Saturday, May 15, 2010

Sepia Saturday 23 : I Blame Enoch


Looking back at my Sepia Saturday posts, one thing I notice is the overwhelming sense of disorganisation with regards to my weekly postings. Whilst others take a structured and logical approach to their family history, I flip from branch to branch of my family tree like a demented gibbon (or, for my British readers, like an expense-claiming politician). Here we are at Week 23 and we have Enoch again (you met him in week 17. his grandsons in week 16 and his son in week 21). The way things are going, you might meet his father next year and his third cousin by the end of the decade. I long to be systematised, I crave design. I want neat little diagrams in leather-bound books fixing forever the exact relationship between Cousin Ada and Great Aunt Ruth-Annie. 

So I start with Enoch. Born in the fourth quarter of 1878 in Bradford in the West Riding of Yorkshire, the son of John Burnett, a weaving over-looker, and Phoebe Broadbent. John was a man on the up living in a town on the up. Whilst it was quite acceptable for his daughters to follow him into the mill, he wanted something better for his sons. The eldest son, Israel, was apprenticed to a butcher and would go on to own a butchers' shop in Bradford. The youngest son, Albert, was apprenticed to a coachbuilder and would go on to run a small business near Manchester. But Enoch, the middle son, was different. Whilst the others had firm goals and planned campaigns to achieve them, Enoch had a wondering mind. He joined a travelling funfair for a time and  flipped from one thing to another. Sometimes he was a window cleaner, sometimes a clock repairer. Often he was both at the same time. He obviously had difficulty sticking to one thing or in taking a systematised approach to life.


I have started a file. Written "Enoch Burnett" in large letters on the cover. I have added one or two census records and started to draw little boxes on squared paper. But as I examine the 1881 census I notice that the chap living next door is listed as a "cow keeper" whilst his son is listed as a "book keeper". How unusual. How could anyone keep cows in the middle of industrial Bradford? I start working my way through old books and searching through old records : all thoughts of organisation and structure evaporate as I embrace the circuitous with the fondness of an old friend. So I have no idea what Sepia Saturday offering you will get next week, but the chances are that there will be no logic to it. It's in my genes. I blame Enoch.

Go to the Sepia Saturday Blog for links to other Sepia Saturday posts.
Links to my other Sepia Saturday posts.

19 comments:

  1. Alan, your Mr. Linky link is directed to your previous post from Mar. 27th with Enoch and the donkey.
    Your scheduling thing must be working mind you.

    Kat

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  2. I, for one, find the illogicality and randomness charming, unpredictable and fascinating.

    Kat

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  3. yeah, alan, i dont have a lot of sepia saturday posts, partly because i dont have many photos and partly because i have to do what resonates with me on the day. my whole life tends to be like that and i know it isnt viewed as the best way but i seem to manage

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  4. Another wondering mind here; I can definitely sympathize. And I understand the wandering off the original thread to find out how somebody living in an industrial city could be a "cow keeper". It's wandering off after anomalies like that that leads to great discoveries!

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  5. Charming and very interesting too. Wandering minds are the best.

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  6. Well, I love Enoch's approach - and yours, too. I think it's wonderful to see great old photographs and their stories no matter the order. Perhaps you can do a paper album in order... and keep sharing random photos and stories with us.

    My great-grandmother Elizabeth Armitage, and her father, Abel, were from Bradford. She was born in 1852. I've never been, but maybe some year, or decade.

    Thanks for your wonderful post.

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  7. It would be wonderful had his middle name been Metatron.

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  8. God Bless The Wandering Minds! What a Cheeky Grin Young Enoch Had!

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  9. Thanks goodness, it's not just me that feels this way. I constantly fail to be systematic in my approach as well. Don't worry, Alan. We'll take whatever and whenever. It's sure to be 'quality'.

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  10. I think I have a touch of Enoch in me as well, Alan.

    It makes for a more creative and interesting life.

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  11. Personally, I prefer the non-systematic approach, but then, I've never liked life wrapped up in nice tidy boxes. As all my old pictures are packed, I've been relying on whatever pictures fate has turned up for me to write about.

    Like your Uncle Israel, my oldest son is a butcher, too, although he refers to it as a professional meat-cutter and he actually had to take a one year college course prior to his three year apprenticeship.

    Every family has to have a wanderer, and perhaps Enoch was yours.

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  12. Love the keepers of cows and books. So much wonderful info hiding in those census lists.

    I have a photo of my grandfather, as a boy, peeping out a window with those same style lace curtains, as in the window with Enoch.

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  13. God bless the Enochs of the world. I like his wondering/wandering mind.

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  14. Well, Alan, I've been a demented gibbon, too! LOL! There's no turning back now, I'm afraid!

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  15. well this does look very organised

    I'm rather given to flipping myself

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  16. I think Enoch is to blame for me too. I can't keep it all together. I am too visual and the left brain doesn't cooperate. I guess I use to be a "keeper of cows" as it was my job to get the one or two cows to the barn for milking each night. Great post my friend.

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  17. ALAN, that looks like homework!
    One never is told of someones life in an orderly and controlled manner. You have to discover, as you've shown, throwing out the pieces to be easily matched or forced together! -J

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  18. I blame nothing on Enoch! Instead, I rejoice that people like Enoch existed and turned the world on its side a little. How boring it would have been otherwise. I'm off to drink a toast to Enoch!

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  19. Here's to your rambling mind--it takes your readers down unexpected & delightful pathways! Thanks, Enoch.

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