Lots of people come to Swaledale to trace their family trees. They often phone the Vicarage to ask me if they can look at our church records. We are happy for them to do this but always send them to Northallerton because the parish registers and records are kept at the Country Records Office there. Many of these people are Americans whose ancestors were lead miners in the dales.
I have never attempted to trace any of my own family history. I have always thought that it would be almost impossible to get very far back given the Jewish Eastern European background.
This week, I had lunch with my second cousin, who lives in Darlington. She had recently been to a memorial service for our great uncle’s wife and had brought home lots of family papers and photographs. We went thought these and talked about the different people in our wider family. She knew a lot of them and their connections; I had heard of many of them, but did not know how they fitted together.
By the end of lunch we had pieced together a family tree which went from my sister’s children (the youngest in the family) to Mr and Mrs Hurwitz (first names as yet unknown) who came to England in the 1800s from Lithuania.
A bit of searching around on the web shows that they may have come from a place on the Baltic called Kretinga and that the Jewish community there left in large numbers from 1870-1880.
So…I have accidently fallen into looking at family history. My cousin and I agreed to do some work and see how far we get. We are going to meet again in July to put together anything else we have by then.