Guest Blog: a Post-War Childhood in Liverpool

A guest post from George Boyland. George is a regular contributor to The Guardian’s Readers’ Recommend music blog. During World War Two, frightened Luftwaffe pilots, seeing the flak over Manchester and Liverpool, would turn back and drop their bombs over the last city before the North Sea – Hull. That city had it bad. But, apart from the East End of London, nowhere had it … Continue reading Guest Blog: a Post-War Childhood in Liverpool

Tracing my Boyland and Gray Ancestors

I started this blog to share fascinating stories from history. Not least of those, are my family history posts. I have researched my family’s history on and off for three decades, with more off than on, and usually with an intense burst of activity after travelling to a specific archive or record office.  This blog is now two-years-old and this is its 94th article! So I … Continue reading Tracing my Boyland and Gray Ancestors

RAF Plane Crash: Irish Sea Rescue Attempt

On the morning of 27 September 1950 an RAF twin-seater Meteor 7 aircraft crashed into the Irish Sea, off Strumble Head, Pembrokeshire. It was on its way from Jurby, Isle of Man to Driffield, Yorkshire. An RAF rescue attempt was launched immediately with assistance from those in the vicinity. It was briefly reported in some newspapers, where it was stated that one body was recovered … Continue reading RAF Plane Crash: Irish Sea Rescue Attempt

Using Postcards for Family History

In my article The Many Ways to Consume History, I gave examples of ways that I consume history, most examples were of public history and from a non-academic source. One of the ways I stated I consume history is by collecting antique postcards. This Easter Monday I visited a Postcard and Collectable Paper Fair that is scheduled for my local recreation centre once or twice a … Continue reading Using Postcards for Family History

Patrick Gray: Using Newspapers for Genealogy

Somewhere in my family tree files there’s a sepia-toned newspaper cutting that belonged to my grandmother and my mother passed it to me. On reflection it was probably my grandfather’s and he died in 1941. It was his father’s obituary from 1919. While away from home I decided to have a search on the British Newspaper Archives website to see if I could find it. … Continue reading Patrick Gray: Using Newspapers for Genealogy

Killed by Enemy Action: A Family Tragedy

On Tuesday 17 September 1940, Joseph Boyland, Joey to his brothers, was machine-gunned walking down Scotland Road, Liverpool. He died the following day at the city’s Royal Infirmary. Aged fourteen, he had left school and was about to ‘go to sea’. The Merchant Navy was a common occupation for young men in Liverpool at the time. The Liverpool Evening News briefly reported on 18 September … Continue reading Killed by Enemy Action: A Family Tragedy

A Recognition Long Due

The French Government has awarded several thousand World War II veterans who took part in the liberation of France the rank of Chevalier (knight) of the Legion d’Honneur and its accompanying medal. The Legion d’Honneur is France’s highest military honour and is in recognition of the selfless heroism that was displayed during the Normandy landings and the wider campaign in liberating France. French President, Francoise … Continue reading A Recognition Long Due

Snapshot of Family History

My maternal grandparents, William and Anne Gray, had eight children, three born in Drogheda, Ireland and five in Liverpool, England.  My grandfather died in 1941, leaving my grandmother a widow for 54 years.  One by one, all their children left home and started their own families.  My uncles Johnny, Harry and Eddie and my auntie Mary, all settled in Australia.  Of the remaining four, two … Continue reading Snapshot of Family History

Digital v Physical Archives: a Personal Account, Part 1

 I began my family tree research in my late teens.  I sat down with my father and listed all family members past and present that he could remember.  Still only eighteen, I moved from Merseyside to Wimbledon and bought a copy of Tracing Your Family Tree, by Jean Cole and Michael Armstrong.  I was ideally placed to visit the capital’s repositories, but then hit a … Continue reading Digital v Physical Archives: a Personal Account, Part 1