My Life to Date (and how I've Survived It)

Lockdown Nostalgia

Yesterday’s post was an inkling that I might be suffering from a bout of Lockdown Nostalgia, and more than just a craving for a night out with friends, or jumping on a plane to get away from it all.

I have always believed in drawing a line under things from the past.  You can’t go back and change anything, so there is no point dwelling on them, but I do dwell on one thing though.

Why did my younger self lack the nous to learn more about my forebears when I had the chance? To ask questions about my blood relatives who either died before I was born or when I was so young, I was unaware their loss would have a lasting effect on my life.

I cannot blame myself entirely. Both my mother and much-loved aunt, for whatever reason, never willingly wanted to talk about their formative years.

I had no idea my aunt was born in Constantinople, Istanbul, as we know it until we travelled to South Africa together.  I would have been in my thirties, and just happened to be in charge of the passports!  I had always assumed she was born Kirkby Overblow, near Harrogate, where my grandparents had lived and brought up their young family. But no, over 2000 miles away in post-WWI Constantinople.

We spent three weeks together and travelled over 17,000 miles by train, car and aeroplane.

Why didn’t I follow it up?  Why didn’t I ask pertinent questions when I had the chance?

I’ve delved into my family history, on an off throughout the years. A distant cousin did a fantastic job on my father’s side of the family years ago but picking up the DNA strands of my mother’s side of the family has proved a little harder to investigate.

My grandfather was a Yorkshireman.  His side of the family hasn’t been hard to trace, and he had eight siblings. As a young corporal from the north of England, he met, and fell in love with my grandmother in Constantinople, while caught up in the ravages of WWI.

My grandmother was Greek, and the burning question is, what was a young Greek woman doing in Constantinople?

I have found a record of their wedding at the British Embassy in Constantinople, courtesy of the British Armed Forces And Overseas Banns And Marriages, and it is there that the trail goes cold.

British Embassy.jpg

The British Embassy in Constantinople circa 1918, where my grandparents married. Photo Credit:  BYU

I know I’m caught up in the romance of their story, but I need to know more. How my maternal grandparents met and why my grandmother was not in the country of her birth.

I’ve bounded through my life, and now I am curious to find out more about the people who passed on their genes to me.  Lockdown nostalgia, maybe.  Threads of a plot for a novel, possibly.  Innate curiosity to find out more the people whose bloodline I share; absolutely.

2 replies »

Thank you very much for visiting my niche-less blog! If you have time before you leave, would love you to tell us what you think. All the best, Tessa Barrie

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