Roughyedbach on Family Tree Circles
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A couple of years ago whilst researching my Brain family ancestors I was surprised to find a particular photograph on the Sun Green website. http://www.sungreen.co.uk. The site hosts a collection of old photos and pictures of places and people of the Forest of Dean. The photo in question was a small black and white image taken around the early 1950's and was of an old man, a young woman and some puppies, but what was strange about this particular photo was that it was mine, (or so I thought)!
I had been given the photograph, along with some others, by an elderly Aunt who was only able to tell me that the gentleman in the photo was her uncle Elam. I had been busily researching 'Uncle Elam' for a while when the same photo appeared on the website and although I had begun to establish where he fitted into my family tree, what I really wanted to know was more information about his wife Catherine or Kate, who is part of my direct family line.
I posted a response to the photo online and was almost immediately contacted by Yvonne, who had originally posted the photograph. She knew both Elam and Kate very well and had spent many hours in their company when she had been a young woman working for the Forest of Dean Forestry Commission.
Yvonne is blessed with both a fantastic memory and the most beautiful gift for writing and it was not long before we were exchanging emails on a regular basis. Oh, the stories she has recounted about this lovely old couple! I'm sure that they will stay with me forever, as they really have brought the past to life and helped fill in so many other gaps in my tree.
Yvonne and I met up last year and spent a lovely afternoon together. She had been almost a surrogate grandaughter to Kate and Elam and it was lovely to meet her and forge a lasting friendship which I'm sure both Kate and Elam would be really pleased about. In fact I often think that those two old Foresters somehow orchestrated our meeting
and brought my long gone family back to meet me!
The name Brain is believed to have been derived from the Danish name of Brandt, meaning fire brand or torch. As Viking invaders settled in Normandy the name altered to Brayn or Brayne.Indeed two towns still remain in Normandy which still bear this name. We know that one Brayne in particular was later to cross the English Channel and do battle alongside William at the Battle ofHastings, where King Harold was so famously killed by an arrow in the eye.
The loyalty of Brayne was rewarded with a title and family crest. This crest, having been removed from the Grange in Littledean, Gloucestershire, can now be found above the fireplace in the Littledean Hotel. It clearly depicts 3 hunting horns and, what I later discovered to be a hemp hackle, a device which was used for combing flax. Interesting fact is that the Grange was once part of Flaxley Abbey.(Hemp=Flax?)
The Brain family have been living in the Forest of Dean from at least 1066! My own research has thus far only been able to take my family back with any degree of certainty to around1653c.
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