I’m a bit of a family history nut – I’ve had an Ancestry.co.uk subscription for as long as I can remember and, slowly, I’ve investigated my family tree.
In 2012, I got to what I like to call “The End of the Line”. I’d found the earliest ancestor I could on my grandfather’s paternal line. I spent months writing a family history essay to give to my Granddad as a Christmas gift.
The problem I had with this essay was that I’d tried to write it like a story that flowed. Family history doesn’t do that. Each person is their own story and occasionally that story flows for a generation or two but then it stops and will pick up again somewhere entirely different.
Flow just didn’t happen.
I always thought digital scrapbooking was never going to be for me – layouts of other peoples wedding day or children or overseas holiday just never gave me the creativity fizz.
But creating a family history scrapbook which combined people, history, politics, the changing European geographical landscape – THAT gave me the fizz.
It took a few years for me to find the time (and, admittedly, the confidence) to start my scrapbook. Here is the first layout I created a few months ago. The subject I chose to start with is Gorm the Old, the first officially recognized King of Denmark.
Papers I created myself
Frame and tag by Laitha’s Designs (Attic Treasures kit)
Screws by Regina Felango (Last Roses kit)
Fonts are Livingstone, Typewriter Antique and Ballantines Serial
I found it a challenge – it was my first layout and there was so much information I wanted to include – his relation to me, dates of birth and death, his title, plus his biography.
The biography has been cobbled together from a variety of sources, many of which contradict each other (helpfully!)
This is what the text says:
Gorm the Old was officially the first recognized King of Denmark. Born in 900 A.D., he ruled Denmark from 936 until his death in 958.
Gorm was considered old in the sense that he had always been the ancestral head of the Danish monarchy, plus the custom at the time was to give nicknames to people as surnames weren’t formalised in Denmark until the 19th century.
Gorm married Thyra and they had three sons – Toke, Knut and Harald, who later became King Harald Bluetooth. Legend has it that Gorm and Thyra also had a daughter, but she was captured by trolls and taken away to a kingdom in the far north.
The three sons of Gorm were considered true Vikings and departed Denmark each summer to raid and pillage. One day, Harald came back to the royal enclosure at Jellinge with the news that Knut had been killed whilst attempting to take Dublin, Ireland.
There is conflicting information as to Gorm’s death. Some sources say he was so grieved by Knut’s death that he died the next day. Other sources say Queen Thyra died first. Either way, the King and Queen were eventually buried together beneath a large runic stone erected by their son, the new King of Denmark, Harald “Bluetooth” Gormsson.