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First World War helpdesk will help uncover families’ wartime history

20 January 2016

The Essex Record Office’s First World War Ancestors Helpdesk is coming to Colchester Library along with the ERO’s Essex at War exhibition, giving advice to people trying to trace relatives who took part in the Great War.

For the last year, the ERO’s Essex at War display has been touring selected Essex Libraries, with ERO staff on hand for the First World War Ancestors Helpdesk at four of those libraries.

The next Helpdesk takes place at Colchester Library on Wednesday 3 February, 10.00am-3.30pm, with advice available from expert staff on how to trace your First World War ancestors, or how to find out more about the stories behind the names on your local war memorial.

The devastating global conflict touched almost every family in Britain, and it is often possible to piece together how your ancestors might have been involved in or affected by the War.

The Helpdesk will be a great opportunity for people in the Colchester area to seek assistance with their research without having to travel to the ERO headquarters in Chelmsford.

Cllr John Spence, Essex County Council Cabinet Member for Finance, with responsibility for Heritage, Culture and the Arts, said:
“Almost every family in Essex, like mine, was affected by the First World War.  Interest, therefore, remains intense even a century later and I hope that our Helpdesk will help local people to find out more of the experiences of those who went before.” 

Essex was not immune to enemy action. With Zeppelin attacks and its close proximity to the continent, the county was believed to be one of the key targets for a possible German invasion.

Come along to see the Essex at War display to find out stories you never knew about your own county, and to find out how your family was affected by the first ‘total war’.
Entrance to the display and Helpdesk is free, just drop in.