2. Find out who you really are

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2. Find out who you really are

This one is a classic from Simple Acts history. 

We used to introduce it with the surprising fact that the English word pedigree comes from the French ‘pied de grue’ (= ‘foot of the crane’), probably because a simply-drawn family tree looks a bit like the foot of a bird. 

So, we asked, what about you and me? If we traced our lines back to their beginnings, would we find a big-footed French bird – or something equally as unexpected and entertaining?  

The response was fascinating. Millie found out her surname was brought over by peasants from Ireland, while Dev discovered he had roots in Algeria. 

Michelle at Salusbury primary school learned that her family were descended from Huguenots, the UK’s ‘first refugees’, who fled France due to religious persecution in the 17th century 

“I’m glad they found safety in England,” said Michelle, “Otherwise I wouldn’t be here!” 

The theme of Refugee Week 2019 is ‘You, me and those who came before’, so we’re re-issuing our call for you to do a little digging. Can you find a story of migration in your family or community that you didn’t know before? Do you know where your name comes from, and what it means? 

To help in your search, you might: 

  • Talk to your grandparents or older relatives 
  • Look up the meaning of your name or surname 
  • Do a DNA test!  

Let us know what you discover! Share your findings on social media using the hashtags #SimpleActs and #Generations, or email us.