The pigs in the tree
Are my children reflections of people I never even met?
Adele Hamilton, Editor Parent24 (Shawn Benjamin)

Every couple of years, one of the children has to do a family tree for school. The first time was painful and involved many phone calls to older family members:
'Ouma, what were your mother's 9 siblings' names?'
'Auntie C, what was granny's first husband's surname again?'

Now we have the master document and it's just a matter of finding space for them all on a piece of cardboard. In our case it's unusually complicated because of big families and a strand who emigrated from Europe during the war, but are now all deceased.

And yes, we have a few colourful additions like the ancestor whose 'sister' turned out to be his biological mother, and the auntie who was  a pig farmer and never married.

Occasionally I will see one of my sons use a facial expression or a gesture, and wonder whether Aunty J the pig farmer also pulled that face sometimes.

* Trace the past with columnist Tracy Engelbrecht, who's done a proper study of her family tree.
* Here are the first steps if you want to start your own family tree.
* Have a specific question about tracing your ancestry? Ask our family heritage expert.

Got any unusually leafy branches in your family tree? Tell all. You could win a R250 voucher from if your family is as colourful as ours.

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