Europe | United Kingdom (UK), Great Britain | England | London – Lost history

Europe | United Kingdom (UK), Great Britain | England | London – Lost history

As most people know, I’m into my family history. It’s just that the last few years I’ve put it aside as I work on my family future.

I’ve cycled all over Lithuania looking for graves that long ago ceased to exist. In my last Live Diary on this site, I dragged my poor husband all down the Danube to the Black Sea with the vague idea that my great grandfather might have followed the same route, even though there is no record of his existence before he arrived in the US with a fictitious name in the 1860s. For all we know his accent was fake and he wasn’t a Russian nobleman at all, but the son of a New York politician on the run, changing his identity. He might never have been anywhere near the Danube in his life.

I scuba dived in Cuba, on the off chance I might see a bit of my dad’s cousin’s husband’s plane that got shot down in the Bay of Pigs. I think about ancestors every time we go to Kent, though I don’t know where they lived. But on this latest bike trip, I cycled the very streets my ancestors walked and didn’t even know it. I drank beer by canals that they would have seen, and took a similar boat route, and perhaps even similar roads to get to the town. I glanced at the 1000 year fort that they most certainly would also have looked at.

I met Sonja through a friend. I knew she lived in a town called Leiden, which happens to be half way between the Hook of Holland and Amsterdam. It wasn’t until I got back to London and told my mom I’d been to Leiden in an email that my mom said, “didn’t the Chiltons go there?”

Not only was I in a town where my ancestors went, there is an entire MUSEUM in Leiden devoted to them. Nothing vague or uncertain; they were THERE. So all that excitement of going into the past, being where my ancestors were, was lost, as I just thought we were stopping by a cute little Dutch town between one place and another.

Category : Europe | United Kingdom (UK), Great Britain | England | London , Uncategorized