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Anniversary Gift

How it all began


‘I wish I had realized that family history is a perishable commodity. It disappears with time, as memories fade, and as loved ones pass on.’

Guy Black

Genealogy (although at that time I didn’t know that is what it was called) came into my life through a faded sepia photograph.

It was of a young soldier,

and hung on the wall in my grandmother’s home.

Every year, in November, a red poppy appeared on the frame.

My grandmother told me that the soldier in the picture was her older brother, Sid, who had served in the Wiltshire Regiment in WW1 and was killed at Gallipoli in 1915. 

My childish curiosity aroused, I asked her about Sid, and over time, she told me much about his short life.

Those conversations sparked others about our family.

Trace your family
Find my past


Professional Genealogist Kent
Archive research

Jack vanished in the 1920s!

My great-uncle was a sailor, who mysteriously vanished in the 1920s.

On his last visit home, having obviously planned his disappearance,

he gave keepsake gifts to everyone.

I still own the ring he gave to my grandmother.

​I’ve discovered how fortunes can change in just a couple of generations. 

My 2nd great-grandfather and his young siblings ended up in the workhouse on their parents’ death, yet the grandson of one of those workhouse children became a director of the Zulu Natal Railway and numerous goldmines.

He ended his days in a large house overlooking the sea in Aldeburgh, Suffolk, later to become the home of Sir Benjamin Britten.

There was a story of a title that had once been in our family and couldn’t be claimed because of a missing paper. 

I believe it was just a story, but who knows what I still might discover? 

My interest was well and truly ignited.

Researching my grandfather’s brother, George Rupert, killed in the Somme during WW1, provided an excuse for a family visit to his grave.

It was something my grandfather had always wanted, but had not been able to do.

History research

George was killed in the Somme during WW1!

Family search

Dear Herbert;

I make no excuse for what I have done. I love your wife far better than I do my life, and my love has been returned.

We sail to England, and I intend to respect, love and cherish her forever.

If you wish to correspond, address as below.

Good-by, Herbert, old pal.

Herbert Brooks

Appt 2

New York

Famous ancestor

As I did more research over the years, and grew my family tree, I found Reg, an actor who died in Hollywood, having appeared on the stage with Lily Langtry and made a habit of running away with other men’s wives.

One of those wives was that of the magician, Herbert Brooks.

As the newspapers reported, Reg left him a note signed off, “Good-bye, Herbert, old pal.”

I can only assume there were no hard feelings, as Herbert and Reg were to be found playing on the same bill some years later.

If any bitterness remained, it would have been an interesting tour.

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