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.

An early start would be just the thing, he said! Up and out for five thirty and be down the M6 before it had time to wake up. As it turned out, a more leisurely seven a.m. was the hour that greeted our departure from home, with my husband full of ‘we’re doomed’ at the prospect of tackling one of the most notorious stretches of congested motorways in the country. “There’re roadworks as well you know” he intoned in the gravest voice as we approached the junction which would surely lead to nightmare and despair! We swept up the slipway and settled into a steady stream of traffic, which appeared a little at odds with his doom-laden predictions.

Like many, I have been glued to 'Who Do You Think You Are', the popular TV family history show, which, in my opinion, just gets better with each new series.  Over the years of watching the programme it has struck me just how many celebrities appear to find, during the course of their investigation, that their ancestors include members who have worked in the same or similar profession to themselves.

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