My Notorious Great-Grandfathers

How odd it is to have a photograph with great colour then edit and play with it until it looks old and tattered. That was what I was thinking as I worked on this picture of Dundurn Castle and it made me think of all the time I've spent scanning and repairing the old family photos.

I have boxes of them and it's all those old photos that made me want to delve into my family history with the hope of finding out some of the stories and personalities of the ancestors. You've probably done the same thing and, like me, may have hoped to find some interesting characters.

Well, ya just never know what you're going to find when digging out the family's past. I found that one Great-grandfather died during the Spanish flu epidemic, another Great-grandfather went off to war (1914-1918), permanently leaving his wife and children, eventually coming home with a Belgian nun ........and then learned of yet another Great-grandfather who grew up living in the Wellington Arch in London in the 1860's.

Yes, that's right, the Wellington Arch. His uncle was the Gate Keeper of Hyde Park and, as such, had the residence in the southern tier of the Arch. They lived there before the Arch was moved to its present location. I had no idea there was anything actually inside that Arch and certainly no notion that it had ever been moved.

However, the most startling discovery was my 4x Great Grandfather, William Allen. He was born in 1789, married and had four children and at the age of 39 was convicted for stealing a sheep. His punishment was transportation to Australia, where he remained until his death.  I actually had a grandfather transported on a convict ship and sentenced to hard time?!?   As I said, ya just never know...

I hope sheep stealing isn't genetic....I've not felt the urge to steal a sheep so far in my life but sometimes these faults and foibles can pop up later in life.

Oh dear, there's always something to worry about.


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