11 fascinating facts about myself
Hard to know what is fascinating and what is just so-so but here goes.
I was born in Leeds, moved to the North Yorkshire coast when I was seven, moved back to Leeds where I was a student, in my mid twenties spent two years living in Nottinghamshire, moved to London, moved to Melbourne, Australia, then moved back to Leeds. As a result I’ve become expert at moving house, selling houses, doing up houses, etc.
Most of my working life was spent in advertising, as a copywriter and creative director. In 2004 I started working as a university lecturer, teaching marketing, branding and advertising, and then retired in 2012.
I’ve been a lifelong pony-mad person and still go riding. I also do one day a week volunteering for Hope Pastures – http://www.hopepastures.org – a horse and pony rescue centre here in Leeds.
I chose not to have children and sometimes wonder if my love of looking backwards into family history is partly fuelled by not having any need to look forwards.
I have a BA and MA in English Literature which, together with my almost ten years as an academic, means I like to think I’ve been well trained in research. It also means I tend to theorise everything!
My grandfather was with the Gordon Highlanders in World War 1 and was wounded in November 1916 at Beaumont Hamel in the Battle of the Somme. This is the battle the novel Birdsong is about. My grandfather was sent to an army hospital in Leeds to recuperate, and promptly met my grandmother and never went back to Scotland to live.
My father was in the army in Word War 2, a sergeant specialising in ammunitions inspection who also played in a dance band. Stationed at Corsham in the south of England, he met an women’s army corporal from Leeds, and after the war they married. So he never went back to Scotland to live either.
Due to the two facts above I try to stay clear of Scottish members of the armed forces!
I used to write fiction and have had short stories published in magazines as well as winning a few short story competitions. I’ve also had non-fiction articles published.
I just scraped into being born during the reign of George VI. Apparently I watched Queen Elizabeth’s coronation on television but was too young at the time to be able to remember it.
I got married just a few weeks before Prince Charles and Princess Diana, then got divorced not long after they did. 1981 clearly wasn’t a good year for getting married.
Answer the questions from a nominator:
Why did I start blogging?
I had amassed loads of notes about my family history. I’d promised to produce a sort of book to share with family members and started working on it once I’d retired, but then thought that putting in online would be better as it would be more accessible to more people. Judy’s Family History is the result.
Who is your favourite ancestor and why?
It keeps changing, depending on which branch I’m working on! But I’ve always had a soft spot for my paternal grandmother Helen Strachan nee McCrae, who I sadly never met as she died before I was before. She had eleven children, was widowed while still in her forties, helped bring up some of her grandchildren, and was a staunch believer in family. I her photo she has a very kindly face. She had a hard life but was much loved by her many children.
What is your favourite time and place to blog?
A wall of my dining room is devoted to floor to ceilling book cases and a desk, which is where my beloved Apple iMac sits. So it’s there that I write my blog. Now that I’m retired I can work on it whenever I like, though family history tends to be a winter hobby as when the weather’s fine I get outside as much as I can.
If I could invite 4 people to dinner from the past or present who would be?
My grandmother Helen Strachan nee McCrae just so I could say I’d met her.
My grandfather James Fraser so I could ask him about his farm life and WW1 experiences, which I sadly failed to do when he was alive.
Jane Austen, who I think is possibly the best novelist to have ever lived and who invented modern novel writing techniques.
Thomas Strachan coal miner, who married Susannah Alexander in 1771, so I could ask where the hell he came from and who his parents were.
My ideal vacation spot:
Is Greece, during early or late summer, close to a beach and near some interesting archealogical remains. Though I’d love to take a trip to Canada.
If I was an animal, which one would I be?
Well, I think being a human animal is just fine. I love both horses and cats and am a big softie about all animals, but I’m all too aware what risky lives they all lead. Being human means you’re in a lot less danger of nasty things happening to you than if belong to any other species.
What is my dream job?
I now have it – being retired! However, I’d have loved to be either a journalist or a novelist. Instead, I made do with being an advertising copywriter. Though I wouldn’t mind being a professional genealogist.
Where are my family’s roots? In Scotland mainly, both Ayrshire and Aberdeenshire, but also in south Yorkshire from villages in the Barnsley area. The Ayrshire side has a fair bit of Irish blood injected into it by the look of things.
What do you hope to achieve in 2013?
Enjoy my first year of retirement, and use the much longed for time availability to do useful things with my family history research, including adding lots more to my blog.
Nominate your favourite blog:
Instead of nominating blogs (as most of the ones I follow have already been nominated by my nominators) I’ve decided just to list some of the blogs I most enjoy visiting:
http://staggsbrook.blogspot.co.uk My friend Kate’s blog about her water vole observing adventures near her home in Shropshire
http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk Chris Paton’s blog with lots of good stuff for anyone reserch English, Scottish and Irish ancestors
http://aweebitofcooking.co.uk Fabulous photography, good recipes, and a very cute spaniel
http://genegenie-scotland.blogspot.co.uk Interesting snippets about north-east Scotland taken from old newspapers
Err … um … I’m struggling to think of more. I wish there were a lot more
good genealogy blogs out there! Despite using geneabloggers and Google to have a good look round, I’ve struggled to find blogs that overlap with my own genealogy areas of interest. Please let me know if you know of anything worth checking out.