When I have visited Cumbria, I have been surprised at how comfortable I have felt despite being thousands of miles from where I live. Especially when I have walked on the fells, I have felt an unusually peaceful feeling as if I am not far from home. I have also been surprised by the depth of my interest in the Fell Pony breed, since there are other breeds that I could have more easily become involved with to fulfill my horsemanship dreams. While I have known that I have many English and Scottish ancestors, I’ve never really known their hometowns. Recently I have gained some insight into my familial background and why perhaps the fells feel like home to me and Fell Ponies have captured my heart.
I’ve recently come back from a family gathering where I got to visit with a number of relatives that I haven’t seen in a long time. A few of my relatives are keenly interested in genealogy, so there was inevitably lots of reminiscing about family history. Names and relationships were conversation topics repeatedly. On my way home from the family gathering, I was reviewing a website about the Border Reivers. One part of the website particularly caught my attention; it listed clan names common to the Border Country between England and Scotland which Fell Ponies call home. On the list was the name ‘Storey’ which I immediately recognized as being on my family tree, though I wasn’t sure where.
After returning home, I searched my father’s side which is on my computer because of a project in progress. ‘Storey’ didn’t appear there, so I knew it was on my mother’s side. I sent an email off to the family genealogist, but before he could respond I remembered that I had a book that my aunt published several years ago of her genealogy research. Without too much effort, not only did I find the ‘Storey’ name but also the town in which my great-great grandfather was born in Scotland in 1840.
Next I pulled out a map about the Border Reivers that my friend Eddie McDonough shared with me recently. One of the features of the map is a locator for clan names in the Border region. The map confirmed the relationship of the Storey name to the town name in my family genealogy.
I’ve had a good time laughing about this familial connection to Fell Ponies since Colorado is a far cry from the fells. I’ve lumped this connection with other ‘connections’ I’ve noticed over time, like 20% of the Fell Ponies residing in North America at the time I started looking at them in 2000 were already in Colorado. And now I memorize Fell Pony pedigrees the way that I memorized my own family tree when I was growing up.
To see if any of your ancestors hail from the Borders, click here.
© Jenifer Morrissey, 2011