Friday 29 March 2024

Friday Photo #62

I started to seriously look into my family tree over the past winter, in an effort to make sense of the paper trail left by Mum. In the 1980s and 1990s she subscribed to various genealogy newsletters, spent hours poring over dusty documents at Somerset House in London and dragged Dad around endless country graveyards on the Norfolk/Suffolk border, in search of any clues about the life and times of our ancestors. She was keen to share her discoveries with me at the time, but of course I paid scant attention back then. Now that I am interested, there's no-one left to ask. However within a couple of clicks on Ancestry, cross-referred with Mum's handwritten notes, I'd already travelled further back into history than she managed in over 15 years of research. And I've barely scratched the surface.

This is the only known photo of my maternal grandmother's brother Sidney, with whom I share a middle name. He was born on August 30th 1895 and though I found all kinds of information about his parents and siblings with relative ease, Sidney's trail quickly went cold. Then it dawned on me and I turned my attention from birth, marriage and census records, towards an altogether more tragic resource, where I discovered that Sidney, a rifleman, was killed in action in Flanders on Good Friday March 29th 1918, 106 years ago today, and is buried in Arras, Pas-de-Calais.


John Medd said...

I see you're getting the bug! A great photo of (another) young man taken in his prime. What am I saying, cruelly taken *before* his prime had even begun.
These Friday Photos and their accompanying back stories would make a great collection. I'd pay good money to see them anthologised in a book...

C said...

In spite of not having that family tie I felt very moved reading this, it really hit hard to see his young face and to know his fate in such circumstances, and like so many others at the time at such an early age. Image from the incredibly powerful film 'They Shall Not Grow Old' flit through my mind.
Look forward to seeing and hearing more from your family tree finds, with some happier tales to tell alongside too.

Swiss Adam said...

I spend much of my working life teaching the First World War and it still has the capacity to move me- as it did when I read this post.

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