16 December 2017
Discover a reader's incredible research story about precious belongings of two brothers killed in WW1 that eventually found their way home...
Family historian and author Anne-Mary Paterson reveals a story behind her moving article that appears in the January 2018 issue of Family Tree, 'Patersons’ farewell', about a bloodied set of bagpipes discovered during a house move – and another remarkable connection to a relative from more than 100 years ago, that came from an unexpected source.
'I have grown up knowing a lot about my family’s history, especially on my father’s side, but my father did not tell me much about the 20th century. Maybe it was too raw. His sister, my aunt, was a bit more forthcoming but not with a great deal of detail. She did tell me that my Uncle Alastair was keen on a lady but no names, which somewhat surprised me as she was a great correspondent with all her friends.
When Margaret Mackay contacted me and told me that Annie Munro, her grandmother, was most probably that lady but that she had later in the war married and then emigrated to Canada with her husband, I realised that Annie probably wished to start a new life and cut herself off from her past love life.
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Without Margaret Mackay’s enquiries on the internet, I would never have known about Annie and I would have remained in the dark. It would have been almost impossible for Margaret to find out about the medal so carefully preserved in its case as a keepsake and given to her grandmother probably as a betrothal gift from Alastair.
Margaret then visited Beauly and felt she was hot on the trail when she visited the shinty field and saw the Paterson Pavilion named after my family.
We will never know what our situation would be today if those killed in both wars had lived. Even after the war, the death toll continued with the outbreak of Spanish influenza. Most families including mine, will have relations mown down by this deadly infection which it is said carried away as many, if not more lives than WW1. By the grace of God, we are still here on Earth.'
Read Anne-Mary’s full story in the January 2018 issue of Family Tree.