I frequently use the Street View in Google Maps to look at the property where my ancestors lived long ago. Sometimes, I’m rewarded with a view of their house that has survived the centuries.
Although the buildings and properties have experienced changes in the intervening time in cosmetics, construction and destruction, my digital excursion is worth the time.
I’m fairly sure that the home my 2nd great-granduncle, Edwin Vanini Smith died in at 7 Wellington Square in Nottingham, England still stands. At least the building appears to be old enough to have been in existence before his death in 1901.
During these digital, no passport required, journeys, I always take the time to digitally ‘walk’ through the neighborhood to get a sense of what it looks like now and may have resembled way back when.
In many locations in England and other countries, where homes have been around for ‘a while’, are close together, near shopping areas or rail lines and, I can almost hear the sounds of the neighborhood, smell the bread being baked down at the bakery and see the neighbor lady hanging out her wash to dry.
Imagine my surprise today, when just a few steps down the street at 16 Wellington Square, I looked up and thought that a UFO had been captured by the Google filming vehicle.
It’s shape reminded me of the curved wing of the space craft used by invaders from Mars in the old War of the Worlds movie.
A UFO over the home of my 2nd great-granduncle? That would make a great family history story!
But alas, it wasn’t to be. Sliding the view further up and down the street revealed the UFO to be a small gouge, bubble or ding in the plastic dome that covers the Google cameras.
It is either that or the UFO is tiny and keeps pace with the camera vehicle and slides along the 2nd story walls of buildings when it isn’t in the sky.
So, the family history story that I hoped to tell our grandchildren went the way of most UFO stories. Explainable. Fun for a second. A natural element caught in a photo from a viewpoint that accentuates the image of something different than the truth.
It would have been a great story though. I hated to let it go. I hope that there aren’t other ‘stories’ in my family history research that are just that, …. ‘stories’, not proven facts, that I’ve interpreted as fact from my ‘point of view’.