About me

In the beginning

I arrived early, some 6 weeks early, to be precise, much to my parent’s surprise, especially as I was their firstborn. But after 10 days, Mum and I went home. My first 4 years were spent sharing a house in Bolsover Street, Leicester, with my parents and paternal grandparents, Harry and Daisy. Finally, with help from Daisy, my parents managed to purchase their first home, an end-terrace at the top of Spinney Hill Park.

My early year schools were Moat Road Infants and Medway Junior School. My sister, Kathryn, arrived just after I started Junior School. I was 5 years and 10 months old. This age gap meant that, thankfully, academically, there was never any comparisons made between us.

For senior school, I should have gone to my nearest, Dale Road, but I was sent 2 miles away to Crown Hills Secondary Modern for some reason. Little did I realise at 11, that this decision would shape the rest of my life. Why you might ask? The lessons learnt? Well partly, but more importantly I met my first and only boyfriend, who became my husband in 1974. If I had gone to Dale Road…………………..

But before I end up writing a book please let me explain my passion for Family History.

My Passion for Genealogy and Family History

This obsession, and yes it is an obsession, is both intriguing and revealing about my ancestors and myself. Besides a tendency to be obsessive. I call it passion, I can add to that, tenacity and a very curious nature – some may say nosey, I couldn’t possibly comment.

I now have 35 years of family history research experience. It all started in 1987 when my husbands paternal Grandmother gave me some very old original certificates and my Mum gave me two decorative single-family tree documents by Moses Knighton, her Grandfather. I had no idea that these gifts would ignite a lifelong passion for my ancestors’ lives. On Ancestry, 437 public trees feature my 3x Great Grandfather, Jeremiah Knighton, born in 1760. So I have concluded that genealogy is in my maternal DNA.

© Gay Evans
© Gay Evans

When I first started everything was written out by hand – I shudder at that now. Then I progressed to a typewriter with a small word processor. All I can say now is thank goodness for computers.

© Gay Evans

In March 1990 I was made redundant and had nearly a year without work which allowed me more time to visit record offices and libraries. In the August of the same year I visited St Catherine’s House (formerly Television House) the home for UK’s references to Birth Marriages and Deaths until the late 1990’s. After two days of lifting the heavy ledgers off the shelves (No such fun to be had today) I ordered 23 certificates at £5 each (currently £11*). After which my husband asked the question “How much is this going to cost!” The truth is over the years – well I hate to think, the fuel, the hotel stays, subscriptions, magazines, the visits to churches and churchyards, villages, and of course TIME pouring over documents, entering information on to a computer , – well you get the picture.

© Gay Evans

When I moved to a new house 14 years ago in a mad moment I drew (in permanent marker) my family tree on my office wall. It takes up the whole wall but it has proved to be a very good aide-memoire. It will be a sad day when I move house and have to paint over it – several coats I suspect.

It’s been a fascinating journey and I have loved most of it – not sure my late Mother was over the moon when I found out her parents didn’t get married until she was 4. But there were extenuating circumstances. My Mother being an only child and with my only sibling, Kathryn, dying at a young age, I have become the custodian of all my maternal family archives.  It is a great privilege and a responsibility too.

I have found knowing where my ancestors were born, where and how they lived, what they did for an occupation, have all helped me to understand my heritage.

The internet has made a huge difference to my research but beware it is also very easy to make mistakes. However on the plus side it has saved me hours of travel and I am now able to do a lot of research in a comfy chair with a hot mug of coffee to hand.

Wishing you all the best with your research. Go to Useful links and Top tips pages for help.

If you would like to get in touch please use the contact form on the Contact Us page or email family@thecuriouspast.co.uk

Gay Evans

© Gay Evans – Me now 🙂

Genealogy v Family History

Genealogy is the pursuit of the next ancestor aiming to get as far back as possible
Family History is to add stories to the names together with historical facts.
I started with Genealogy but I now pursue family history.  But if anyone asks I consider myself to be a Family historian. In recent years the two have been amalgamated on Wikipedia. https://familysearch.org/blog

7 thoughts on “About me

  1. I have enjoyed looking at your site. Sorry that I can’t name the young man! I’ll come and visit if we are ever up in Derbyshire.
    Best wishes
    Wendy Baker (nee Fearn)


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