This post first appeared on the GeniAus blog on 25 August 2011. We have subsequently visited the cousin on several trips to the UK, whenever we visit he usually gives us an item or two from his Gowans collection. That's Genearosity.
Our English cousin with whom we spent a few days this month takes a different approach to family history from me. A bowerbird and collector he collects things related to his ancestors. His collection ranges from bibles to family silver to letters and postcards to a grandfather clock to paintings, portraits and poetry books.
He generously gave us a few treasures to bring home. Unfortunately we had to leave two large items, a portrait and a framed photograph behind as they were too big to fit in a suitcase and we were not sure about whether we would need to get the timber frames and backing fumigated on our entry to Australia. They have been wrapped and put away for our next visit. In the interim we will see what the quarantine laws require us to with them to bring them into Australia.
I was quite taken by a book written by one of his ancestors, Rev. Henry Brierley, The Rochdale Reminiscences written in 1923. Although Brierley is not one of our family lines our Ball line hails from Rochdale. I started reading this little book after breakfast one morning and found it fascinating. In the 30 odd pages I read there were references to places I knew from my research and to a number of the Ball family names, the content of this little old book put me in the time and place of our ancestors. Our cousin who could see how taken I was with the book asked if I would like a copy. I replied in the affirmative. I am so grateful that this charming collector cousin was willing to part with one of the five copies of the book he had collected over the years!
I was quite taken with the Foreward written by Brierley:
It has been said that Memory is a Paradise out of which
none can drive you. In writing these Reminiscences
I have lived in that Paradise. The far larger number
of those I have spoken of have passed away, but in
friendship I live with them still in very happy memory.
May the Readers of this poor little record enjoy pleasure
like to that which I had in writing it.
There was so much pleasure for me between the covers of this modest little tome.