I’m sure you are aware, 2014 marks the Hundred year Anniversary of the start of the first World War. I’ve been lucky enough to visit some of the memorials, museums, cemeteries and battle-sites along the Western Front recently, both in Flanders and in France and over the next four years there will be a large number of events to commemorate the ‘Great War’ and the soldiers who lost their lives on both side of the conflict.
Nearly a million British troops left these shores never to return and it’s impossible to comprehend, even when confronted by row upon row of gravestones how so many people were effected. By hearing about some of the personal stories and acts of bravery, it made me realise that behind every grave there was a story, a family and living relatives probably unaware of their outstanding bravery.
The recent success of TV programme’s like ‘Who Do You Think You Are’ has created a huge influx of people using websites to track down distance relatives. You don’t have to be a celebrity to become a detective and genealogy is something anyone can do from the comfort of their own computer.
If you’ve thought about it, but have never got any further, there is the perfect opportunity this weekend (7th – 11th November) to get the ball rolling as ‘Find My Past‘ are allowing people to use their online service completely free of charge.
Maybe your Great-Great-Grandad had five wives and invented the safety pin or perhaps a distant relative was a World War One hero who rescued men from his regiment under a rain of sniper bullets in no-mans-land. One thing I’ve found is that, the more you dig and discover the more you realise there is no such thing as an ordinary family and I’ve also discovered learning about the past helps me to put things into perspective with my own family in a really positive way.
This video is sponsored by ‘Find My Past’, but all thoughts are my own.