Why GenForward?

It should be clear from the explosion in interest in genealogy and sites like Ancestry, that there is a deep seated desire for people to know more about their pasts, to better understand where they came from. People want to understand who they really are, where they came from, and how they fit into the world.

They will spend hours online, searching for the smallest scrap of family history, a photo, a marriage listing, a birth certificate, or an immigration record. How much do these things really say about the people they refer to? About their lives, thoughts, knowledge, hopes and fears?

Read More

Pt 2: Whisky And Me

I will of course be giving my son a solid grounding in the world of whisky. Below are some of the basics of Scottish whisky and a few of my personal favourites.

Scotch falls into four basic types:


These are from the southern border regions and tend to be fairly light often featuring floral, fruity, and vanilla type flavours and aromas.


The island of Islay has several distilleries and these tend to produce stronger tasting and more heavily ‘peaty’ whisky which has a more smoky taste to it. Personally I find these more of an acquired taste but they do go very well with a good cigar on a cold night. As ever there is always an exception to the rule which I’ll come to later.


This region in North East of Scotland around the river Spey produces whiskies that tend to be fairly light or sometimes quite sweet. The Glenlevet which started my journey into whisky and Glenfiddich are probably the best known whiskies globally and are both speysides.


This covers anything from the northern part of the country and also tends to include the “Islands” region as this has not yet been officially recognised as a region in its own right despite producing many fine whiskies. Some of my personal favourite whiskies come from this area and they tend to be a bit stronger to taste and can again tend toward pearly and chocolatey flavours.

Read More

Pt1: Whisky And Me

Until I was in my mid 30’s I would never touch whisky. My father was from Edinburgh and there was always a bottle of Teachers or Bells knocking around the house when he was there. Having illicitly sampled the stuff I thought it was awful, even the smell made my insides churn.

That impression of whisky stuck with me for many years. Late one Saturday afternoon I started to develop a really bad tooth ache. In order to try to anesthetise the pain until I could get booked into my dentist on Monday, I decided that alcohol was the way forward. By this time I understood that the whisky I had been exposed to was effectively cheap blended junk, so I bought a bottle of 18 year old Glenlivet from the off license, and headed home to start swilling the stuff round my tooth.

Read More

Of Course We’re All A Bit Odd…

People often comment that I have a somewhat strange perspective on life, however I have noticed that many people around my age are replete with all kinds of strange quirks and character traits. Of course you could put this down to being a result of the ageing process, gaining life experiences and getting things into perspective.

More recently however, prompted by mental journeys back into childhood in order to have content for this blog, I have begun to think that there may actually have been more sinister forces afoot. A dark government (or even bigger) plot, to carry out some kind of consciousness alteration experiment on a whole generation. I refer of course to children’s television of the 1970’s.

Read More

Thing’s Ain’t What they Used to Be…

I’m not quite ready for my pine box yet, however I have been around long enough to watch a great deal of change in both things like technology (I was a proud owner of one of the first Binatone black and white pong machines and have been a gamer all my life), and the general zeitgeist in regard to pretty much most other areas of life.

I was talking with my son a few days ago, prompted by a massive whine from him about him having to do chores. To put some perspective on this, he’s 11 years old and is expected to empty bins, unload and put away the contents of the dishwasher, grab the mail as he walks past on his way back from school, tidy his bedroom, playroom, bathroom (a child having their own bathroom! Not in 1970’s England we didn’t!), and setting the table for dinner.

Read More

Multiple Guess

Whilst the actual value of “homework” is a matter for some debate (Finland stopped using homework as part of it’s strategy to improve education and moved from the same kind of spot in the leagues as the USA inhabits, up to be top performers), the fact today is that it’s part of the life of most children here in the USA at least.

My son is 11, and to be fair, the amount of homework that he has is really pretty minimal. It consists of about 3 times a week being given math homework, that seems to be m mix of going over recent teachings and stuff a 5 year old should be able to do (I believe this is considered “reinforcing the basics”), and an occasional one off piece of basic comprehension, or a science quiz or something of that nature. Really not much.

Read More

How Did We Ever Survive?!?

I look at the way life is today, and the way children are handled not only in my own house, but it seems most others round here. Then I look back at the way things were when I grew up and you know what, it may be amazing that I survived childhood, but the outcome is totally different in terms of self-confidence, independence and resilience.

The trend today seems to be to treat children more like they are fragile little flowers, with parents swooping in to deliver a hug or wipe a nose or whatever depending on the “disaster” at hand. When I was brought up, things might have been like that for the first three, MAYBE 4 years, but that was it. At 5 we were chucked off to “Play School”, with a bunch of other uncoordinated accidents waiting to happen, and basically given the ammunition to wreak havoc.

Read More

Answer Questions With Stories

GenForward is all about leaving a real legacy for future generations. Until very recently, the predominant method for passing on tribal and cultural knowledge, has been through the passing on of stories. Be it the rich verbal histories of the native American or Aboriginal peoples, the countless myths and legends of of Europe or Asia, or Jesus using parables to communicate his message to the masses, people just respond better to stories than simple facts.

Read More

And it’s Hello from Me….

Hi there, My Name’s Tom and I kinda run things over here at GenForward. A chunk of my time will be spent putting out blogs and trying my best to respond to as many of our member’s comments and issues as it’s humanly possible to do. Given that it’s likely there’s going to be a lot of stuff written by me all over the site, I thought it might not be a bad idea to tell you a little about myself and my background, so that it may give you some context for some of the blogs I might write and the responses I may give.

Read More
Page 4 of 4« First...34