5 easy tips on taking the first steps to trace your UK ancestors

The family tree of Ludwig Herzog von Wurtenberg Source : wikipedia
The family tree of Ludwig Herzog von Wurtenberg Source : wikipedia

You may now have more time to pursue hobbies like genealogy.It maybe something you have always had in mind to do given more time.You may also feel that as you grow older you perhaps owe it to those younger in the family to provide as much information as possible about the family’s history so that it can be passed down to future generations. Or you may simply have an inquisitive nature and have stumbled upon this absorbing hobby. Continue reading “5 easy tips on taking the first steps to trace your UK ancestors”

Lights out all over the world in commemoration of WWI centenary

lightsout_250x165 Today, throughout the UK and in many countries overseas, the start of the First World War is being commemorated.One hundred years ago, the deadliest of conflicts began.In many villages and towns, the sacrifice of families and loved ones made during a period of four years of war will be remembered at special services and ceremonies held in the UK and Belgium.In Glasgow, heads and representatives of Commonwealth countries, many of whom were last night celebrating the close of the successful Commonwealth Games, will attend a commemoration service in the City’s cathedral.

One such area that has been holding events leading upto today is North Devon. Over the weekend memorial services and exhibitions were held in Bideford,Berrynabor,Barnstaple and West Down. A flypast of Sea King aircraft and a wreath laying ceremony was arranged at Barnstaple.The annual flower show in West Down was WWI themed,and today in the hall at St Calixtus Church a special exhibition will be open from 10.a.m. and later, an open air service will be held in the church hall grounds, ahead of 11 p.m. and the marking of the time of the announcement of war a century ago.


If you wish to join in a special moment of remembrance the British Legion is inviting you to participate in a shared moment of reflection by turning off your lights from 10pm to 11pm, leaving on a single light or candle, to mark the 100th anniversary of when Great Britain entered the First World War.

United in remembrance of the longest day

D-Day Remembered - Hermanville Normandy
D-Day Remembered – Hermanville Normandy

Yesterday, representatives of nearly 20 countries met to commemorate the 70th anniversary the D-Day landings, at one of the five sites in Normandy, Sword beach in Northern France, used by allied forces on 6th June 1944. The operation which began the liberation of France was conducted by the largest seaborne force ever assembled. Above is a tranquil picture of one of the military cemeteries where the graves of fallen soldiers are lovingly kept.

For information on the invaluable work done by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission  you can go to its official website.There is current news about cemeteries in its care, and also a search facility on the site if you are looking to find the cemetery where a soldier may be buried.

How to commemorate the centenary of the First World War

from Flanders field During this year many events will take place to commemorate the start in 1914 of the First World War. In the UK and in many countries across the world the War had a devastating impact claiming a total of over 16 million lives.

The centenary will be marked with a great number of public acts of remembrance from 2014 through to 2018. Many organisations have been preparing to play their part. English Heritage,responsible for over 400 historic sites, many of which played a part in events and people’s lives during the WW1 period, is one such intending to play host to members of the public and allowing them to participate in visits,events and projects. So if you are looking for a great day out with family, or you are up for more involvement, you should have a look at the calendar of things suggested at the English Heritage site.In partnership with the Council of British Archaeology, EH is looking at ‘lost’ sites of historical importance, including a WW1 training camp which has turned-up interesting finds connected to overseas soldiers who had trained at it. There maybe opportunities for you to join in and become ‘hands-on’. Of course to enjoy the full benefits of what EH has to offer, you will be required to take-out membership. There are,however, generous concessionary rates on offer, and children can often visit free at most properties. Membership apart, the EH site is well worth looking at for the wealth of information and photos it provides, including little known facts about the WW1 years and special images from its archives. Look for a World War 1 event at an English Heritage property near you this year which has been particularly dedicated to the horses and riders who played their part on all the battle fronts – there will be talks,music,and kid’s activities.You will also receive an insight into the lives of those who served on the Home Front. Of course, there there will many more ways through organisations to commemorate this most important historic time 100 years ago. They will range from local churches arranging remembrance services and fairs to commemoration arranged at a national level arranged perhaps to take place in London and other major cities in the UK.

Who will care for the carers in our society beyond 2017?

Geriatrics and elderly careWho will care for the carers ?

According to the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), more of us are worrying about how we will be cared for when we are older. A growing number of us have taken on the  responsibility for the care of parents, but the IPPR sees a growing ‘family care gap’ developing as the number of older people in need of care  exceeds the number of family members able to provide it. This gap is expected to be apparent for the first time in 2017

The huge challenge is to meet the care needs of an ageing baby boomer generation.This could increasingly continue to fall on adult children and their partners, with women being seen as the main carers and most likely to have to give-up work to take on the care responsibilities. The IPPR draws out a number of key issues which demand a rethink of how we look after each other in later life. There is the refocusing of the respective roles of state and individuals, also the widening of the narrow  focus on physical and health needs to include those needs necessary  to lead a decent life in older age.
Whose responsibility is it anyway?
The state though holding a pivotal role has never been the main provider, in the post-war period, of care and support for the elderly. It is family support that has carried most of the weight for this, at an estimated annual value of £55billion.
As budgets for spending on elderly care continue to be severely constrained, a recent NHS survey reveals that few of us believe government has the right social care policies. Post-war society has changed rapidly as the baby boomer generation age. More people now live alone, and family members often live far apart for both social and economic reasons. Looking forward,the IPPR in its report, is seeking to highlight solutions that place greater value on mutual  support provided by resources working within families,neighbourhoods and community networks.
So finally what can be done?
In making its recommendations the IPPR,believes the post-war model of social care needs a fundamental rethink, as it does not meet the wants and needs of the elderly, nor does it it prepare society to deal with an ageing  population.
A core recommendation is
  • the building and development of new neighbourhood networks  designed to help older people stay active and healthy, and support families find the right work care life balance.

This would work with other recommendations for

  • better care-coordination and single point contact
  • giving power to older people, families and carers to buy services directly using a community based ‘shared budget’
  • stronger employment rights enabling carers to better able combine work and care.
You can read the full IPPR report here…