bridging the generations

During my teens I spent a good deal of time investigating my family tree. The earliest definite ancestor I found was one James Rutherford, who was recorded on his son Henry’s marriage certificate in around 1850 as being from Newcastle. His occupation was listed as “pilot” – which I took to mean a river pilot, the chap who went aboard incoming ships to guide them safely through the local waters. James was my great-great-great grandfather. This week Donna and baby James and I stood on the new Millennium Bridge over the Tyne. As we looked into the waters flowing beneath our feet we saluted our long-dead ancestor. Two James Rutherfords, standing in the same spot, separated only by six generations and one hundred and sixty years.

And today we visited Smailholm Tower, near Kelso in Scotland’s border country. The tower was once home to Sir Walter Scott’s family, and houses an interesting series of period costume montages depicting some of the local history and legends. From the topmost window of the tower we discovered we could see the village of Rutherford, although the Hall was hidden in the dip of the Tweed valley. James and I felt another deep connection with our past as we looked out over lands our ancestors had farmed only a few centuries ago.

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One thought on “bridging the generations

  1. Very nice mental image of the two James. My son and I don’t share names with any ancestors we’ve found yet, but have had the opportunity to walk among the gravestones of our anscestors. Family ties seem much more real as you read out the lives and deaths of family members so close and yet so very far away.

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