Having retraced some of my roots on Dad´s side up in Scotland, a couple of weeks later Lauren and I did the same with Mum´s family. Her dad, Jack, was born in Ilkley in Yorkshire and moved out to New Zealand with his family when he was just 14.
Ilkley is also the birthplace of Barbara, an aunt who has gathered a wonderfully large amount of information about the genealogy of our family. She, her husband George, daughter Jodie and partner Mike were superb hosts for us and took us on a tour of the town.
Picnic in an Ilkley park.
This being a part of the world famous for the Industrial Revolution, when the area was filled with cotton mills, I was expecting Ilkley to somewhat grim. It was the complete opposite. Having been a fashionable spa town it is filled with big Victorian houses and leafy trees, and with the surrounding moors covered in wild flowers it is a lovely place. I was thrilled to see that some of the buildings connected to my ancestors were more or less the same.
The excellent wine shop that used to be the furniture store of my great grandad, joiner Arthur Baynes.
The house grandad Jack was born in.
It was a real pleasure and a privilege to be there, as it had been to go to Alloa. But though I enjoyed seeing where my ancestors came from, I did not feel any kind of connection to the places. It reminds me that while decades ago New Zealanders still called Britain Home, my heart will always lie in the South Pacific.
Not that I would not love to spend more time with those good people up North!