Charles Dickens Lives On

A whole lotta nothing…

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way—in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.” This is the opening line of one of my favorite tales from Dickens: A Tale of Two Cities.

I’m not going to get political, but I will say that the events across the globe for the past few weeks brings the opening of this book to mind. And what does this have to do with my typical musings on genealogy? Nothing. Mostly because as I look back on the month so far, I realize that my attention span has been limited, I feel pulled in a few different directions, and because of those things, I’ve not been able to string a coherent train of thought to save my life. I think I need to be honest about this.

This isn’t to say I haven’t been working on anything worth sharing. I have. I am fortunate to have family members who are the happy and willing collaborators and recipients of my continued poking around. They make it easy for me to keep on keeping on. Bless them.

In between my work frustrations (honestly, I think this is the theme song for September 2019), some good things have happened:

1) Valerie’s application to DAR was finalized and submitted. Major accomplishment. Why? One troublesome ancestor happened to die unexpectedly without a will in 1821. David Dimmitt screwed up my life for a really long time. I will share their story in the future, because my need to find a smoking gun led to the discovery that his father did business with George Washington. Exciting stuff!

2) I was able to make a third–yes, third–connection between my Mom’s people and Dad’s people (outside of their marriage, that is). If you don’t believe in past lives, it might be time. Why is this strange? Well, neither of my parents’ people lived remotely close to each other. Ever. One side would represent the Union in the War Between the States; and the other would be on the side that damned northern aggression.

3) I’ve met some really cool people through Find-a-grave. Most of the time, people blow my questions off or give me a weird story about why they can’t help me. But the past few weeks, I’ve met people who are genuinely willing to dig in and seek the truth. That’s refreshing.

4) With my fingers crossed, we just might be really close to getting my sister’s DAR application finished tomorrow. I’m hoping my Maxwell ancestors sprinkle some fairy dust on this application. After all, I’ve been researching them for almost 3 years now.

5) My neighbor is probably one of the biggest reasons I’m sane right now. Getting a text from her that bubbly is being served on her porch in 30 minutes has got to be the best way to end a work day. Hands down.

6) My parents have made a generous offer to pay for me and Valerie to join them in Plymouth next April. Next year marks the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower arriving in Plymouth, and we’re going to be celebrating the event. Mom and I are both members of the Mayflower Society, and I recently joined the Pilgrim John Howland Society. That was an unexpected surprise, and I’m grateful we will be able to do it.

If you’re realizing there is no story here now, you win the prize. I just realized this might be my gratitude journal instead. When I can’t tell a story, it’s best to be grateful for friends and family. May you find blessings with yours as well.

Author: Betsey K.

Mother of two daughters, two Siamese cats and a 3 legged dog. Genealogy hack. Research nut. Search engine proficient. Daughter, sister, aunt, cousin, niece and ex-wife. And a person who strives for balance and peace.

9 thoughts on “Charles Dickens Lives On”

      1. I’ve come to take the internet with a grain of salt! lol I’ve read people say the Dickens couldn’t write characters well. Huh? The afore mentioned Tale…I loved and rooted for the doctor! And don’t get me started on David Copperfield. I loved David, his aunt, Mr. Micabrewer (spelling) and many more.

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      2. I’m right there with you… And I’m no critic of any literature, but I love his stories and characters. A Christmas Carol is one of my all time favorites as well. A ritual at Christmas and in all shapes and sizes. I think his stories are all relevant today.

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  1. Another little bit of synchronicity here as I walk daily past the Albion Hotel in Broadstairs (a beautiful seaside town in Kent, UK0 where I am currently staying and Dickens wrote some of Nicholas Nickleby there. During the recent Folk Week, I played a couple of gigs in the 39 Steps micropub which used to be the Assembly Rooms frequented by the great man and his cronies and Bleak House is a mere ten minutes stroll from where I am staying.

    Don’t worry about not having “a story”, no doubt it will all pan out and spare a thought for us with so many stories we are still over a month behind in our “contemporaneous” blogs never mind doing all the historical stuff that still awaits!

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  2. Wow, that is pretty coincidental! I’m envious of your ability to get around such historic and wonderful places so easily. One of these days, I’ll follow a Dickens trail (along with my genealogical pursuits!). It would be really easy to traipse through England, Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland and do these things.

    And thank you for your encouragement. I think having too much going on can be a huge distraction from any focus whatsoever. Have a wonderful weekend!

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