History’s Reminders

It’s interesting to think that if history hadn’t happened the way it happened things would be very different; I might not exist for one thing. Nothing I know might exist now. But we’re not always aware of our connections to history. For instance, I have no idea how I might be connected to the Napoleonic Wars, except maybe I have, and recently I found an intriguing possibility.

There was a family rumour that we had a German ancestor, which I’ve found out is true: it’s my great great great great, who was born in Hanover in 1806. Out of interest I looked at the historical context of Hanover in this time and found this:

The Convention of Artlenburg, also called the Convention of the Elbe, signed on 5 July 1803, dissolved the Electorate of Hanover. Consequently, the Elector’s army was disbanded. Many former Hanoverian officers and soldiers fled the French occupation of Hanover to Britain; George III, the deposed Elector of Hanover, was also King of the United Kingdom.

King’s German Legion, Wikipedia

Now, my ancestor couldn’t be one of these soldiers -much too young – but could his father have been a Hanoverian soldier that migrated to England (aftter 1806) and joined the King’s German Legion? It’s complete speculation; I have no evidence of any connection, and it might not be the only reason for migrating during this time, but the closeness in dates is an interesting possibility.

If the Electorate of Hanover and hadn’t been dissolved and the French not occupied Hanover then there would be far less migrants, possibly including my ancestor who might have ended up marrying another Hanoverian instead of an English woman who was also my ancestor.

But it’s also interesting from the point of view of being an immigrant myself, that people have always been moving, for political or personal reasons. Go back far enough and we all have ancestors that have migrated from somewhere else.

My Ancestry

Recently I had an offer from someone to helpy me with a bit of my family tree and though I knew a bit, I now know a lot more! At one point it goes back 11 generations with the earliest year being 1627 (I haven’t told my family yet, so they might be in for a surprise if they read this…), that’s before the English Civil War!

I have various roots around England: Sussex, Middlesex, Surrey, Gloucestershire, Derbyshire, London, Bedfordshire, Huntingdonshire, Cambridgeshire, Yorkshire, Essex, Cheshire and Staffordshire. There’s also Scottish roots from Islay, and Argyle and Bute, then there’s Irish roots in Dublin and Donegal. I just need someone Welsh to complete this picture! (there’s one that has, I think, a Welsh surname…). Then there were rumours of German ancestry on one side of my family, who, I found out, was born in the city of Hanover. But I discovered there was a German surname somewhere else that I didn’t expect.

Emmigration seems to be in my blood, so now I live in Spain and my girlfriend is Swiss with German and possibly Italian/Sicillian roots. If we have kids then they’ll have quite a heritage!

The whole idea of “belonging” somewhere is getting stretched a bit… 🙂