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A few months ago I proclaimed on Facebook that I had found a distant relative who died at Gallipoli. Yesterday, I heard about a display that was going to be put up at work for ANZAC day and mention was made of family documents.  That evening I went to a book launch of “Roly the ANZAC donkey”.  Both incidences got me thinking about that declaration I made on Facebook.  Who was it? Once I got home, I searched my family tree, and any notes I could find, to discover who that soldier was that died at Gallipoli.  I hadn’t even mentioned it on this blog.  I knew it was a distant relative and memory told me it was a Powell or Jones.  However,  my search revealed nothing. I even dreamed about the problem.  I must have noted it somewhere.  How did I find the information out?  My dreams gave me the answer, sadly the wrong one, directing me to some files on the computer.  I’d already looked through those files. This morning I was determined to find the elusive soldier.  There was a Walter Powell, who, my notes tell me, died in WWI (stupidly I have no source for that information) but he wasn’t it.  The soldier must have died in 1915 or 1916. In desperation, this morning, I began to go alphabetically through my family tree, looking for death dates of 1915 or 1916.  Luckily, the answer was in the A’s – Asher!   Not Powell or Jones at all.  Bertram Asher was his name. With the name, I could then search online for anything about him.  I discovered he is mentioned on the Helles memorial and his middle name was Gower, his mother’s maiden name.  Finally!  I’m still not sure how I got the initial information – perhaps through another researcher’s family tree.  I found another, which confirmed information I had, and I was able to add birth and death dates.  As most of them were for dates of people who are not related, I copied them down without much detail.

I tried getting some more information on Walter Powell.  Familysearch.org is truly useless.  What information they used to have that was useful is now just junk.  A search for a marriage, for example, will come up with a list of names who, presumably, were present at the wedding, but not telling you who the actual spouse was.  Completely stupid.  Also, trying to find the marriage of Walter, I searched for Walter and the results listed the name as father of the bride or groom, ffs.  Changing it to John didn’t help.  Searching for the wife didn’t help.  Refining the search did nothing.  Absolutely useless. I might have to re-subscrible to ancestry.com to find out where John or Walter were living in 1911, the closest date to the war.  I did find a possible Walter Powell on a couple of sites, but as I don’t know his date or place of birth/residence, I can’t narrow it down.  The one I found seems unlikely because of the age.  Actually, ancestry.com was very useful just with the hints they offered.  The information was enough to know you had the right person.  Way more useful than familysearch, which is really a complete waste of time.

I’ve spent nearly all day on solving the problem and trying to solve an additional one and have put off the plans that I had intended for today.  I resigned myself to donating the day to genealogy. As a tribute to Bertram, I left a ‘commemoration’ on everymanremembered.org.  It’s a lovely site.  If you know someone killed in the war (or even if you don’t), do commemorate them there.

Postscript:  Purely through curiosity at the above website, I searched for casualties from Goulburn, and found my grandfather’s second cousin, Alexander John Grunsell, who died in France in 1918..

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