Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Mysteries and puzzles

Happy New Year! For the past few years I've used the new year as the time to alternate between writing about the maternal and paternal sides of my family history. If I kept to that pattern, this should be the year I switch back to writing about the Ward and Beales families, on the paternal side. But since I've now covered most of the main individuals on both sides of the family tree in this blog, I've decided to do something a little different. This year, most of my posts will re-visit a mystery yet to be solved.

By mystery, I don't mean those points in the family history where I simply can't go back any further, due to non-existent records. Most lines of my family tree begin somewhere about the middle of the 18th century. That's about as far back as the records go. I accept that some things are impossible to know.

The "mysteries" I have in mind involve aspects of people's lives that don't make sense, at least based on the information I have. Or there are large holes in their story that I haven't been able to fill. I have a nagging feeling that if only I could find more information, or the right information, it ought to be possible to solve these puzzles.

An example of such a mystery was the long-standing question I had about where John Mason, my great great great grandfather, came from. I knew he was almost certainly transported to Australia as a convict, and my hunch was that he was from Ireland, but which of the many convicts named John Mason was he? I've written previously about how that mystery was finally solved.

There are many similar mysteries on both sides of the family. My hope is that, while I'm revisiting the research I've already done, I might see some different possibilities that hadn't occurred to me before. Or perhaps, with new material coming online all the time, I'll find some new sources of evidence that will make things clearer. It may be that someone reading the posts might have an answer to those puzzling questions. As I've discovered, we all hold fragments of stories that together make up the whole picture of our family history.