29 April 2010

Something Quite Marvellous

A week ago, I received a response to one of my earlier blog posts. The comment began like this:

Hello there. I've just read your lovely blog on Bertie Harris. I can answer all those questions you asked in the blog because I am his great grandson. So yes, he did have children. He had two... I would love for you to contact me through my email where I could send you more pictures of Bertie and carry on this conversation...

If you are not familiar with my writings about Bertie Harris, here is a link to my earlier blog post:

Liberty, Normandy June 1944

As my blogs will never reveal email addresses or other contact details of visitors, I did not publish the comment under the post. But now I have some wonderful new pictures of Bertie, and a whole new set of relatives.

A week ago, I did not know that Bertie had children. It had crossed my mind that it was a possibility. When I first discovered his grave location, date of death, and the surprise that he had been married (finding this out was made possible by visiting the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website), I then wanted to know more about Bertie's wife. That was a much more difficult task.

On the trail of the almost impossible

Eventually, after purchasing several lists of marriage records, I managed to find the right one and could order a copy of the marriage certificate. It was dated 1937. That was as far as I could go with my family research in that direction. The only direction left was through military records, but who really was Bertie's next of kin? As you may be aware, it is not easy to obtain military records unless you have proof of being the person's next of kin.

Next Monday, my mother will be receiving some very special visitors, Bertie's son and daughter - my mother's only cousins. Without this blog, and a thoughtful grandson's visit here, my mother would never have known that she had any cousins.

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I especially appreciate historical insights.