Sunday, 13 March 2011

Miss Norman (written August 1999)

Older members of the Society of the Genealogists may remember Miss Gwen Norman who was a member and a volunteer here during the 1980s. About ten years ago Miss Norman left us her exceptionally detailed genealogical research in which she managed to trace all thirty-two great-great-great-grandparents: a remarkable achievement. At long last we are tackling the hundred and twenty or so binders in which this material was originally stored.
Her papers are more than just genealogical jottings, for they contain her life story and notes about her parents and other members of her immediate family. It is also full of photographs of the places, mainly in BDF, CAM and HRT, where her ancestors lived.
Cat lovers will be pleased that the collection contains snaps of the various felines she and her family had over a fifty year period. In fact there are so many photographs, I have had to abandon work on the collection for the moment because we have run out of the polyester wallets in which to put the photos. Even so I hope that this material will be available by the end of September.   
Miss Norman's Collection is curiously moving for it illuminates the tragedies (the killing of a cat by a neighbour) and pleasures (her fun-loving father) of an ordinary family in an ordinary London street. It made me think that we should all leave such a life-story behind to give our descendants and others interested an idea of the times we lived in and the lives we lived. 

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