Tweeters anonymous

As I seem to spend an inordinate amount of time on Twitter (probably way too much actually) I am sometimes struck by the whole concept and how it so easily takes over your life.
I will not be the first person to muse over Twitter and there have already been inumberable books on the subject (which I confess I have not read) and therfore I am sure these thoughts will not be unique.

A great quote seen often on twitter is that it is the only time you are happy to be followed by a stranger. Which is quite true. We engage with people we know nothing about, sometimes our interractions are brief and therefore they end up being just one of the number but with others you strike up great twitter banter. Would these people end up being friends if you were to meet up with them? It would be nice to think they would but in most cases we will never know.

Some tweeps arrange Tweet-ups. Are they a good idea? Is there a potential to shatter that illusion we can build up around ourselves? Are we who we really are on twitter or is it an opportunity to be the person you aspire to be?

I love Twitter, it’s fun and a great way to interract with like-minded people and sometimes not so like-minded people. We share thoughts on areas of interest, make recommendations about things to read, see or do. We have a laugh and sometimes share a sorrow. We hear about events before they are reported officially; we advise or are advised of things such as traffic problems or bad weather. We unburden ourselves of frustrations with work, family, friends, bad service. We let off steam. We celebrate our happiness. So no different from our daily interractions with those we spend our days actually with anyway; we are just widening the net.

What I like most of all is ‘meeting’ people I would never get the chance to do. So I won’t be giving up on Twitter yet. Must go, time to tweet……….

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Families eh?

How much do we know about families? I don’t mean what your brother did last week on a night out. The real stuff, where you came from and why you are who you are.

I have been researching my family history now for 3 years. Initially with a enthusiasm that took over my life but which I dip into now and again.

I started when I was laid low from a chest infection; I couldn’t do anything but my brain was active and having harped on for years about why I look the way I do, thought it was time to find out. I am olive skinned and have been mistaken for being Spanish or Greek when visiting those countries by the locals, so I was convinced that there must be some mediterranean blood in the family line.

Starting off was relatively simple, whilst I knew only one of my grandparents, I had remembered bits and pieces that my Mum and Dad has mentioned about their family. Additionally one of my old Aunts used to whisper ‘There was a black man in the family’. So there was a starting point and a mystery to try to solve so off I set. This is where the internet really does become your friend. The information out there is quite incredible but often only enough to tantalise then leave me to my imagination and fill in the blanks.

It was a journey where sometimes I took the wrong road and had to backtrack. Each day brought new discoveries, getting copies of birth or marriage certificates were like receiving presents; they brought more answers and sometimes more questions. Census records tell so many stories about living conditions and life in those periods of time. When we get to fill out the census I am sure that many just consider it a way in which the government is gathering more intrusive knowledge about you, I prefer to think I am recording my life for future generations who will, in a hundred years or more, say ‘Look what my Gt Grandmother was doing and where she was living’. Opening up a new world or interest for them to follow.

So what did I find out? Where does this mediterranean look come from? Well nothing concrete, almost without exception all my roots are firmly in Suffolk in some cases back to the 1500s. But there is a possible link with Papal emisaries so that’s my explanation for my olive complexion, though I haven’t been able to prove anything as it just hinges on a family surname. But I am happy with that, the mystery is still there and there is still room for further research on those days when a walk, work or other daily distractions are not an option.

What I do regret though is not asking more questions and being interested in the family whilst my parents were alive; a great wealth of information went with them to their graves. I hope my children find a use for the information I have gathered and when they roll their eyes at another one of Mum’s tales, perhaps they will remember those stories and tell their children and the history will continue long after I am gone.