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.
Hello and welcome to the Blog page of Grace Ancestry.
We at Grace Ancestry are so excited about what we do, we thought we'd start sharing some of the stuff we come across, learn and the interesting characters we unearth on our journeys to the past. Obviously no details of anyone's family history would be shared without the express permission of the family concerned; however much of what we do for people on their genealogical quests can be shared in general without any breach of confidentiality.
Of course its not just about individual stories, but the fundamentals of genealogy and how the internet is changing the way we do research. Whilst we here firmly believe that for the professional, a good old physical rummage around an archive can never be replaced by technology, it is fair to say that the accessibility now provided for the amateur genealogical sleuth by the various portals and websites, has propelled what was once the stronghold of the hobbyist into the mainstream. Programs such as Who Do You Think You Are and Long Lost Family have galvanised people who may never have thought about their ancestors, to take on a mission to find them, so fuelling the rise in websites and media to cater for the demand.
One might now even say what the point is of a professional genealogist, when so much of the information is at the click of a button? Well of course its like any trade or profession, if you're competent and know what to do, then there's no problem, enjoy your research and the results it brings you. Be warned though, to the untrained eye, there are many deceptive, but enticing roads to go down, which can easily take you way off track and produce a family tree which in reality isn't yours. For example and by way of analogy, many is the confident DIY person who may well tackle a leaking tap, but would shy away from changing a gas appliance. In this instance you'll call the plumber out for his/her experience and skills. It is exactly the same with genealogy, much of the time is spent in verifying or interpreting information which you may find and in this area, as with the plumber, there is no substitute for the qualified professional.
Anyway I think that's all for now, I will be posting as much as possible as frequently as possible, so please look in from time to time.