For the past 3 weeks, Love to Learn have been on the hunt for old photographs and treasured family memories for our latest competition with Who Do You Think You Are? Live. We have loved pouring through the entries so far as photos of Great Grandfathers, Grandmothers, Great Uncles and Mother’s have been shared. Check out the album of photos and let us know your favourite so far.
Above all, we’ve enjoyed hearing the stories behind the photographs and when Valerie’s entry came through we couldn’t help but get in touch to find out more! For Valerie, looking back at her family photos doesn’t just bring back forgotten memories from the past, but also unearths a whole new family and future friendships.
• Can you tell us a little about your photo?
This picture was taken in 1916 while Geoffrey was in the RFC, and represents a whole new family for me. In 2003, out of the blue I received a letter from a stranger living in Northern Ireland - in fact the stranger was my father’s first cousin. He was researching our family tree and knew little about his 'English' family. His father and my grandfather were brothers. I was never made aware of this ‘Irish’ family, but from that first letter, we have become good friends. I have even visited Geoffrey’s grandson in Australia.
• What happened to Geoffrey and his brother Roderic?
Roderic is my grandfather who stayed in England, his brother Geoffrey moved after WW2 to Northern Ireland. It was Roderic's son Peter, my father, who was killed in WW2. The two brothers, both in the RFC, rose to become Professor Geoffrey Hill, MC and Air Chief Marshall Sir Roderic Hill KCB, MC, AFC, pioneers of British aviation in very different ways. Both their subsequent careers are widely documented in their specialist areas. Both brothers died in the mid-50s, Roderic in 1954 and Geoffrey in 1955.
• How do you look after precious memories such as these?
Have you saved all your family photos for generations to come? My grandfather's records are widely distributed between various institutions but I personally have obviously kept what I have had from my childhood. I have also scanned or photocopied anything else that I have come across. When I met Desmond, Geoffrey's son, I copied all I had for him and similarly copied as much of the material he had for my records.
• Has this inspired you to look deeper in to your family history?
Is this something you would recommend to others? I would certainly recommend researching your family roots as an interesting way of illustrating history. Two of our own grandchildren are interested in historical events so for them I have produced time-lines showing where and what members of our family were doing at times of important historical events.
Thank you so much Valerie for sharing your story with us, best of luck in the competition.
Come and see us at the BBC Who Do You Think You Are Show at Olympia in London, 22nd – 24th February - the biggest family history event in the world.
Love to Learn is the proud sponsor of the Photography Gallery at the show - find us on stand 1111.
You’ll be able to try the Scanning and Editing your Old Photosonline course, supported by The Royal Photographic Society.
With this step-by-step online guide for beginners, you’ll learn to scan, edit, enhance, and create digital albums of your precious photos and documents.
Come to our stand 1111 for special offers and enter our prize draw.
Enter now our 'spot the difference' competition for your chance to win a Love to Learn online course of your choice. Read more on the Who Do You Think You Are website.