As November 11 is Armistice Day, I thought I’d share the story of just one soldier of the 11 million other military personnel who perished in the First World War.
For it was on a cold and very rainy day that I found myself in the shadow of the magnificent Tower of London, for although I had been determined to see the display of the Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red in the tower moat since it had begun – my visit as the Friday after Armistice Day and although many of the ceramic poppies had been removed; the sight that remained was still a very humbling experience.
As I watched the volunteers plucking the ceramic poppies from the muddy ground and then placing them in their cardboard nest, I recalled my feelings of disappointment that I had been unable to buy one of the poppies.
I find myself looking to the past on most days at the moment for if I’m not in search of an elusive ancestor for a client or trawling through the 1911 Census for a few of my pesky relatives who still appear reluctant to reveal themselves some 106 years later; I could either be immersed in the year 1815 as the work on my Lord Byron abode continues or otherwise curled up in a quiet corner somewhere with Lady Byron and Her Daughters; and before you ask, it is the title of a new biography about His Lordship’s much maligned spouse!
However, one rainy weekend and in the company of my genealogical assistant, I literally took a walk in the past during a visit to London for as I trekked up and down Fairfield Road in Bow which is not only the road that my family live near but also the road that Hargrave Potter, the son of my 4 x Great Grandfather was trekking along on that very weekend an incredible 130 years earlier…
Although I don’t usually enjoy receiving brown envelopes through the post, I will make an exception when one arrives from the General Records Office or the GRO as it known here in the UK.
However, nothing quite compares to the sight of an original certificate and when you discover that the said certificate was once the faithfully kept property of the ancestor who has long captured your interest, well, let’s just say that my delight knows no bounds…