The year is 1881 and my Great Grandfather (Theophillus Adcock) is 30 years old and his wife, Sarah, is pregnant with their 5th child. Queen Victoria has been on the English throne for 44 years and the Crown Hotel, which takes centre stage for this story, has already been serving the locals for over 200 years.
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.
I was warned by experienced family researchers that once I started my family tree I would become addicted! They were right. Writing stories, finding connections and stalking my family members (both near and far) for snippets of information have become all consuming. So much so that I have had to devise a way to chill out. Sitting back with my feet up, a cup of coffee close by and a TED Talk was my solution. The topic? What else, Family History!