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Tracing Your Great War Ancestors: The Somme (Paperback)

A Guide for Family Historians

Family History > Ancestors in the Armed Forces WWI > Battles & Campaigns > Somme

By Simon Fowler
Imprint: Pen & Sword Family History
Series: Tracing Your Ancestors
Pages: 145
Illustrations: 30
ISBN: 9781473823693
Published: 14th October 2015


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If you want to find out about an ancestor who served on the Somme during the First World War – during the Battle of the Somme in 1916 or at any time during the fighting in this sector of the Western Front – this book is the ideal guide. It provides practical information and advice on how to conduct your research. It will help you to discover when and where your ancestors served and give you an insight into his experience of the war. It is also a fascinating introduction to researching the Great War as a whole.

Simon Fowler outlines the course of the fighting on the Somme, introducing the many historical resources that you can use to explore the history for yourself. He identifies the key sources for family historians, including at The National Archives and Imperial War Museum and the many online sites that researchers can turn to. There is also advice on the literature, archives, museums and monuments that may help you to gain an insight into your ancestor's story.

This guide for general readers and family historians explains how to find
ancestors who served in the Battle of the Somme in WWI, as well as those who
served in or near the Western Front in France. The book starts by explaining
basics of online resources for researching, then gives an overview of the
battle and fighting in France’s Western Front. The guidelines are interspersed
with the history of the Battle of the Somme and the fighting in the rest of
the region, along with excerpts from first-person accounts. The book provides
tips on researching soldiers, casualties, women, battles and units, and war
memorials. The final chapter on battlefield tourism gives contacts for museums
and memorials in the area. The book is illustrated with b&w historical photos
and many contemporary photos of places, museums, displays, and documents.


If you are looking for a good primer in World War I research, especially the Western Front, this is for you.

Kent Family History Society Journal Vol.14 No.12

As featured in.

Forces War Record 2016

A very handy and informative guide by Simon Fowler, who is well known for his practical guides and advice in this area. This book specifically deals with tracing family members who served on The Somme. An excellent guide, and one every researcher should have at their side for reference.

The Great War magazine, July 2016 - Mark Marsay

As featured in.

Family Tree Magazine July 2016

For any researcher looking to focus their research on a particular area of the Western Front, this book is a good place to start.
Overall a good book to use as appoint of reference and also one to guide any prospective researchers found on tours who are looking to find our more.

Emma White - gbg-international - November 2015

Military genealogist and author Simon Fowler has come up trumps with this clear-intentioned and easily digestible introduction to tracing your British Army ancestors who fought on the Western Front in France and Flanders in the First World War... With jargon and records explained, and regular referral to key websites, this is another fantastically helpful hands-on guide for those starting down this path of research.

Family Tree - February 2016

This edition in the Tracing Your Great War Ancestors series gives researchers a comprehensive guide and is a very worthwhile read.

Friends of the National Archives

About Simon Fowler

Simon Fowler is a professional researcher specialising in the records of the two world wars and central government. Over the years he has researched hundreds of men who served during the First World War and this book is very much based on his experiences in doing so. He was written a number of other guides for Pen & Sword including Tracing Your Army Ancestors, Tracing Your Navy Ancestors and Now the War is Over: Britain 1919-1920.

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