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Other stuff around Portsmouth: Family past and present

As I’ve mentioned once or twice, Portsmouth featured prominently in our itinerary because of dad’s origins. His dad was born there and lived there until late in his teens when he moved to New Zealand. My grandfather had a few sisters and as a result, dad has several English cousins who materialised only in recent decades.

During our week in and around Portsmouth we saw all and met all we could with a tie to dad’s family.

Meeting up with dad’s cousins Ray, Rosie & Helen at the Churchillian pub on Portsdown Hill in Portsmouth. We must be related – we’re (mostly) all tall!

Mum and dad with cousin Helen in the cafe with the best views in Portsmouth

Me, dad and Helen during a visit to an old family church at Farley Chamberlayne

Dad and more first cousins who we met in the gounds of Portchester Castle

The Porchester Castle meeting place was also handy to the parish church of St Mary, which held significance for dad’s cousins

Dad and his cousin David visiting his parents’ memorial plaque

My great grandfather was a Royal Marine for 18 years

He was based here at the barracks in Eastney, now home to the Royal Marines Museum and private residential apartments

One of the navy ships he worked on, the HMS Victory, one of the main attractions at the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

He also worked on the HMS Illustrious.

Dad at his grandparents’ grave. Two of his aunties are also buried there

My great grandfather was only 46 when he died

My great grandma stuck around another 30 years

Dad’s dad lived in this street in Southsea when he was born

When my great grandfather died he left six children, my grandfather being the eldest and the only boy. He emigrated from England on his own as a teenager under a scheme which was to have seen his sisters and mother eventually join him. However for various reasons that never happened and he never saw his family again. Happily though he met my grandmother and they proceeded to have 10 children, who produced 24 grandchildren (voila, me!).

My grandparents. Unfortunately my grandfather died before I was born

I’m sure my grandparents would have been blown away if they could have seen this gathering of their descendents in March 2011

When we left Portsmouth for London that was the end of the family history theme of the trip. It was this theme that prompted me to travel around with my parents for a month, particularly as mum has collected so much information about who-what-where-when. Between her ancestral ties with Cornwall, dad’s with Hampshire and going to these places, have to say I’m pretty happy with my English roots and my decision to have gone on the trip.

Family portrait of sorts in the pub (how English!)

7 Comments Post a comment
  1. Hayley, first of all I do like your banner picture very much.
    (Large) Family gatherings are so exhausting – but also can be fun!

    30 September 2012
    • Thank you – that region of New Zealand is my favourite part of the world. It’s good to make the effort for big family catch-ups, otherwise it usually only happens around funerals

      30 September 2012
  2. Sounds like you had a great time with your folks, Hayley – were are you going next?

    1 October 2012
    • Planning a month in the US around this time next year, but have to first see where the key dates fall on a big project of mine at work. I can just imagine everything will clash nicely…

      1 October 2012
  3. Ali #

    Lovely photos! I love meeting relatives and think it’s great to learn more about our family histories! And, wow! What a large family! I am sure your grandparents would have been very impressed and proud with the gathering of you all last year!

    3 October 2012
    • Thank you. The gathering is especially significant now as sadly the family is about to lose one of dad’s brothers.

      3 October 2012

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