Museums in Britain and the First World War

  • Gaynor Kavanagh


As an historian, genealogy has always worried me. I hold the Bible and the legal profession equally responsible for what is, after all an obsession. Those who engage in genealogy usually have something to prove. They search for an unbroken lineage to someone worth being related to and, better still, important. Deviations along the way, such as illegitimacy, can be tolerated as long as they are sufficiently far in the past to be safe to mention.

My problem with all this is that genealogy leaves out so much and asks so few questions. Real lives are about so much more than a series of 'begats' and 'begottens '. They are about choices made and not made, political change, feelings and circumstances.