I recently watched with interest as a giant 1666 model of London was set ablaze. From the comfort of my sofa and the incredible clarity of HD television, I marvelled as a 400 ft long wooden model was engulfed in flames.

War .... what is it good for? Absolutely nothing! Or so Edwin Starr sang on his 1970 hit track.

Whilst the sentiment of his song was no doubt correct, to the genealogist, war and more to the point, war records are a rich vein of information. From service records, medal lists, war diaries and so on and so forth can be gleaned a staggering amount of material, data and statistics which allow the family historian to construct a remarkably accurate picture of an individual's time in the military. Even movements during campaigns fought in different theatres of war can be tracked by meticulous analysis of war diaries and battle orders.

It's a fascinating field for the genealogist who is not only working to identify ancestors, but to try and construct a portrait of their life and times. Without this a name remains a name. We at Grace Ancestry always look to provide as much information and back story as possible to bring your family history to life.

If you have or think you may have military ancestors and want to know more, contact us for a chat. In just a matter of weeks you could be proudly telling your family and friends about your forebear's exploits in the field, on the ocean or in the sky!

Have you ever thought, as you look at those old family photos, about the people who's image was frozen in time?

Like you and I, these people had hopes and dreams, loves and hates. They may have loved a good old gossip about next doors antics or have been a great supporter of the local sports team. What did they get up to?

What part of the social spectrum they were from would give you a good idea what they might have liked or disliked. The era they were from may give you a clue as to what was talked about down the pub or at a dinner party. If they were in living memory, then your recollections could help to build the picture of what the person was about. Start with any bits of info you may have in terms of paperwork, look on birth, marriage and death certificates to see were they lived over their life. This will tell you where in the social pecking order they were. Look up what was going on locally and nationally in that time period. Where did they work? Did the company have sports teams? Were they religious and involved with the local Church? Talk to older relatives who may have recollections which you don't or indeed will help you to confirm yours.

Family History is much more than a tree with names on it showing you the people who brought you to where you are now. Its about the people behind the names and if you're lucky enough to have old photographs, spend a bit of time trying to construct what made them tick. Its not easy, the span of time makes the job all the harder, but its very rewarding. Its surprising what a good bit of digging around can unearth to help you form the best possible idea of what was going on in the lives of those faces staring back at you from those old photos.

Understanding them, helps you understand yourself.


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