A simple lesson for developing your family history;

or: Always carry a pen & paper!

Back in the summer of 2001, we were on holiday with my Aunty Esther and her family in Bournemouth. My cousin, her son David, was over from Australia for two months. Whilst we were there, we visited the Russell-Coates Museum - a treasure house of antiques from all over the globe.

Russell-Coates Museum

This is the fairly simple front entrance - nothing compared to the sights inside.

Anyway, back to the story....

Wandering around the Museum, we went into the dining room. Aunty Esther exclaimed: "We used to have a table like that..." In the middle of the room is a beautiful dining table, about 12 feet long -

Dining Table Dining Table

"Yes," she said, "We had one just like it at 24 Dalebury Road, Wandsworth, in London. Mother made me polish it every day, and we used to play table-tennis on it!"

I quickly found a pencil and piece of paper - information like this only comes up every so often! And then other memories came flooding back: "Father (William James Willis) had the only car in the street," "He preached round the corner at the Trinity Road Baptist Chapel - people queued round the street corner to listen to him." "Mother went up the road to watch the cricket..."

Later in the evening, Esther telephoned her sister Olive. After relating the days events, Olive said "He worked for the Oriental Missionary Society...." We had always thought in the family that it was the Baptist Missionary Society that he worked for!

Back home, a quick search on the Internet revealed the Oriental Missionary Societies email address - here was a possible contact that we'd never known about. After a few emails, and some letters, the result was the wealth of information that we now have on my Grandparents, William James Wills, and his wife, Florence

AND, an invalauble lesson:

Always carry a pen & paper!