By way of a diversion I thought I might introduce you to an idea I had some years ago which can add some extra interest to the documenting of your Family History project.
Researching the historical background of your family is fascinating but can produce a lot of data and alas that data, whilst interesting to the researcher, does not make interesting reading for the younger members of your family who may (??) one day, show some interest in all that research. I guess it is not till we all advance in years that the history of our families becomes a bit more interesting anyway!
Just leaving the succeeding generations all the data is unlikely to be a successful strategy so producing some form of booklet or document is most likely to be a more useful hand me down for the future. Paper is not much in fashion these days but a paper book or document, maybe also produced as an eBook as well, is still very likely to stand the test of time.
Even for bloggers like us paper is a good solution for long term storage of all that hard work documenting the past few hundred years.
The heart of your project will probably be the Family Tree but adding narrative to each of the families covered by your research will add some insight of the people in the Tree and their way of life.
I decided that to bring the project even more to life I would include as many photos of the people as I could find but that won’t take you back before the mid or late 1800’s. So to illustrate the histories of the families I decided to add some watercolours of the places they came from, sometimes as they might have been at the time, or just places that they liked to visit. Paintings of the Churches they were married in seemed an obvious choice and where possible the houses they once lived in. Even if these have long been demolished you can sometimes find data to reconstruct the scene, at least to give some context to the narrative. If your narrative can give some insight as to how they lived in years gone by this can be very interesting too.
You will be pleased to know I am not going to bore you with my research data, but here are a few paintings that I have used to illustrate the Family History Book of the 6 major families that it covers.
First of all a couple of Churches painted as near as possible to the way they looked at the time. An earlier generation of my family were married in Minster Abbey on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent during the exceptionally cold winter of 1911. This was the year I believe that Niagara Falls froze over too!
Kent, Minster Abbey as it would have looked in 1911
In the early 19th Cenury other family members were married in The Churches of Detling (then spelt
Debtling) in Kent and at Boxley Church, also in Kent
Debtling Church in Kent as it looked in 1809
Boxley Church, Kent
In the late 19th century some of my ancestors lived in the middle house below West Malling in Kent. Here I have tried to reconstruct the scene in 1891. He was the local Weights and Measures Inspector, an inserting job, which invloved testing the beer in the local breweries almost every day!
West Malling in Kent in 1891
The earliest record that I have so far managed to find is of a wedding in Lenham Church in 1628. I don’t think they had Linseed growing in the fields then but my painting tries to show it anyway!
Lastly some branches of my family and my wife’s family hail from Northern Ireland.
So here is the Church of St Anne in Belfast where a marriage took place in 1869. The Church was demolished in the 1890’s and the fine (and still standing) St Anne’s Cathedral was built on the site.
St Anne’s Church in Belfast in 1869
And lastly we had, and have, close associations with the whole beautiful Antrim Coast in Northern Ireland. This spectacular coastal route has featured in a number of my previous posts. So here is a watercolour of Carrickfergus, the beginning of the Causeway Coastal route and a town with many associations with our families.
I hope you have enjoyed this diversion. Back to more recent travels soon!
So here we are in December, with mixed feelings about the weather. Snow at Christmas can be beautiful, and a headache for travel. Snow in the countryside can be very picturesque and then a real pain for the days after as the snow becomes slushy and lingers about! From a painting point of view though […]
It is no real surprise that Churches offer the painter a great subject, often as the focal point of a painting.
Looking through some of my watercolours of the past few years there are many with Churches featured in them. The beautiful architecture of Churches and their often prominent locations provides an exciting subject for me in many paintings.
Some of these are painted as they may have been in the past, to help illustrate family history events , whilst others just bring the subject together in a pleasing way (to me anyway!).
I have gathered together in this large post some from my archives of painting from various locations around Europe.
I hope you enjoy seeing them, I am sure many will have visited them on their own holidays.
Detling Church in Kent. As it was in 1809.
San Georgio Church in Venice
Saint Peter’s Basilica, in Rome.
Minster Abbey,Isle of Sheppey in Kent. In the winter of 1911.
St Anne’s Church in Belfast. As it was in 1869.
St Anne’s Cathedral now occupies this site.
Notre Dame Church in Moustiers St Marie, in Provence
Santa Maria della Salute, Venice.
Notre Dame Church in Mons, Provence.
La Chapelle des Penitents-Noir in Menton, Cote d’Azur
The Church of St Thomas’ a Becket at Fairfield, Romney Marsh.
Poppies surrounding St Margaret’s Church, Barming
The 12th century Notre Dame Church in Moustiers St Marie, in Provence
The Abbey, Saint Tropez in Provence
La Collegiate Church of Saint Paul de Vence in The Cote D’Azur
Eglise Saint Jean Baptiste rises over Fayence in Provence
St Margaret’s, Barming, Kent in Winter
Santuario della Madonna della Rocca in Castelmola, Sicily
As well as painting overseas I have painted places in the UK. Some of these have come about as part of research into our family histories. Mostly the paintings have been done from photographs taken at the scene although this year I hope to do a little more painting at the place, but not too […]
As we have travelled around the world I have been painting some of the places we have seen and enjoyed
This blog is a start at sharing some of these with others who may too have visited these places or would like me to paint a favourite scene for them