by Kelly Marsden
In 1948, Grandad Ted treated himself to this BSA M21 Bike and Side Car.
Ted Howarth lived in Halifax, West Yorkshire, but his brother lived in Oldham, Lancashire (about an hour’s travel). After visiting his brother, the weather conditions changed and snowfall was thick and heavy. He drove back home over the moors.
When he pulled up outside his home, his hands were frozen and stuck to the handles (he had gloves on) and his eyes frozen open. He managed to call for assistance and alert Grandma Josephine. After plenty of warm soap and water, they eventually managed to release him and take him indoors to defrost!
This photo was taken on the day he purchased the bike and took it to show his brother. The girl in the photo is Ted’s niece, Marie – she enjoyed having her photo taken on-board, but when she watched her dad go off for a ride in the sidecar she cried and screamed until he returned.
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I recently read a great post on Lisa Louise Cooke’s blog about getting your children more interested in family history by talking to them about their own early years. You can read the post here: Family History for Kids Starts WITH the Kids
As a father of 2 children (aged 3 and 1), I’m really keen to capture their early years so they have a record of what they were like growing up. I don’t remember much about my early childhood (my earliest memory is probably around age four) and – although my parents have lots of photos from that time – I’ll never know the details…
- How did my older brother react when I was born?
- Who was at my first birthday party?
- What gifts did I get?
- Where did I go on my first family holiday?
- How did I react when I was given my first bike?
I use Twile to capture these moments for my children on the same timeline as our family history.
I have hundreds of photos and stories of my children growing up in the last few years, but can also scroll back in time to see my own childhood moments – and then go back even further to see my parents, aunts and uncles as children. And of course my timeline continues back to the early 1800s where I can explore my great-great-grandparents’ lives.
Right now, my children are too young to really appreciate any of this, but I love the fact that their own early years and their wider family history will be so easily accessible to them as they grow older.
I think that recent family history is a great tool for getting children interested in their ancestors, or at least giving them more awareness of the family that came before them.
How much of your life will be remembered by your descendants?
The death of a relative can often bring to mind all of the questions we wished we’d asked before it was too late. Why didn’t we ask them more about their life? Why didn’t we pay attention when they tried to tell us their story?
Once they’re gone, we will dig through boxes of photos they’ve left behind, maybe find diaries that we didn’t know existed. For some it may generate a new (or renewed) interest in their family history, but no amount of research can uncover a person’s full story.
I think about this a lot. I remember that my Granddad – who lived well into his 90s – always had a story to tell. But we were too young or too busy to ever really listen. Now that I’m older, I would love to hear the stories about his time in the war. Where was he stationed? What action did he see? How did he spend his time in the days or weeks in-between?
And that makes me curious about how he met my Grandma, where they went on holiday or how life changed when my Dad came along. How was parenting different for them than it has been for me?
Mixed with this frustration is a fear that my grandchildren will know as little about me as I do about my grandparents.
So I’ve made an effort to record my life so far. My family has a Twile timeline that starts in 1843 (the birth of my great-great-grandfather) and runs through to this morning (when I took my daughter to dance class). My descendants will be able to explore my life in detail – photos of my school years, my time at university, my wedding, honeymoon, birth of my children… and all with comments and thoughts that I’ve added.
In time, my kids will start adding their own stories and photos to the timeline, hopefully building a tradition that will continue forever – an endless record of the family story, which starts with my great-great-grandfather (until I get the time to work out who came before him!).
I’m curious to know how other people feel about the stories they’re passing forward. Have you ever thought about what your descendants will know about you? Are you doing anything about it?
We know that family history is more than just names on a family tree.
With Twile, you can create a rich, visual timeline of your family history, made up of milestones and photos, which everyone in your family can explore and contribute to. It’s designed for family historians who are passionate about learning more of their family history and want to share what they learn with the rest of the family. And it’s designed for the rest of the family, who can easily explore the family timeline and then add their own content to keep the family history right up-to-date.
By capturing your family history in the same place as everything that happens today, Twile turns your family story into something that never ends and never grows old.
Who we are
Twile was started by Paul Brooks and Kelly Marsden in 2013. We wanted our children to know who their ancestors were, what they were like and show how that history connects with their own early years and onwards.
“Make family history exciting and engaging for the whole family and preserve as many memories as possible for the future generations”
If you’re as passionate as we are about family history, join our online community or get in touch – we’d love to hear what you think about Twile and how we can make it even better.
Join the discussion on our Family History Facebook group
Like our Facebook page for regular updates
Follow us on Twitter: @TwileTweets
Send us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Or get in touch with one of us directly:
Paul Brooks: email@example.com | @beingpb
Kelly Marsden: firstname.lastname@example.org | @kellyjmarsden
Twile is all about preserving family memories and family history for the future generations. We are building Twile because we have young children and we wanted them to have a record of their early years and a knowledge of where they came from, who their ancestors were.
We have relatives that spend their spare time researching our ancestry and building the family tree, but very little of what they find is shared with the family. And if it is, it’s either purely anecdotal or it’s in a format that is very difficult to consume – we knew our children wouldn’t have the interest or patience to try and make sense of a scanned birth certificate or black-and-white photo of someone they didn’t recognise.
Every person in a family has their own memories and their own story, which will be lost if not recorded in some way – and even though someone in the family is researching and recording the family history, it will be forgotten unless it is shared.
But sharing family history isn’t enough. We need to make it interesting, exciting, engaging – it needs to be accessible to everyone in the family.
We need to stop thinking of family history as something from the past. Family history is created every day: new babies, first words, holidays, school, university, marriage, death and everything else in-between.
We’re proud to be part of a movement in the genealogy community that is working to make family history more exciting and engaging for the whole family, especially the younger generations.
That is why we created Twile.