Serious questions ~
Who was the bright spark in ancient geekdom who decided that family history should be defined by lines and begats?
Who were the brighter sparks who devised the rigid wheels and stylised trees to chart and constrain the abundant, multi-dimensional landscape of ancestry?
For a landscape it is, our ancestry; a landscape of wide open spaces,
crisscrossed with highways and byways, one way roads and slender bridges, little lanes, and streets that go nowhere, signposted for all directions.
A landscape of well-defined boundaries, as well as soft, slippery edges, fluidity and possibility.
A landscape that reveals both the neat and the orderly, the tidy rows of heritage,
and the more common, impenetrable thickets of entwined limbs and leaves.
A landscape replete with the swathes and layerings of old growth and new.
And let’s not forget the twists and turns which lead to small surprises and unexpected delights.
Yes, family history is embedded in the lay of the land,
entrenched, without doubt, in terra firma;
or so it seems, until the land falls away, alters and shifts and, suddenly, one is all at sea.
Topsail schooner, “Amelia Sims,” (120 ft., 98 tons) at old wharf, Motueka, about 1903. Built in Australia it reached the home port—Kaiapoi—in 1901 and though having an auxiliary screw for berthing purposes sail was its chief means of propulsion. In moderate weather “Amelia Sims” would carry ten or twelve sails and be a worthy sight in deep water.
—Photo by courtesy of Miss Nina Moffatt, Motueka.http://nzetc.victoria.ac.nz/tm/scholarly/tei-NHSJ02_06-t1-body1-d4.html
This post came about following a little jaunt in the countryside at the weekend. I traced some family history, found more questions than answers, and discovered, to my great surprise, that my great great grandmother’s second husband built her a ship, the Amelia Sims which was one of the fleet of sturdy scows which played an important role in New Zealand’s early transport industry.