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Researching a First World War Family History

Recently, Hazel and Cliff Wagstaff visited the Coventry History Centre to research Hazel’s family history.

Hazel's grandfather came to Coventry to work, at some point in his young adult life in the 1920s. He was a sales director for Alvis, part of the Rootes Group, and may have even met the founder of Alvis during his career. Sadly, he died very mysteriously at a young age. The family know that he served in the First World War, and the Wagstaffs suspect it may have been a lingering injury or infection from the War that finally took his life. Infections such as septicemia did kill many soldiers during the War, and during his service time he may have contracted this infection.   He served as part of the Yeomanry (horsemen) division during the War but was moved to the Balloon Squadron later, a very rare and dangerous job. He led a very active life to say the least and now the Wagstaffs are trying to piece together his life in Coventry after the War. 

They have used ancestry.co.uk but have come to the History Centre to fill in the gaps, mostly by looking through the electoral rolls. The Wagstaffs are compiling a complete family tree and are close to getting the answers they need for Hazel’s side, thanks in no small part to the unique historical sources available for their use in the archives and records held at the Coventry History Centre. 

If you have a family mystery relating to someone who lived or worked in Coventry, find out how the Coventry History Centre can help.

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