Our genealogy team love challenges – so imagine the reaction of Laurence Harris, MyHeritage's Head of Genealogy (UK), when he was shown a 66-year-old Memorial Board commemorating the names of Servicemen who had died in WWII.
The board had been hidden in a rarely-used storage area for more than 30 years.
The challenge was on! Laurence volunteered to trace living family members of the men so that they could be invited to a special service to remember and honor them and to rededicate the Board.
Laurence took this as both a personal and professional challenge. He recognized the importance of learning about these forgotten heroes of the past, enabling the present generation to honor them, and ensuring that their stories are preserved for future generations.
Along the way, he discovered many interesting stories. Over the next few weeks we'll be sharing with you some of these stories and explaining how Laurence managed to trace the descendants.
Do you have stories to share about unsung war heroes in your family? Let us know in the comments below, and email relevant photos to firstname.lastname@example.org
Recently, Mark Rigg (Stockport, UK) was going through his attic, when he found a treasure he never knew existed.
His great-aunt, Annie Droege, was a British woman living in Germany during WWI. What Mark didn't know was that Annie had kept a diary of her experiences.
She recounts her emotions of spending the war in Germany, and having German friends fighting against her British friends and family.
At one point, Annie and her family were under siege in their own home, as a mob from the nearby village descended upon them.
Mark was excited by the discovery, and decided to publish the diary to demonstrate the hardships of life during the Great War. He dedicated the book to the 16.5 million people who lost their lives.
No other artifact or family heirloom - other than personal diaries - helps us understand the lives and emotions of the previous generations.
Have you inherited a family diary or journal? What did you learn from it?