Researching an ancestor with a common name like ‘Chris Smith’ can be a bit of a nightmare. However, having collected bits of data about him over 20 years, I felt I knew this great-grandfather I’d never met pretty well. It was well-known in the family, and confirmed previously in my research, that ‘our’ Christopher Smith had met his untimely end after being knocked down by a motorbike in 1934, so I was quite astonished to see this newspaper clipping from the time. I’d known for a long time that great-grandfather’s military career in WW1 was quite a modest one. It amounted to six months of duty, unloading ships in a French port, then invalided out after a large bale of bay fell on him – noble, but not heroic in my mind! So why the grand military funeral parade? You guessed it – there was another Chris Smith living a few streets away in the same village, no relation, who worked at the same colliery. I researched his WW1 service, and sure enough, he served very bravely with 5th DLI throughout the conflict, and spent a considerable period of time on the frontline. So in real life, having a common name can sometimes work well for you in the most unexpected of ways. Now, when I think about the tragic way my great-grandfather died, I also smile a little to think about the grand send-off ‘he’ received! KEVIN SCALLON, VIA EMAIL That’s a lovely story, Kevin, but as you’ve found, it also shows how important it is to check and doublecheck facts, just in case your ancestor had a ‘twin’…!