I don't expect I will ever forget some of the events during my last week of being 76 years old, and I guess it will take me a week to share some of my news with you.
Early yesterday evening, I returned home after a very stimulating and tiring weekend attending a conference in the Forest Pines Hotel in Broughton near Brigg, which is in the north of Lincolnshire. I was able to get there because Ken Toll and his wife Jean came up from Crawley and kindly gave me a lift. This was my first trip away from home in over six years (if you don't count four stays in hospital, courtesy of the NHS). I felt like a tottering chick emerging from an egg, which had taken an exceedingly long time to hatch. The meeting included the AGM of the GOONS, a family history society that I joined in 1983 with my husband, Tony, otherwise known as The Guild Of One-Name Studies. Tony and I shared the hobby of researching and recording people who shared our surnames. My maiden name was Allaker, and when we had concluded the first stage of our investigations, during the 1960's, we had discovered records of about 600 males and females who had been born with the same surname as me, and I was the first Barbara Allaker. A few years later I had the pleasure of meeting the second Barbara Allaker, who bore this identity because she married John Colin, a cousin of mine, whom I had never met or heard about. Our grandfathers were brothers. This couple, who live in Malton in Yorkshire, soon became our friends.
Tony and I originally recorded everything we discovered on cards that we filed in different coloured boxes, depicting different family groups, and all of them could be traced back to ancestors who lived in Maldon in Essex during the 1760's. My aunts, uncles and cousins, were very helpful and interested, and Tony went on to put our research into a family history computer program, which I have been able to access because he used machine with a free operating system called Linex. Ken and Tony shared an avid interest in computers when we lived in Crawley up to 2001, and Ken fortunately hopes that he can convert the work that Tony did into the Microsoft program that I currently use. In due course I'll report on how I get on.
Before setting off for Crawley this afternoon, Jean and Ken went for a walk round our wild and native gardens. Tomorrow I will try to upload one Jean's lovely photograph of the daffodils that they admired. unless the Internet is not co-operating.