July 23, 2013
Long lost family
One of the joys of family history is making contact with other members of your tree. I’ve been in touch with many ‘relatives’ online but until now, I’ve never had the opportunity to meet anyone in person. Following publication of an article on American emigration, a member of the Nottage family from Barkway in Hertfordshire wrote to me and we discovered that we shared the same ancestral roots.
The Nottages have lived in the village of Barkway since the early nineteenth century. My family left in the late 1800s to find work abroad and in the north of England but other branches of the family stayed behind. Through the censuses from 1861 to 1911, there are many Nottage families living on the High Street, which is the main road through the village. The parents of the family member who contacted me are the very last Nottages to live there and I was very excited when they invited me over to meet them.
As I approached the door of their cottage, I did feel a little like Davina in Long Lost Family. Fortunately there had been no painful separations or tragic histories to herald my visit and we had a lovely afternoon chatting in their beautiful garden over cake and sharing stories from our family’s past. I felt as if I had known them forever and we instantly formed a connection.
After tea we took a walk along the High Street and my guide, Ann pointed out the houses where the Nottages had lived. Although I’d visited the village before, it wasn’t until we walked along the road together that the history truly came to life. I had a wonderful time with my ‘long lost family’ and I can’t wait to visit again.