Thursday, 28 August 2014

Finding Private Barry

The centre name of the above photo is that of my Great Grandad William John Barry, he was born in 1874 and died sometime in late 1916 aged 42, his name here is inscribed on the memorial at St. John the Divine Church at Lytham St. Anne's to honour those that lost their lives in WWI. The thing is my Great Grandad doesn't appear to have left the UK, he was discharged from the army in 1916 as being 'no longer fit for service', but there is no grave for him in St John the Divine, my Great Grandma is there, but not my Great Grandad. So where was he buried?

I knew very little about my Great Grandparents on my Dad's side of the family and only recall a little about my Great Grandad Rowe, my Mum's Grandad. It was the 100th anniversary of WWI that set me looking for him after I came across the photo I'd taken back in 2006 when I went to find the house that my Nanna grew up in as a girl in Lytham St Anne's. To be honest having a relative in WWI never really registered, I knew my Grandad had served in WWII but I had no 'connection' with WWI or very little knowledge about it come to that, which is odd given that the event happened just 50 years before I was born.

I have a lot to uncover yet but so far the little I've discovered has been rather interesting, he was 5ft 5", had light brown hair which faded to grey as he got older and he had grey eyes. That was a eureka moment, for decades I've been teased by my father that I was "the milk man's" because unlike the rest of my family and my grandparents, I have light hair and grey-blue eyes, everyone else is dark haired and brown eyed. So I was elated to discover that my Great Grandad is the reason I have light brown hair and grey eyes, no more teasing Dad, its genetics :p

With the help of a facebook friend who has access to some WWI archive material I've found GG Barry's war pension allocation to my Great Grandma, using census records I discovered that my Nanna had an older sister, and brother that we didn't know about who went to live in America after WWII. I also learnt that for some reason the army 'lost' Great Grandad Barry when he was being discharged! How he died remains a mystery, I know it was sometime in the 4th quarter of 1916, I've ordered his death certificate and when it arrives I'll know when and where he died and hopefully, what he died of. I did attempt researching family history a while back and was given a bag of photos and documents and when I dug them out at weekend to reinvestigate I discovered a photo of Great Grandad Barry in his uniform, what a dashing man he was.

Finding the photo has made my Great Grandad more than a name, I can see my Nanna and me in him and when my youngest brother saw the photo he declared he's inherited his ears lol! It's amazing to think that he's a part of my family line and without him I wouldn't be here today, but until recently I knew very little about him. I'll be posting more about him as I find things out and about the voyage to discover the rest of my family tree, made a little progress on that when I found the grave of my Great Grandfather and Great Grandmother the parents of my Dad's dad, my Grandad Webster. I'm hoping that my searches will find extended family and that they may have some pieces of family history to share, you never know, I may get lucky! For now I'm happy with what I've discovered so far and I'm looking forward to the death certificate turning up to give me more clues. Watch this space!

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Thanks for your comments on my cards and posts, they are very much appreciated, I'll get back to you as soon as I can if a reply is required. Hugs - Debs x