I Bequeath You This…

As you may or may not know I am studying genealogy part-time. I have been a very dedicated armchair genealogist for over 10 years now and it’s a hobby I absolutely love. So for me, anything family tree related gets me rather excited. I love listening to people’s stories; anything from a chance meeting in a faraway land to a decision of going back to school can be a wonderful story to tell. But this post isn’t going to be about being inspired by a person’s tale. Rather, I would like to explore this possibility; is being able to write an ability that is passed down through the generations?

A few years ago while I was researching a branch of Hulk’s tree, I came across his great great grand-aunt in the 1901 census of England. Her profession was recorded as ‘Artist’.  Ooh, how exotic I thought. Amongst the dressmakers, butcher’s wives and milliners there stood a self-proclaimed artist. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to trace this girl any further which was quite frustrating so I don’t know what happened to her or if she continued her life as an artist.  I remember mentioning this find to Hulk and he said to me ‘Oh, that makes sense then. Mums always been really artistic. And you’ve seen my brother’s drawings’. Yes, I have. His brother’s drawings are fantastic. He really does have a gift. And now, decades later, here’s my daughter who would paint all day everyday if I let her. Has the artist been passed down to her? I know I can’t draw to save my life so she didn’t get it from me….

I drew this. No, really. Just now. 

On my side, we have scholars, scribes and poets. My grandmother was a poet. I am a writer. My cousin is also a writer. My grandmother’s uncle was a writer. Ok. Beginning to see a pattern here. But surely things like this can’t be cut and dried that easily? Can they? Or is it just a case of writer’s luck striking on a random group of people who may or may not contain members of the same family?

Is art something that can be passed down, like the colour of your eyes or the shape of your brows? Do you think you have inherited your craft?

About Virginia

Writer, reader, crossword puzzler and conspiracy theorist.

9 Responses to “I Bequeath You This…”

  1. I think creativity can be passed down… or maybe it’s the environment that influences creativity – a creative person influencing and encouraging their children?… oh, well…I don’t have the answer. This can be debated for a long time! I do know that when I was a little girl I would spend hours drawing, coloring and cutting out very, very tiny pictures. And I mean, very, very tiny. My mom still has some of these. I was a little surprised (ok, very surprised) when I noticed my daughter doing the same thing. She drew, colored and cut out very tiny pictures. She didn’t know I used to do this and I never gave her the idea. So.. who knows? 🙂


    • Wow, thats amazing that your daughter is now doing the same thing! See, I love all that. And it makes me believe even more that art/creativity and the way you may express it is definitely passed down. How else could you explain something like that? 🙂


  2. Oh, by the way… I LOVE your drawing!


  3. Great art! And a wonderful sharing of your tree. Knowing where you came from is a great way to ground yourself as well as fertile grounds for storytellin’. Thanks for sharing part of your background with us.


    • Thanks! I really had to cut back otherwise that post could’ve been pages long! lol I love anything genealogy, it’s a real passion. Yes, knowing where you came from is incredibly important. I’m so glad you liked the post 🙂


  4. My grandfather was also a writer… he was killed in WWII quite young, but left behind short stories and journals about the experiences he had flying for the USAAF during the war… I think it is genetic! (Now I’m going to have to look back further…)



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    […] did a post on this a few months ago (you can find it here) but I thought about digging the topic up again because I’ve been thinking – is writing is […]


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