Sunday, 18 February 2018

#52Ancestors, Week 7, Valentine

Valentine’s Day as a celebration hasn’t been a big thing in New Zealand and Australia until probably the last 30-40 years. It definitely wasn’t a “thing” when I was growing up, like it appeared to be on US television programmes we saw. A bit like Halloween, it was one of those odd American celebrations that I used to wonder at, in letters from my penfriends. It is definitely a “thing” now though – very commercial and over the top.

So, where to start for this topic? I looked in my tree for events which had occurred on February 14. There were a few, but they were all for very distant relatives, and mostly long ago.

I did come across someone for whom I don’t know a lot, and I have spent most of the day trying to discover more, to no avail.

Valentine Becker was born in Rüdesheim-am-Rhein, Rheingau-Taunus-Kreis, Hesse, Germany in 1846. He was the first child to Friedrich and Elisabetha Becker. I wonder if he was born on February 14? He soon became an older brother to Emelia and Gertrude and possibly to Friedrich who was born in October 1850. I can’t be sure though until I can locate those records as Valentine died aged 4 sometime in 1850. Two short years later his parents and siblings left their home on the banks of the Rhine and emigrated to Sydney Australia. In all my searching there doesn’t appear to be another Valentine in the tree perpetuating his memory or existence.

But here is another Valentine’s story.

My parents became engaged on Valentine’s Day 1957. My Nana, born in England where Valentine’s Day had been celebrated by the exchange of small tokens of affection or handwritten notes between friends or lovers since the mid eighteenth century, thought it was very apt they had chosen that date. Mum and Dad though were completely unaware of the significance – at the time. It is one of those little facts that is stuck in the recesses of my mind, and just happened to pop into the forefront when I was pondering what to write about this week.


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