My husband was told that he had to be related to Robin Hood as his mum was born in Nottingham. Wow, that’s cool hey! But it was wrong. The truth was that she was born in a suburb of London called Mottingham. That gave me a chuckle when I ordered her birth certificate. Then he told me how his great grandfather fought Ned Kelly as a mounted policeman. That may have been right. His grandfather – John Goddard – was a police officer in a small town called Kiama and a lot of the cases he attended were reported on in Sydney Morning Herald. One of the cases was particularly gruesome and gives you a real insight to the strength and work ethic of his grandfather. The funny thing about both stories is that they both had a kernel of truth to them.
If my husband’s mum was born in Nottingham and related to a legend like Robin Hood, it would have been a footnote in history. My husband and I would not have been able to drive through the suburb of Mottingham when we lived in London and really seen for ourselves where his grandparents and mother lived. His great- great grandfather in the mounted police against Ned Kelly would also have been a footnote in history. But his story was even better because he was significant part of Kiama’s history. All his cases gave us an insight into his every day work life.
The other side of the coin is finding out that big stories can be true. My husbands great grandfather – Henry Goddard – was a Mayor in Concord in Sydney. Henry Goddard was a politician and worked on the council for around 20 years. He was also a builder that patented a new building system for homes that still stand today. The home my husband’s grandmother was born into is still standing and is heritage listed as Henry built that home with his system. In Concord there is a park, Goddard Park named in honour of Henry. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree I thought when I looked at these ancestors. John Goddard helped the public through policing, Henry helped people through politics, Coral (Alex’s grandmother) helped people through her service in the Salvation Army, Alex’s Dad helped people in the building industry in lobbying for them. To the present day where my very handy husband has renovated our home to an inch of it’s life and could talk all day about one of his favourite topics politics and loves to help people with their financial future. When they say that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, I really can understand that now.
Everyone has family stories and you need to listen to those stories because they hold the keys to a whole new depth to your ancestors. Those family stories are as important as certificates and names and dates. The family story is the part that gives your ancestor a real story in their life. To get started ask your family their story and if they would like to explore it further fill out our contact us form for a free initial search.