I travelled to Feltham, a small city in rural England to discover my roots. What did I find? Take a look.
A story about almost discovering your roots
BY PHILL FELTHAM
Have you ever been to a place called ‘Feltham?’ Most likely not. The small town, sandwiched between London and Windsor in southern England, doesn’t see a lot of tourists.
What makes a small town in rural England so appealing to me? That’s easy. It’s my last name. In other words, this town could have been where my family planted their roots. I have no real proof; however, the town earned a spot on my prestigious itinerary because of its namesake.
My visit to Feltham was casual. I didn’t spend weeks researching my family history before I traveled because it wasn’t my main reason for exploring the United Kingdom. I did, however, bring my family tree, so I could show it to the local librarian. My family tree dates back to the mid-1800s, but stops—presumably—when our ancestors immigrated to Canada. Hopefully, this trip would shed some light on these unanswered questions.
No such luck. Unfortunately, the library was closed, so my questions about my family’s history remained unanswered for the time being. I didn’t have a Plan B to find information—and I didn’t really want to sweat over it—so instead, I took plenty of pictures. My father would like that.
Feltham has a nice little shopping community. It’s not London’s West End—you could completely walk the entire shopping district (one road) in ten minutes at a brisk pace—but it’s clean and quiet. The nearby mom-and-pop shops offer a variety of goods from clothing to touristy knickknacks.
The shopping district was busy; however, I wasn’t sure if shoppers were locals or tourists. Nevertheless, the trip to Feltham was a nice break from the bustling streets of London and the city’s busy tourist spots.
Certain moments were surreal. “This way to Feltham Library” or “Welcome to Feltham.” Better yet: “Feltham Transit.” These signs would be pretty insignificant to most people. Not to me, I felt famous. I almost approached the locals saying, “My last name is Feltham. Would you like my autograph?”
My father was disappointed that I wasn’t able to get any information, but was delighted to see my photos and hear about my experiences. In response, he said, “I wished I could have been there.” iT!
Phill Feltham is the publisher of The Weekly Wanderer. He has traveled to over seven countries and has worked as the Senior Editor at Maximum Fitness magazine.