This year has been a particularly poignant time for me and my husband.  We recently visited France and Belgium to pay homage and remember our 3 great uncles who lost their lives in World War 1. Visiting the many graveyards and memorials brought home the reality of the huge loss of life during those 4 years. It is estimated that over 16 million people died and so many of these were young men.

The gift of Family History at Christmas has all the more poignancy, as the nights grow long and thoughts turn to relatives, lost loved ones and bygone times. Why not give your family a great Christmas Gift this year, which will live long in the memory?

This weekend saw the commemoration of the start of the First Battle of Passchendaele 100 years ago. The Battle of Passchendaele in 1917 was a long, arduous and murderous affair fought on the Western Front between July and November.

Being a genealogist is akin to riding a rollercoaster at times, it can be a great joy, be totally frustrating and the next minute very rewarding. This week I think I must have been on the ‘Big One’ at Blackpool as the troughs and peaks have been frequent and rapid as I experienced the whole gamut of emotions.

A not so little hidden gem can be found on the road into Halifax, West Yorkshire.  We were travelling through from Hebden Bridge and there before us rose Wainhouse Tower, a Victorian Folly. It wasn’t advertised, but you can’t really miss its great bulk.  A small unmarked footpath beside a graveyard led us to the entrance, where we found several families waiting their turn to climb the Tower.  On asking the Calderdale Council staff member when the tower was open, we were told, “on Bank Holidays and Father’s Day!” he replied in a friendly Yorkshire accent that made 'Father's Day' sound like 'Feather's Day'. As luck would have it just so happened we were passing on May Day Bank Holiday.

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