Right, so the wisdom of family history research tells you to seek certificates, be they birth, marriage or death. Sitting in a drawer here in the control room ie computer suite, was a medal. The name meant nothing so there it stayed for years a prized possession, a keepsake of a family member long since gone. Following accepted practise I was researching my paternal line and had arrived,not so much in the ‘Tardis’, but in Glenham Grove. The place was demolished in the 1960’s but here I was looking at the death certifiate of my Grandmother and visulising the narrow Grove of 10 houses, either side of a pathway onto which small front gardens fronted. Minnie Mangnall died of typhoid in 1906 one of three daughter’s born to John and Rebecca Mangnall,the other two were Beatrice and Clara. This hobby people will tell you is just full of coincidences and so it was with Clara. That Christmas I was paying a visit to a cousin who was showing interest in my research and said she had some old photographs I may like to see. One of them was John and Rebecca with her three daughters and at the front of the picture is a young boy. She also showed me an album of postcards that her mother had kept and I brought it home to look at when time was not of the essence. Many of them were either to or from the Forest Gate area of London. [Close it would seem to West Hams soccer ground]. A name kept recurring – Harry Barnard. The same surname on the medal.
Research showed that a A.H.V. Barnard had been killed in 1916 and had enlisted at Forest Gate.
Access to the records of soldiers who died in the 1914 – 1918 war is haphazard at best, consequences of a WW2 bomb having destroyed many of the records! The records of the 1901 census were being made available after the [ridiculous] 100 year embargo on all census. After some searching I found young Harry Barnard! In Manchester with his Grandmother Rebecca, who described herself as a widow and his mother Clara Mangnall [?]
Rather than speculate I searched for his birth certificate and on it are his parents names: Clara Barnard,nee Mangnall and Alfred Barnard. One question answered two more arise!
1. Where was Alfred ???
2. John Mangnall was alive and living in Mill Lane, Manchester, so why had Rebecca described herself as a widow??
That was six years ago and having seen Clara’s death certificate [Only recently discovered],where she is described as the widow of Alfred, I am still searching for the marriage of Alfred and Clara and of course a death certificate for Alfred.
One thing the TV series "Who do you think you are?" does not tell you is that ‘patience is a virtue.’ !