Thursday, 15 August 2013

A sad tale retold

Family historians always get excited about finding a new source. At worst, you can cite some further support for information that you already have. At best, there may be completely new evidence to add to the narrative of your ancestor.

As the anniversary of the death of Robert Burton at Suvla Bay approached, I have been reviewing what (little) I know about his military career. In the course of that search, I came upon a report of IRELAND’S MEMORIAL RECORDS 1914-1918: Being the Names of Irishmen Who Fell in the Great European War 1914-18

This very beautiful, but very expensive, publication was described as being a "Roll of Honour listing over 49,000 of Irish birth or residence at the time of death, who served and died during the Great War, compiled by The Committee of the Irish National War Memorial with Decorative Borders by Harry Clarke". In the early 1920s, £5,000 of Ireland's War Memorial funds was spent collecting the records of over 49,000 fatal casualties and publishing them in eight volumes. The men and women commemorated either served in Irish Regiments or were born in, or resident in, Ireland at the time of their death serving with units from Britain and its empire.

For those without the several hundred euro required to purchase a hard-bound set of the books, digital images can be viewed on Ancestry or FindMyPast. There I found the entry for Robert Burton. Sadly, it provides no new information.

A young man marched away bravely in search of adventure; never to return. However exquisitely the page may be decorated, everything else is emptiness.

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