Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Ancestral homes

One of the block of 3 fancy steading conversions adjacent to the farmhouse is up for sale, so being nosey, I went searching the web for the asking price. I didn’t find the house (so how do they expect to sell it?!) but I did find an archived genealogy message board posting from someone in Australia trying to locate their ancestor’s home for 1795. No, it isn’t my house, but it used to be in one of our fields!

Their house doesn’t show up on current maps, so the person searching would never have found it. I recalled a conversation with FL about how the farm used to be known as “C… and the Latch”. This person was looking for "the Latch" and gave the old parish name.
FL dug out a copy of a map from 1862 showing our house, and just to the north west, adjacent to the old drove road, a small farmhouse with a well: "The Latch". I emailed the searcher with a link to a current map, describing the exact position of their “ancestral home”. Exciting! Having spent a long time on my own family tree, and hitting a placename brick wall in rural Northern Ireland, I can imagine how this person felt.

We went out looking for evidence of the house at the weekend. My son was quite intrigued by the prospect of finding some archaeology! But the field was cleared of stones many many years ago when it was under regular cultivation. Looking at an aerial photo (don’t you just love the web!) there is a change in the colour of the grass in the right sort of area, so probably if we were to do a “Time Team” style excavation, we would uncover the well, which FL says would have been filled in with rubble from the house itself when the field was cleared. Call in "geophyz" Tony!
The same old map shows that my house had a walled garden – what a pity that is long gone!

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