“They Poured Their Shells Upon Her”

One of my most favourite things to research is the lives of fallen soldiers. Telling their story and bringing to the fore once again the smallest detail of their lives just seems like the very least I can do for these wonderful men who paid the ultimate price for the freedoms that I enjoy now. I am working on a larger project that will honour the memory of every single war hero that has been discovered since I began researching my family tree but until that is ready I will continue to make smaller tributes to these servicemen wherever I can. Today’s offering is for John Shields. I have two men of that name in my family tree and both of them had their lives taken by war. One died during WWI and the other during WWII and it is that John that I write about today. Continue reading

For Maurice

Anyone who knows me knows I have a particular love for our countries war heroes – the brave men who fought for the freedoms we enjoy and many of whom paid the ultimate sacrifice for that freedom with their very lives. I can’t begin to tell you how many of them I have discovered within my own family tree since I started researching but today I was moved and blessed to discover yet another one to add to the ranks of brothers and cousins within my family who fought together and died together. They are all special to me.

This surprise discovery today was borne out of a gift of papers, photos and documents from my mother-in-law that I have been processing this week  and it never ceases to amaze me what can come from just one document. The uploading of a birth certificate for Maurice Finn (my husband’s 1st cousin 3 times removed led to the discovery that he fought as a Private with the King’s Own Scottish Borderers and lost his life in France during WW1 on 10 January 1917. What was even more amazing to me was the discovery of the headstone that marks Maurice’s final resting place in the Faubourg-d’amiens Cemetery in Arras, Calais. The lady who had taken the trouble to take the picture and preserve it has since herself passed away and will never quite know just how much her efforts mean to the family members who subsequently come along and discover these precious images. It just added to the emotion of the discovery today to read of her efforts in preserving history even though what she was preserving was not of her own family. How thankful I am for everyone who “gets it” and works hard to help others discover their heritage.

And so with that said, I made this simple slideshow (with my husband’s technical help!) to honour this man whose sacrifice will always be remembered and who will have a special place in my heart.

Rogues and Vagabonds

Earlier this week I shared this meme to my Facebook Page. It got me to thinking about the rogues and vagabonds I have in my own tree. Families may seek to hide or be embarrassed to share details of an ancestor that has led a “colourful” life shall we say but for me it is precisely those people that make researching family history particularly interesting. I love to discover someone that makes your eyes pop and draws you in with the devilish details of their story. After seeing this image today on Pinterest ,baffcc0f38df3d6ce0c9f382211f78a6(https://uk.pinterest.com/pin/110549365827791776/)

I decided my next post would be about one of these “skeletons”. We can’t hide or change our family so we should just embrace and acknowledge those characters and recognise that every family has them. Continue reading

Afternoon Visit Brings Delightful Surprises

Not been able to do much in the way of research today as I had a visit from my in-laws. I had to be social for a change which isn’t the most comfortable place to be for me – I am most at home in the company of dead friends so to speak but concede that I need to spend time with the living also! (I say that tongue-in-cheek of course!)

Anyway, my mother and father-in-law came over to spend some time with their Granddaughter and I’m incredibly blessed in that my mother-in-law is another family history buff (I mentioned that my family has it’s lion’s share of these!) so when I married her son I inherited all the family history research that she had undertaken for their side of the family and instantly doubled the size of my family tree.Unexpectedly today, as well as the sweet treats and colouring book bought as a surprise for my daughter, I was given this lovely image. Continue reading