However did we manage without the internet? Catriona Smith (née Carmichael)
…and where idle googling can lead you…be careful!
Like many of you, I received an email in February or early March about the weekly archive items which would be featured on the Merchant Taylors’ Schools website from 2016 to 2020 to mark the 400th anniversary of the school.
I actually ignored it until one day when I was thinking about the impending family reunion I was helping to organise for descendants of my maternal great-great and great grandfathers, the Plint clan. My eldest brother (an old boy of MTS) was collecting information about various members of the family to provide an up to date biographical document so that the cousins who didn’t know one another very well could find out more about each other, and if they came to the reunion, meet face to face as well. Additional information on our common ancestors formed a large part of the document. Quite a few members of the Plint and Carmichael clans were pupils at MTS/MTGS over the last hundred years or so, as were cousins on other sides of the family. It’s a small world.
Perhaps it was this very vague train of thought which prompted me to remember the school email and look at the website to seek out the archive entry. I was taken aback to see on the very first entry a picture of my great aunt, Constance Plint, (known to me as Aunty Connie, who was a pupil from 1906 and then a teacher at MTGS, completing her qualifications by distance learning during WW1, truly an achievement in those times).
I contacted my brother and we arranged with the school archivist, Anita Barry, to have a copy of the picture to put in the family document. (It formed part of a collection of documents about Constance Plint given some years earlier to the school by one of her nephews’ family who had the original papers including references for future jobs. It makes interesting reading.)
But before I phoned the school I was intrigued to see what other offerings the archive blog had put on the website…. You know how it is with the Internet, once you get hooked into a search.
I looked at the entries which were there, about 4 weeks’ worth, and was further astounded to see that the one issued on my birthday 8th April, was a picture of my German exchange group from 1967! Not only that but my actual name was mentioned in the accompanying write up. I am the one hiding behind my pen friend Sabine, who has pole position next to Mrs Woodhall, our German teacher. (Mrs Woodhall was a scary but very talented and inspiring teacher for me.)
This was altogether an embarrassment of coincidences….. but rather comforting in a funny sort of way. Putting oneself in context, so to speak.
I think I have recovered now from the searchlight of unexpected fame, and can thoroughly recommend looking at the archive blog: you never know what you will find.
As a footnote, especially if you have a large family, I can also recommend a family reunion: ours was in July and a wonderful weekend of catching up and making new acquaintances was enjoyed by nearly 80 people of all ages from 3 months to over 85 and from all corners of the world. And all of whom had one common ancestor not so far back, in the 18th and 19th centuries … If the members of the various families represented who could not make it in person had been there we would have numbered well over 100. Now that puts one in context!
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