How far back in your family tree can you go?
When thinking of my family tree I think of a branching binary chart. Each ancestor necessarily has two parents so over the aeons this tree expands to branches and twigs. I envisage a grand oak in full leaf.
The extent of my knowledge is however just a two year old sapling with only four slender stems. There are flowers and leaves and fruits, many new shoots,
and roots with descendants pushing through loam and silt and rock.
There are legendary characters hidden amongst the misty branches of the great tree. Behind dewy cobwebs a horseman, an explorer, an artist who did paintings of ships and large families who seem to have vanished, slid away into the haze of it.
An ancestral chart can be explored in greater depth with members of the clan coming from North and South and East and West to converge where eventually my parents met. Such a chart is full of hidden treasure of places known and loved, pastoral, civic, seafaring. A history of trades and crafts now obsolete.
A map can be expanded by zooming in to explore the terrain. Get a feel for the places and how much they have changed
To complement this map are artefacts handed down, almost archaeological, mementos, objects with blurred stories from different ages. I pause and place them, piece together the bits fragmented by time, flotsam on a tide of generations.