has given me permission to use the story of her grandmother.  I hope you will enjoy the unravelling of these stories, and find inspiration to start or continue your own family history journey.

FAMILY STORY   1:  My mother’s maiden name is Eyre.   My great-aunt maintained that, while staying with the Eyre family, Charlotte Bronte wrote Jane Eyre.  She also told me that we were related to Edward John Eyre, who crossed Australia.  She told us that before she died she would fill in all the details of our family history, and true to her word, she wrote to my mother, setting out what she knew and what she surmised about the family history.  Her brother, my great-uncle, also wrote down his version of the family history.

FAMILY STORY   2:  A lady approached me wanting to enrol for a beginner’s seminar I conduct regularly at the City of Vincent Library and Local History Centre because, in her words, she wanted ‘to find out who my Nanna really was.’  When her grandmother died here in Perth in 1991, she and her mother were asked to provide details of the deceased’s birth, parentage, marriage, offspring etc.  It was in trying to find this information by going through the documents she had left that they realised a number of details just did not add up.  Intrigued,  I said I would do a bit of looking up for her.  And the more I looked the more curious the story got…

FAMILY STORY   3:  My father’s family knew very little about my grandfather, Charles Brown.  He was orphaned at a very early age and grew up in a workhouse.  His memories were few and the details were sketchy.  My uncle had tried to find out more in the early 1980’s, checking up on what little his father had revealed of his life, and personally searching the records.   I took up the challenge some twenty years later, and my book Who are you Charlie Brown?  is the story of the unearthing of his life and family. 

Presented by Wendy Brown, historian.  Date: Wednesday – August 1 2012 Time:  11:00 AM – 12:00 PM   For details of all seminars and tours visit the State Library website: www.slwa.wa.gov.au/whats_on/national_family_history_week

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