|D. Albery Bone
|I remember when my grandfather sat down and for the first time, showed
me his work on the family history. He pulled out boxes of files full of
faded obituaries, newspaper clippings, sketches of family trees, copies
of family bible pages, and postcards, pamphlets and guides from English
villages. These were laid out on the kitchen table, and each piece examined.
There were small photographs, some black and white and curled at the edges,
some brown and glued to cardboard, death notices, old and smelly. The importance
was not in any given item's age, or how it was found, or what it said,
except that it was part of a story. Stories were the common element.
A photograph usually showed only a face. What excited him more were the criptic notes made in land registry offices and church archives that added, in even the slightest detail, to a story. It may have been about the shepherd who died of heat stroke while moving the herd, or the relative who was the Archbishop of Jamaica. Grandpa would hold up a postcard he found in a tourist shop, show me the etching entitled Local Workhouse, and explain how his great-grandfather was discovered to have been an orphan, and during the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution he may have worked in just such a place. His lesson was that a story lives in the imagination. It is not the evidence or proof itself, nor is it dependant on proof. A story is not a photograph, or a census record, or any collection of words. It's what happens in your mind when you find meaning in these things, and you imagine the answers to the questions that remain. It's something you create everytime you think about it and that is the key: a story, especially a family story, is as much about you as it is about the ancestor.
|Discovering the earliest Bones||Around the 1960's, Grandpa first began looking up family records, eventually
travelling to England in 1966 to see the childhood home of his grandfather.
In the back of his mind was a story about how this grandfather, as a little
boy, lived in a house next to his school and was able to pick apples from
the tree that overhung the school fence. When Grandpa travelled to the
town of Petersfield, found the address of the house in the census records,
and arrived on College Street, he could see the house his grandfather grew
up in, and the school was still standing next to it.
He wrote a small "book" about our family history in England and Canada in 1968, and left a whole box of research files that he added to right up to his last year. The family stories of the Bones and others are drawn from this material, and more that I have gathered since.