Anyone engaged in writing family histories will understand the challenges in uncovering supporting documents. But, the bigger challenge we face, as amateur family historians, is finding the hidden stories behind those "facts". I can now declare that finding hidden stories in military records is a whole new ball game! During WW1 my Great Uncle Arthur Ilson moved around, a lot! Different battalions, different countries & various hospitals. I know all this because somehow, in all the chaos and mayhem that surrounded him, someone kept hand written records that have been saved for me to read 100 years later!
Military historians poor over the records to dissect, analyze and speculate about the places, arsenal and movement of the "troops". When a family historians pours over the same military records they will take on another dimension altogether. The "troops" include your Great-Uncle. The location becomes a place your visit and put your hand on the bark of an old tree. The speculations include the sister who receives payment every month for the efforts of her baby brother. The same military records will become the scaffolding for a story that has been hidden for over 100 years.
If photographs are anything to go by, life in the East End of London for my parents did not include holidays. It seems that hop picking and bus trips were a more frugal substitute. On the back of one of the photos Mum had written, "On a charrabank" I had no idea what she meant......but I do now!
From the archives of my mother's memory bank our family history includes hop picking in Kent in the 1950's. She gave me two photographs of her sisters family and filled in the gaps in her own unique way. Thankfully other family historians have brought this part of my family history to life. To them I offer my thanks, should they ever stumble across this post!