My maiden name is Priestman it is apparently German if family folklore is to be believed. My middle brother even found a family crest, although I think perhaps the American branches may have invented that!
My parents divorced when I was eight so although I knew my dad's mum, i never did know much about the family history, which is why it was great to investigate it. I never did finish off a lot of the rellies though, so last night I did some fevered research to discover when they all popped their clogs.
One good piece of news was that my Great grandfather Edward was 82 when he shuffled off this mortal coil. Unfortunately his son George William died young at only 57. Fortunately this is not a new trend, as my father will be 74 this birthday. His Great grandfather George was 75 when he died. I'm hoping for a little Priestman longevity!
The one thing I have found really frustrating is that I cannot always find my people on the census. We know they are meant to be there, but often it is in transcription that they get lost. Now as the Priestman's of my branch were from London, its not so easy to do a street by street search!
Edward Priestman was born in 1860 His mother has the quite groovy name of Elizabeth Mary Catling Mead. I can find her husband and two daughters on the 1861 census, but not her and her infant son. In 1871 I cant find any of them, but I did happen upon a ten year old Edward Priestman visiting a grocers. I wonder if he had been set to work as a delivery boy!
My biggest challenge is linking the London Priestman's to their many relatives up in the North East, as that's where the majority are in the 1800's One family tree has gone back to the 1600's but I am a long way off settling my leaves on those branches!
Still it is good fun, and even better when you have juicy gossip like I found when I did Neil's tree. Might share that with you another time :-)