Yesterday we went up to Mum and Dad’s place in Rickmansworth for a ‘family reunion’. I’ve put the name in quotes, as it wasn’t really a reunion as we’d never met the people who came along before this week.
Over the past few years, Mum has been really getting into her interest in tracing the family tree. To some extent there has been interest for a while, but she didn’t really get going until after my grandmother had passed away, partly because when my uncle tried before he disputed a couple of family myths about how some of my ancestors came to England from Ireland!
Anyway, after tracing much of her side of the family, Mum has moved on to tracing my Dad’s family. During the course of the search she came across another Ann Peat, from Ohio, also tracing the Peat family line, and subsequently they have managed to trace their respective family trees back to the same person who emigrated to the USA.
Following on from this, Ann, and her husband Harry decided to make a trip to the UK to see some of the places where the family originally came from, and as part of that my parents hosted a get together, and also invited the various other parts of the Peat family that they had traced.
It was definitely a great afternoon, meeting distant parts of the family, and of course the respective members of each family who are tracing their bits of the tree had a lot to talk about. It also turns out that our Ohio cousins are Mac fans – even running their own specialist Mac Consultancy, called The Peat Group.
Perhaps the only awkward moment was when someone mentioned the Iraq war, as it turned out that they were Bush supporters, although I gather that having been in the UK for a week or so, they’ve realised what most people over here think. However I did get an answer to the question of why so many people voted for Bush, which does highlight a big difference between the opinion we in the UK have of politicians and what they thought. They said that they felt that the negative press that Bush recieved in the US was due to a negative, liberal media, and that he was really a nicer guy that he had been portrayed. Compare that with the fundamentally opposite opinion of politicians we have in the UK, where we are so used to political spin that our opinion is that the majority of them are being untruthful or misleading in order to get us to vote for them. Certainly most people think that the stuff that the media tells us is the tip of the iceberg, and of course the slow peeling back of the increasingly shaky justification for the war in the first place has only led a lot of people in the UK to distrust politicians even more.
As an aside, there was actually a certain irony in talking politics with somebody from the Peat side of the family, as certainly my Dad’s parents never really struck me as political. All the politics where on the Kinsey side where my Grandfather Kinsey was very active in local politics holding a seat on his local council until his death.
After that we wisely avoiding political discussion! After that we then moved on, and found a shared interest in Doctor Who, so they were keen to watch the penultimate episode of the new series, which has yet to be sold to a US TV station, even sending an e-mail back home to amongst other things, tell their kids about the show! (More of my opinion about last nights episode in a later posting.)
All in all, it was a good afternoon, and certainly great fun meeting distant relations. We’ve all swapped names, addresses, web site addresses etc, so hopefully we’ll welcome some of our American Peat relations back soon, and maybe go and see them too.