What is it about family history that is so attractive, particularly at the moment? Are our living families so disappointing that we are trying to dig up someone a little more appealing? Are we devoid of role models in the present, so seek them in our distant past? Well, I don't know about you, but nothing so deep is going on with me - I just want to match up some names to faces. Thirteen faces to be precise, all immortalised in a photograph taken around 1904, brought home 35 years ago. I knew it was my grandfather's family - him, his seven brothers, three sisters and their parents, but at that time I knew only four of the names - my grandfather's and his sisters'. I decided I would find out all their names. Then like most teenagers I found something more interesting to do and forgot about it for the next ten years.
Luckily I eventually remembered and over the next twenty five years I have built up their family tree, found all their names, tracked down their war graves, found who they married and traced their children and grandchildren all over the world. I have moved onto the other branches of my family tree and beyond that into tracing other people's family trees. I have found a passion - genealogy.
But I still haven't succeeded in my original quest. I wanted to match names to faces, and although I know all the names of my great-uncles, I can't quite match up four - three died in WW1, the fourth survived, but I haven't traced his descendants yet. Will I ever find them - I'll let you know.
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