The stories of military service two women discovered about their ancestors on Veterans Day

Veterans Day can be a time to connect with ancestors who have served in the armed services by doing family history. And for two women in Canada and the United Kingdom, Veterans Day, or Remembrance Day as it is known in those countries, became a lot more meaningful to them as they researched their family members.

Deborah Martin, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Raymond, Alberta, told Canada Newsroom about reviewing family photos and finding a photo of her mother’s granduncle, William John Young, pictured in military uniform. 

Martin used FamilySearch to find more information about Young, and through the records and photos and documents, she pieced together the incredible accounts of his service in World War I. He suffered many challenges and injuries, including a major event on the Somme battlefield outside of Courcellete, France, in 1916. He returned to Ontario, Canada, forever changed.

Deborah Martin with a picture of her great-granduncle, William John Young, on Remembrance Day, 2021.
Deborah Martin with a picture of her great-granduncle, William John Young, on Remembrance Day, 2021. Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Meanwhile, Eileen Ray from the Wandsworth Stake in London, England, has found a new connection to two of her uncles this Remembrance Day through family history. 

She told U.K. Newsroom about Frederick William James Freeman Jr and Edwin James Freeman, who died in World War I. Military and family history records mark their birthdays and their service as riflemen for the British army. Edwin was only 17 years old when the brothers joined the military at the same time in 1915. Records show Frederick died in Arras, France and Edwin died in Flanders. It appears Edwin’s grave has never been identified, while Frederick is at the British cemetery in Arras.

Ray said she now knows more about her uncles and is very proud of them. And Martin said has a new connection with her ancestor.

“I have learned for myself that knowing the stories of my family can help me in the challenges I face today,” said Martin in Canada Newsroom. “The experiences of our ancestors can be a source of strength and encouragement. This Remembrance Day, I honour William John Young and all the men and women who served with him. Now I have a heart filled with connection to their sacrifices.”