dazed and confused

I guess I just shouldn’t try and work on the family history project late at night, but I’ve been busy with other things and was beginning to lose touch with what I’d already done. On top of that, my mum sent me more photos  and seeing faces always makes me want to know who the people are.

My grandfather David Ramsay (top right) with his parents and siblings.

My grandfather David Ramsay (top right) with his parents and siblings.

This is the photo that led me to the place I’m now in … mired in too many questions and too much partial information that may be inaccurate, and generally feeling annoyed with myself for the very sloppy, gung-ho approach I’ve been taking to research. Basically, I’ve been so keen to know more and more that I haven’t documented my research well enough (highly embarrassing admission) and now I have so many bits of information and I’m not sure where I got them and it’s all a bloody mess!

This is the first time since I began this project that I actually feel dejected. I know it will pass, but I almost feel that this picture represents a watershed in my learning process. I have to untangle the muddle and clarify all the stray bits and then I’ll feel that I’m back on track.

So here is what I know.

This is a picture of my maternal grandfather, David Ramsay (standing at the back, on the right) with his parents and siblings.  I’m not sure when it was taken, but my grandad looks to be in his late teens or early twenties. He was born in 1901, so I’m guessing around the early 1920s. I had originally thought earlier, but the older boys are not in uniform, and I’m assuming that they would have been old enough to serve in WWI.

My mum wrote on the back of the photo grandad’s siblings’ names, but I recognised the one standing next to grandad anyway. My great uncle John emigrated to Canada (I don’t know when) and I remember him visiting Kirkcaldy and meeting him and his wife when I was quite small. I think one of his daughters also used to visit us in New Zealand when I was a child. She had married an Australian airman she met during WWII and they used to travel to Australia to visit his family and stay with us enroute.

The other boys in the back row are, according to Mum, Pete (on the left) and George. The children in front are (l-r) Jim, Jean and Hugh. Also seated are my great grandparents, David Ramsay and Mary Fisher.

I’ve got notes about some of these people in my “family tree” – but now I can’t remember where I got the information (breaking rule number #1 – document sources). Still, at least I have a new puzzle to work on. More to come hopefully.

14 thoughts on “dazed and confused

  1. Great photo to have. Given the clothes and hairstyles I’d say it’s no later than 1920 and probably a bit earlier. I have a photo of my grandmother taken before WW1 and she has her hair in exactly the same style as the daughter Jean.

    I know the feeling about not keeping notes sufficiently well organised – mine were in a terrible state so when I retired last October I decided I really had to get things more under control. I’ve not done them all yet but am slowly getting there. However, it’s always tempting to get online and see if I can find out more instead of dealing with what I’ve already got!

    • Thanks for that Judy. I find it so difficult to date old photos because fashions didn’t change much and people had the same “Sunday best” until the clothes (or the people?) wore out.

        • Yes; that was my first thought too, but I wondered whether the older boys might have fought in WWI, and might have been photographed in uniform. I guess one of my challenges for this family is to find out about their military service as well as so many other questions.

  2. I came across your blog via Pauleen of Across the seas, & am a new follower – hello!

    We have all done it, found info & been sloppy in recording the source. Take it as an opportunity to revisit earlier work, you will probably spot something new!

    • Hi Julie,
      Thanks so much for following my blog. And thanks for your advice; I’ve learned a lot about my working methods and how to improve them. You’re right – having to go back and re-research will almost certainly allow me to find something new.

      • Sharing the information or photos on your blog sometimes turns up something new. Last year i shared on Sepia Saturday (www.sepiasaturday.blogspot.co.uk) a photograph of some floods. I must have had the photo some time. I shared it and someone commented that about the people hanging out the window. I had not noticed!

  3. Hi Su,

    Yes I’ve been there often – tired, confused, muddled and over it. But it does pass and usually for me by looking at a blog like yours and being inspired or sometimes by just getting more organised.
    One of the reasons I started blogging was to make myself get things in order and put it in writing before I forgot.
    I wrote in response to your other blog about Family Tree Maker which is what I now use to keep my information in order. About a year ago I had so many scraps of paper and photos of God knows who and didn’t know where to start. So I bought FTM, a family tree chart from the Genealogy Society and a concertina file.
    I went through and scanned my photos onto a USB I now only use for family tree photos and sources/information. I keep everything on that and keep it at the front of my concertina file with a magnifying glass and photos and papers that I can’t fit yet.
    With every certificate/photo./document I wrote out an index card with basic details and stapled it onto it then filed it under the surname of the person (or head male if it was a group) and put it in the concertina file in alphabetical order. I still do this as new information comes to hand. So now if I am confused about someone or a photo, I can find other information I might have for that family quite easily.
    FTM has a place to write Tasks – things you need to do – or notes you want to make and I use that too.
    I have filled out 7 generations of my family chart as best I can (using my children as the starting person as I am really doing this for them and would like to finish a family tree chart each for them and have it framed for Christmas one year. I will also give them a cd of FTM with all the stories and photos on it). I have te Family Tree Chart on the wall in front of my computer and I can see where there are gaps. That also helps keep me a little organised and stops me wandering off in all different directions. But if I do wander, I can see where I need to come back to. This chart is a draft one so I have white paint and highlighter all over it.

    I am sure I am preaching to the converted and no doubt you have much better filing and research techniques than me but I thought if I wrote them down it might inspire you to do some housekeeping before you continue on with your research.

    Good luck!

    • Thanks Lynn. I really appreciate all the advice and support and kindness from my “online community”. I think you’re definitely more organized than me, but I do at least now recognise the need to get my act together. Thanks again.

    • Hi Bipasha. Thank you for visiting my blog and for your lovely, kind comment. I feel that slowly I am beginning to “know” my past a little better and am enjoying the journey. Thank you.

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