I never win anything, not even the fete raffle. Well I did come third in a hurdles race when I was eleven but that was only because the person in front of me didn’t realise that you had to carry on running after you cleared the last hurdle. So imagine my amazement when I found out that I was the gold medal awardee for Britain in the recent Genealogical Rockstars poll, organised by John Reid of Anglo-Celtic Connections. Humbled, overawed, excited and a million other emotions. Now I guess comes the acceptance speech, where I thank my family, my agent and my cat. I would like to thank my family who have endured my historical obsessions since I took this up seriously 37 years ago – I was of course barely out of them pram at the time. I didn’t have an agent but people did champion my cause, so thank you too. And the cat? Well the cat has gone to the great cats’ home in the sky. Most of all I was truly moved by all the lovely comments from those who told me that they would be voting for me. I genuinely had no idea that my historical net had stretched so wide or had such an impact. When I look at the other award winners and nominees I know I am in illustrious company. They include people whose presentations I have listened to, hanging on every word; people whose blogs are thought provoking; people who write ‘must have’ books. An awesome line up.
Now I have to live up to the accolade. So what do rock stars do? I am not about to develop drink or drug habits, to lead a bizarre personal life or to start smashing up hotel rooms, as some of the musical equivalents are prone to do. I guess I just carry on doing what I have always done, trying to enthuse others with a love of history in its many forms. So this week I have a meeting of the parish history group. I will be taking the final (surely it really is final this time) pictures of local gravestones. I will be preparing an online one-place studies course and getting ready to address the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottowa, sadly not in person but via Skype, Then there is the next topic in the memories of 1946-1969 to tackle, there are family and local history queries to answer – as I have said before, so much history, so little time.