Starting a Picture Story of One’s Family

In Thomas Hood’s famous poem “I REMEMBER”, he refers nostalgically to the house where I was born, and despite the changes in the birth situation, with hospitals being more frequent than homes, in the last 100 years, one’s birth place remains a significant environment for one to remember. Similarly, other homes that one’s ancestors have lived in seem important parts of the genealogical story. As I indicated at the conclusion of my last article for LONGSHOT, part of one’s genealogical researches might include a visit to or photograph of the homes of one’s ancestors in so far as the buildings still exist or their sites are known.

During the last twenty years, on my various Sussex visits, I have looked at Palmers Farm, West Chiltington, one time home of Peter Linfield; Old Clayton Farm, Sullington, where Elizabeth Linfield was living at the time of my grandfather’s birth; and various places in the Nuthurst/Horsham/Coolhurst/West Grinstead areas, such as the sites of SNOWS FARM and BOTTINGS. John Linfield, the well-known Horsham attorney, lived in The Causeway, for several years. If any building still remains, one can photograph and build up a useful collection.

Associated with this type of research, one can investigate the mobility of one’s family. For example, the Peter Linfield family of Storrington whish is the branch of the family that mainly concerns my current research, shows the beginnings of movement in the 18th Century. Peter was born in Nuthurst, lived in West Chiltington, and died at Storrington. Farming families like the Linfields have never been noted for their mobility, however, and most LIN(D)FIELD families tend to remain in the Sussex, Surrey, Kent, Hampshire, and Isle of Wight areas.

Most family photograph albums could be raided for pictures of the houses where one’s immediate family have lived for any considerable time. Of course, if one knows that an ancestor or member of one’s family has lived in any house with interesting historical or literary association, or architectural features, this must be included. My maternal grandmother was in domestic service at Mockbridge Farm House, Shermanbury, shortly before “Michael Fairless”, lived there, for example.

Family history really becomes alive when one can discover information about the lives of one’s ancestors and our researches in the 20th Century will make the work easier for future generations. So please collect as much data as you can in building up the story of one’s own branch of the LIN(D)FIELD family tree, including family photographs, drawings or even copies of paintings.

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