I have been searching encyclopedias, bashing away at internet search engines and ripping apart every reference book I can find.
But I still cannot find the answer to one question which still baffles me.
When did we all decide to become Americans?
This obsession with all things American has been driven home in the last couple of weeks.
Just about every corner of every shop has been taken over by Hallowe’en.
As a child of the 1960s I can remember fleeting references to Hallowe’en and even chart-topping nonsense like the Monster Mash.
On the whole there was still something a little bit based on religion in there.
But we didn’t all have to spend a fortune on costumes which would be binned the day after.
We didn’t all knock on every door within a half-mile radius demanding treats.
And if we did dress up it was something hastily cobbled together by my mum and it was usually so frightful we gave up the whole idea as a very bad job.
But as with many other things, we have let Americans take over.
We now have school proms ... when I left school on the day Virginia Wade won Wimbledon, I didn’t need a party, I just wanted to get out of there.
We now have people who celebrate Thanksgiving, but wouldn’t dream of going to church for a Harvest Festival, which is pretty much the same thing.
We will be forced next month to put up with Back Friday and Cyber Monday, two purely American concepts largely organised to get rid of stuff retailers couldn’t shift otherwise.
I could go on.
It seems that our friends across the water can’t stop thinking of ways of getting money out of us and I just wish they would stop.
But as Christmas approaches there is one Americanism which really does drive me mad.
The first person to wish me “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” is likely to get an earful of some good old Anglo-Saxon!