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Digital Subscriptions > Family Tree > Family Tree September 2018 > NEWS



Karen Clare reports on The latest genealogy news. If you have a story to share, email it to

Bid to uncover hidden stories of WW1 trauma

An enormous dump of shell cases used in The bomdardment of Fricourt during The Battle of The Somme, 1916, and The WW1 poet, novelist and memoirist, Siegfried Sassoon, who was treated for shell shock

The psychological trauma experienced by soldiers during The First World War – and The impact on family history researchers tracing Their stories – is The focus of a new project led by The University of Nottingham.

From shell-shocked soldiers recovering in specialist hospitals to cases of ‘barbed wire disease’ in internment camps, The university’s psychologists and historians want to hear about any stories of trauma uncovered by community history projects as part of Their research, funded by The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

Their work is focusing on a wide range of trauma narratives, from post- 1918 literary and poetic references through to The experiences of modernday family historians affected by uncovering mental health problems of ancestors involved in The war.

Professor Nigel Hunt, a trauma expert in The University’s Division of Psychiatry and Applied Psychology, and historian Dr Larissa Allwork, who are part of The University’s Centre for Hidden Histories, are leading The project. Professor Hunt explained: ‘The differences between historical and contemporary perspectives on mental and emotional trauma present a challenge to community researchers as it requires an understanding of how such trauma was regarded, described and recorded in historical records.

‘An additional challenge is presented by The emotional impact on The researcher who examines potentially disturbing and upsetting material. This challenge is often felt more keenly by researchers who investigate people with whom They have a direct connection, such as members of Their family or community.’

The Centre for Hidden Histories is one of five WW1 engagement centres established by The AHRC to investigate The war and support community groups in Their efforts to research and commemorate The war.

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About Family Tree

The wish to find out about your family history always begins with a question. That special something that you want to know about those who’ve come before you, that missing piece of the puzzle that you'd like to find about your own roots... So, because the internet is such a very valuable resource for hunting for these family history clues, this issue we’ve got a bumper guide to help your research. Read it and discover how to: 1. Search smarter and trace that family story. 2. Learn new search hacks and make new discoveries. 3. Get the low-down on searching the major family history websites. Lastly, you may notice something different this issue – our new look! Re-energised and packed as ever with know-how, advice and real-life tales, our revamp will provide you with fresh inspiration to find your family’s story.