Family history never ceases to surprise and delight.
It is an endless journey into the unexpected.
Skeletons leap from cupboards and sudden contacts from hitherto strangers breath life into people who so far have been mere names clinging precariously to the family tree.
This week, emails from out of the blue have unearthed another bag of surprises and added further grist to the memoir that is becoming an ever-expanding work in progress.
Overnight I find I am related to two sisters who met prematurely early deaths; one was an alcoholic, the other a drug addict.
A third relative from this same Welsh ancestral cluster spent years in a mental asylum after undergoing cross-examination in a sensational society murder trial.
From cursory reading it appears that Aunt Eva was employed as a nursemaid for the murdered woman and was accused of somehow having access to the arsenic used as the killing agent.
The common thread here is that many of their male line served in the Great War and either came back maimed, often in hidden ways, or simply never returned, in some cases their bodies not even found on the battlefields where they fell.
Their wives and families were left to struggle on tbe best they could.
Happily, more recent descendents have become absorbed into suburban respectability with not a black sheep to be found among them. At least, so far.
But one cannot help wondering what the next generation of family historians might eventually dig up.