Saturday, 5 February 2011

Family History Writing Challenge - Day 5

At various points my Grandfather would often say to my Grandmother, "its the gypsy in you". As a child I never really gave any thought to just what he meant. Later on as I gathered an interest in my family history I wondered was there any truth in this. My Grandmother's skin tone was tanned and not from the sun, she actually never really sat out for long periods of time. Was this the case? I am half Italian and my skin tone is lighter than my grandmother's was, or was it simply the way it was?

As I researched back through the Matthews side of the family, which was my Grandmother's maiden name, I was researching in Warwickshire. The only bit of my own ancestry, apart from my Italian bit to come from outside of the Surrey, Sussex & Hampshire borders. The Matthews family connected to the family surnames of Pettifer and Drakely. My Great Grandfather, John Matthews (1875 - 1931) was the Great Grandson of William Matthews born 1795 and Bethsheba Drakely born 1797 in Nuneaton.

I was unfamiliar with both the surnames and further general research using Google into the name of Drakely for example proved fascinating and gave food for thought. The name was mainly seem to occur in the Nuneaton area of Warwickshire, there were links to Ribbon weavers. I also came across a reference of Facebook to Whatever became of Drakeleys fairs so was there a grain of truth in the comment? Were the Drakeleys Romany? and my Grandmother's skin tone a throw back from generations past? Certainly there was a fair called Drakeley's in the early 1900s, how had they come about? There is a National Fairs Archive at the University of Sheffield and they may have more information.

All of this I have found out from research alone, as my Grandmother knew fairly little of her family history and every now and again a slither of information would be shared. Nothing was really withheld, it was simply a case of in those days you didn't really ask questions and gain the information. What is true is that, as genealogists with every stone we move we find other snippets which may or may not lead to more questions than answers.

Word count 375

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