Family Book Lunch Speech
First of all Nick and I would like to welcome you to La Capanna, Cobham’s celebrated premier restaurant.
A family lunch of this diversity and magnitude is I imagine a first for all of us; some 60 representatives of the families covered in my book aged from three years to 80 years; some of us have not met for many years, and some not at all; so please don’t let the excitement get to your heads. Bernardo our Maitre D has requested the Ladies to KEEP CALM and the Gents not to chuck the bread rolls and the Children to be an example to their elders.
The families covered in the book are;
On my maternal Grandmother’s side the Mawles-thanks to Mary Cherry as their historian. Also welcome to Jean Harris. daughter of Auntie Gwen who, as a typical Mawle had an ongoing war of attrition with another Alpha female, my grandmother Elsie Mary. And thanks to Miriam for helping me get in touch with family members
Also welcome to Hamish GS who has come back from Mongolia for the lunch.
And to Michael Mawle who I have not seen for some 60 years
On my mother’s side are the Cowderys. My mother’s sister Margaret has come from Canada for the lunch, which she said must be a once of a lifetime event; she must be our guest of honour. Margaret has put together the Cowdery and Pollard trees. Also welcome to her son David and his wife Annette who have come from Austria in secret to surprise her. There are also some Cowderys coming from Australia-they hope to arrive a bit later!
On my wife Cherry’s side are the Adcocks who emigrated to South Africa in the 19th century, and are now in Kenya and Abu Dhabi. Rachel and her family are here to represent them. They are planning to emigrate to Austrialia .
On my father’s side are the Gibbs. My treatment of them has been cursory since Martin has already published his own Blockbusters Anecdotal Evidence and Seven Generations of Gibbs, which must have sold out by now. And also a book about his maternal grandfather. We all ask where he is going next. Maybe his son Philip will take up the baton. Possibly with illustrations by his brother Patrick. Special thanks to Martin for guiding me in the highways and byways of genealogy.
My father and his third cousin Stella Layton who was the Aunt of my fourth cousin Mike Rowland representing what I call the Sussex branch of the family had worked on the Rowland tree back to the mid 19th Century but Martin got me into Ancestry.co.uk, and the Dictionary of National Biography which took me back another 2 or 3 generations. I then relied on the Church of Latterday Saints to take me back to the 16th century. Others will have to carry on the research.
Also at the Rowland table are Bob and Penny Astbury, my first cousin, who put together the family trees in a readable format on Excel, to whom I am very grateful. When you come to read the book-I will be signing copies after lunch, you will look in vain for these trees-I have decided to keep them on line viewable via our family website. This way comments and corrections can be made, and the trees and our family history can become truly dynamic.
Nick has arranged a four course lunch for us; since the menu is fixed it will be easy for you to move to different tables after each course to meet other members of the extended family with your glass and napkin .If everyone moves no point.
So I will finish with a toast-so please raise your glasses to the Extended Family.