John Smith No Problem !
My grandfather, Ernest William Smith, Sergeant, Royal Field Artillery, was said to have come from Croydon, married my grandmother in Tiverton, Devon, was gassed during the 1914-18 War and died when my father was aged seven. That was all that was known of him. Just that - no dates, no service number.
Nothing more. Yet we managed to find out who he was and to trace his family from county to county, back through the centuries to 1497. This is the story of that search, a search made possible by a wide range of sources and accomplished with the help of several different methods, which were, as far as we know, of our own devising and are described herein, that others may make use of them.
Chapter by chapter, we reach back through the years, from the 1914-18 War to the reign of King Henry Vlll and edge just that little bit further, into the remoter past, introducing you to a miscellany of facts, such as terms once used and practices commonplace in earlier centuries, as we retrace the steps which led us to our many Smith forefathers, who have come to mean so much more to us than just a name on paper. That that name turned out to be John Smith, on not just the one occasion, but five, meant that we had to try to do the impossible. This is how we did it!L.