Dyslexia and Me: Genealogy, Poetry and Degrees


In the last month I have been doing a lot of genealogical research. I find it highly addictive and I am sure that between myself and my mum we have spent a small fortune on delving into our family’s history. I love trying to put the bits of the jigsaw together and find it more relaxing than tasking. I think the only thing I find highly irritating is the amount of misinformation people have on their family trees on Ancestry which takes you off down the wrong path completely.

A great example of this was when someone had assumed that our common ancestor, who was a shepherd from Fife in Scotland, was somehow linked to a lord and lady and linked through generations to Charlemagne and the Roman Empire. Actually there were two families with very similar names, both the husband and wife, who were married within a few years of each other in Fife. One was the family of a lord and lady, the other was the family of more shepherds. Think it’s safe to say which one my family was tied to, but there were several family trees that had gone with the misinformation. 

I saw a similar thing happening with a tree linked to my Welsh side of the family. Someone had linked our family, from Glamorgan in Wales to another family in North Wales who eventually linked back to the Percy family. The Percy family I had no idea about when I first saw this link, but I was reading a book at the time on the War of the Roses which mentioned the Percy’s and it confirmed what I had suspected, that I was on another wild goose chase from someone else’s misinformation. Fortunately, I had a feeling that there was something wrong when it hinted at me and linked me to the other tree, so I hadn’t invested too much into the idea.

I have started researching new parts of my family tree in the last month. Both on my great granny’s side of the family. As she was adopted, it’s only become clearer in the last few years who her biological family were. So I have been looking into her biological mother’s ancestry as we have no idea who my great great grandfather was. As of two days ago, I have also started to research great granny’s adopted parents lineage too (and found a lot of trees connected with loads of errors and misinformation already). I realised that although her adoptive parents aren’t blood links, they were her legal parents and very important in her story within our tree.

Studying my genealogy has proved to be one of my dyslexic/dyspraxic strengths and my mum is always surprised by just how much information I find and how I get us back on the correct track despite all the misinformation on Ancestry. How do I know it’s misinformation? Sometimes it’s a gut feeling. When I get a gut feeling I then try to find as many records on the family as I can not only from Ancestry but also Scotland’s People, Find My Past, Family Search etc. Slowly but surely I’m weeding out sections of the tree that we currently have on the information of others and replacing it with certificates which back-up or disprove current trees. There are a few trees that had no information whatsoever which I try to be as careful with as possible so I don’t lead someone else on a wild goose chase!


I’ve been thinking a lot about writing again. I’ve had some new ideas for books I’d like to write, but I really need to sit down and get started. I find that pretty tough going though. I would love to have more published than just two pieces of poetry.

Source: Amazon.co.uk

Source: Amazon.co.uk

I started reading Literary Frivolities, Fancies, Follies and Frolics by a 19th century author, editor and printer called William T. Dobson last night. It’s quite interesting so far as he looks into different types of poetic techniques people have used over the centuries. It has a few lines from poetry as examples and a few full poems that had been published before 1880 when this book was originally published. A book of poetic techniques and poetry from before my favourite poets were making waves!

It has discussed different kinds of poetry and mentioned Celtic, Scandinavian, Germanic and Old English literature though not in detail. I found this very interesting when he mentioned a couple of lines, as studying Celtic and Scandinavian literature was key in my degree. I have only just started the book so I do hope that he returns to these areas later within the book.

William T. Dobson wrote a number of books on literature, especially poetry, so I hope to find that there are sections on Celtic, Anglo-Saxon or Scandinavian literature within them. He also wrote about publishing history in as he was a publisher in Edinburgh, so this must have been a topic of great interest to him. And he also co-wrote a book on the Peninsular Campaign, 1807-1814. I really need to get a hold of this book as I am really interested in the Napoleonic Wars. This interest was sparked after finding out one of my relatives on my Pop’s (grandfather) side of the family fought at Waterloo and was in the 42nd Regiment of Foot from 1806-1817.

Reading Literary Frivolities, Fancies, Follies and Frolics makes me wonder if William T. Dobson ever thought that his great great great granddaughter would:

A. Be reading his book in 2015?
B. Have her own poetry published?
C. Studied Celtic and Scandinavian literature and have a university degree in Celtic and Anglo-Saxon Studies with History?

Yes, William T. Dobson is my great great great grandfather. I bought one of his books, which have recently been republished for my granny. She is William’s great granddaughter. She was very shocked and surprised when I gave her the book as she had no idea how much research I had done into her family, or that William’s books had been republished.


I was so greatly amused when reading Literary Frivolities, Fancies, Follies and Frolics last night and finding that my great great great grandfather had written about poetry, which I seem to have inherited his love for, and about Celtic and Scandinavian literature, which I studied at university and now have an undergraduate degree in.

I would love to have met William T. Dobson to discuss such topics, though I’m sure we’d have very different perspectives due to the different eras in which we were born. I do have a real sense of pride knowing that I am related to someone who had the same passion for poetry as I do.

Watching Who Do You Think You Are? on TV always makes me giggle when they find out that a relative they never had any idea about shared a similar passion to themselves. Perhaps we find our passions through our environment and our upbringing but there may be a little bit that comes through our ancestral line (I would like to think so). I believe that my gran thought William T. Dobson was an uncle rather than her great grandfather. It makes it more interesting knowing what I know now and what I have inherited from William whether that’s scientifically genetic or not.

I thought that my readers of Dyslexia and Me may be equally as impressed or tickled by this tale of Genealogy, Poetry and Degrees.

Posted on May 6, 2015, in Blogging, Personal Experience and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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