http://www.GenesReunited.co.uk can provide an array of dates, as can http://www.Ancestry.co.uk.  FindMyPast may show an occupation, or even an address for distant relatives, but none of these sites can compare with a factual diarist account of everyday life.  Imagine a Latvian farm boy conscripted to fight against a relentless, viscous Russian Red Army during world war two.  He is not fighting for Latvia, for his homeland, but for an equally unappealing invading Nazi German army.  Refusing conscription by either invading force would not only mean his death, but the death of his extended family.

When it comes to modern history, http://www.Amazon.co.uk ebooks fall short of the true to life living history stored in the memory of ageing relatives. As a historian, talking with neighbours, chronicling their lives or maybe the lives of work colleagues or family members, can help to map the history of the modern world from the view point of ordinary people.  Cold historical facts are often politically motivated accounts influenced by ‘the winner’ and rarely provide the full story.  Very few historical accounts provide any insight into how events effect average working person.  However, as fact is often better than fiction, life accounts provide the sugar as well as the spice necessary for a complete, animated story.