Tracing your World War One ancestor

Here is an example of how one person traced her Great War ancestor, with a few tips on how you might go about tracing your own if you are starting from scratch

Ivor Augustus Darby, Private 53187

I became involved in Grangetown Local History Society, due to research into my family history. The internet now is a wonderful tool for this. I followed my Darby family tree and on, a page next to my great grandfather's name Ivor Darby said "remembered with honour" and that he had been killed during the Great War.

My grandfather died when I was a teenager and Parkinson's robbed me of any time and conversation that I might have had with him in his later years. Indeed my father, wasn't aware of this grandfather and I had to tell him about his grandfather Ivor. More research followed.

Ivor was the son of the late Henry and Martha Darby, of 81 Clare Road in Grangetown; he was the husband of Florence Annie Darby, of 38 Cairns St, Cathays, Cardiff - they married in 1905. In 1901, he was a butcher's errand boy, his father a mason's assistant.

I'm lucky because my great grandfather's records have survived. It showed that before he joined up, he was a haulier working in Grangetown, working with horses. When he first enlisted, he was sent to Ormskirk, probably looking after the horses that were sent from America and training them for the front. He did this until he was needed in the Army, when he was sent to the front with the Cheshire regiment. He lasted a month before he was injured and he survived another month before dying on 4th May 1918, aged 32. He was buried in Boulogne with two others. Luckily I got to visit, probably the first of my family to do so and it was very humbling.

My research led to me to Cardiff library where it said his name was on the Grangetown Memorial in Grange Gardens. And it is there, right at the top, alongside many names, so many from one small area of Cardiff. My grandfather was from Grangetown and we together had walked past the memorial. But he never spoke about his father on the memorial. I wanted to find out more about Grangetown and that has led me to the Grangetown local history society. They're a wonderful group of people making history real and right for the people of Grangetown and coming generations.

Michelle Darby-Charles

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