The information that I had passed on to me, identified a particular cemetery and came with a plot number. This seemed to circumnavigate a great deal of time for me searching out the details myself. On visiting that burial ground, however, the gave in the particular plot belonged to a completely different named family and was not that of the fallen soldier that I was looking for. The details had come to me via a member of the family and had been given to them by an archivist for one of the British Army’s Regiments. Somehow the cemetery that the soldier was buried in had become mixed up with another one in the same town and supplied in error.
On realising that the details that I had were wrong, I went back to basics and did a search of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website. Here I was able to find the correct burial ground to go and visit and locate the grave in question.
The actual grave itself also cleared up some other queries that I had, as it was shared with members of the man’s maternal family as well as his father. What it revealed was that theÂ maternal surname was spelt differently from that which we had previously been given to understand and that his grandmother’s first name was not Daisy but was actually Minnie.
The lesson that I took away, yet again, is that information passed down a family can become clouded. Perhaps Minnie was always known as Daisy and her nick name had been remembered, while her given name had been forgotten, or it was just a simple mistake in recalling the name.
Surnames can be spelt differently. An example is that mine is Thorne with an “e”. But go back four generations and my ancestor spelt it without an “e” for part of his life and with one for the latter part. His father spelt it without.
The best rule of Family History is to always check details of ancestors in primary sources and to beware of transcription errors, those mistakes made in family folklore and second-hand information in general.