My Family And Other Annals

The English form of the proverb "It's the first step that counts" gives the impression that overcoming personal inertia or timidity is the principal hurdle to be negotiated, and after that one simply has to keep going, as in Lao-tzu's aphorism "A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step". Bertie Wooster might well have retorted to Jeeves that he Jeeves could tell Lao-tzu next time he Jeeves saw him that he Lao-tzu was a frightful chump.

As well say that all it takes to run a marathon is simply to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Eboracus and I both know full well how much more to it there is than that. For one thing, you have to alternate them.

In any successful human undertaking there must be advance planning, commitment of resources and resolute self-dedication. Joe Gerratt would often remark that "C'est le premier pas qui coûte cher", with particular emphasis on that final word, when some possible new line of research was under discussion with his graduate students.

And yet here I am, having merrily requested Eboracus to shove a Family option on to the Menu bar, without having any very clear idea as to how exactly the content is going to be presented and structured. One thing for sure, though, is that it won't attempt to encompass the present generation, who are all mutually conversant with one another via Facebook, Twitter and the like.

So, watch this space, but don't hold your breath ...

... though germs of a structure are now beginning to take shape, together with some idea of the nature of the content. It will start with myself and my wife, Robin Waddell and Sonia Waddell, and work upwards and outwards, via my parents Walter Waddell and Kathleen Blunt, and my parents-in-law Ronald Kaulback and Audrey Howard.

Albeit for the time being I shall make do with tabular ancestral charting, I'll have to experiment as regards the graphical representation of family trees, and maybe it'll be best to use third-party software. There is a good deal of manually-drawn genealogies lurking in the archives, so there will be no shortage of graphical material. There is however much less biographical content, as many people have lived and died without leaving any written account of their undoubtedly interesting and instructive existences. A lot of really top-quality stuff will doubtless emerge on the Day of Judgement (as per H G Wells' amusing short story A Vision of Judgment), but that will be rather late in the day for present purposes.

A number of our forebears did however emerge into the public domain one way or another, and it is with these that I shall make a start. The prime example will be my remarkable father-in-law Ronald Kaulback, as you will see.

So, let's set up some immediate family connections if only to temporise with stubs to begin with. Please click on Waddell, Blunt, Kaulback or Howard as the mood takes you.

Each of these four connections is arranged in tabular form, sequenced by generation so that my own contemporaries are regarded as Generation 0. An entry in the left- or right-hand columns may well link (now or in the future) to further page(s) of biographical material for that individual. An entry in the middle column may well link to a tabular connection for that individual's family name, though obviously a line has be drawn somewhere.

We can think of these four parental surnames – at a moment in time, at Generation 0 in fact – as providing our local connection, and of the other family names with which they have interacted by marriage as being associated connections. As the number of associated connections continues to grow, you can cut straight to the chase by clicking on the entry of your choice (or indeed on a local connection) in the table below.

Local ConnectionAssociated Connections
WaddellMalet, Lens and Wahull
Balquhatstone 1st Line
Balquhatstone 2nd Line
Erskine of Mar and Dun
Halcro and Erskine
Erskine of Kellie and Cambo
Erskine of Alva and Rosslyn
Erskine and Wardlaw
Erskine of Huntsville and South Bend
Findlay and Ritchie
Findlay and Gueritz
Little and Martin / Dalgliesh / McEwen
Hoather and Spencer
Cosby of Stradbally
Findlay of Boturich
Waddell of Nova Scotia
Waddell, Laurence Austine
Findlay, Charles Farquharson
Cottrell, Tom Leadbetter
Brown, Alexander Crum
Hutchins of Ardnagashel
White of Bantry House
Bryce of Garinish
Gore-Booth and Markiewicz
Irene Ravensdale

Click here to view a directory of all the people mentioned in the Family Connections links. This is by no means complete yet. Please note that for reasonably close family the full names and BMD data (if available) are supplied in the directory rather than in the generation tables themselves. But for more distant relatives their full names and dates (such as are known) are generally provided in the tables rather than in the directory.

It's all a work in progress, and hopefully will evolve into something really worthwhile. But worthwhile in what sense? And for whom?

Firstly, there is obviously a very widespread interest in family back-history: so many books, so many websites, so many TV programmes, all attest to this. And it's not just people wanting to claim descent from noble lineage or kinship with famous (or infamous) notables of the past. I'd guess that many of us are just as satisfied to discover humble but courageous and honest and respected forebears (well, perhaps a highwayman hanged at Tyburn mightn't come amiss, providing he was gallant and handsome).

In the foreword to his book The Kaulbacks from which I've drawn a good deal of information quoted later, my uncle-in-law Bill Kaulback (who was unashamedly proud of his distinguished family background, to an extent that is now unfashionable) said

"In few periods has [ignorance of ones origins, backgrounds and family traditions] been more evident than now in the latter half of the twentieth century, when the forces of rapid social change and [economic pressures] are combining together to compel the young to scatter and live far separated from their parents with all that that entails in loss ... of background and of inspiration. So extensive has this process become, that today there is scarcely a person under forty in our society who can talk [knowledgeably] of his great-grandparents, let alone of those that went before, and identities are quickly being lost"

(Click here for an academic review of the effects of urbanisation on loss of family identity.)

And secondly of course not just great-grandparents or even fustier ancestors, but of uncles, aunts and cousins of or to whom younger people may be almost totally ignorant or indifferent. Bill's family, for example, are nowadays scattered across Australia, Canada, Estonia, France, New Zealand, South Africa and Spain. So it is to the Generations +1 and +2 of all our families that the material in this corner of the website may perhaps be surprising and interesting as well. I'm certainly finding it to be so, and that in itself is making it worthwhile for me.

And I don't think the caption at the bottom needs to be taken too seriously!

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