Sunday, 29 June 2014

One hundred years ago

I was alerted by a blog post at Dr. Bill Tells Ancestor Stories that one hundred years ago was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, heir presumptive to the Austro-Hungarian throne, and his wife, Sophie. The assassination is widely acknowledged to be a trigger for World War I. Bill Smith states
What seemed as a minor event in Central Europe, 100 years ago today, was not even reported in many American newspapers in the US until two days later. An assassination in what is now Bosnia and Herzegovina was the event.

The assassination as illustrated by Achille Beltrame of the Italian newspaper Domenica del Corriere, 12 July 1914.

The news made page 3 of the Ballarat Courier on 30 June and was widely reported throughout Australia.
CABLEGRAMS. (1914, June 30). The Ballarat Courier (Vic. : 1914 - 1918), p. 3 Edition: DAILY.. Retrieved June 29, 2014, from
 Some Australian newspapers, such as Perth's Daily News, reported the assassination on Monday 29 June.

From now for the next five years there will be a significant focus on World War I.

Many families, including both mine and my husband's, had young men who served in the war who were killed, and others who were injured.

As a family historian, if I come across a young man born in the 1890s, the first thing I do is check for a military record.

While the military records are useful for family historians it seems worthwhile to pause and remember the suffering represented by those records.

I am sure that as our forebears read the newspapers on 29 and 30 June 1914 they would have no idea of what that assassination might mean for them and their families.


  1. Sobering thoughts indeed Anne. Isn't that a beautiful illustration in the Domenica del Corriere, despite the subject matter?

  2. Interesting. It really was a "World" war.

    1. I really was and I am amazed at the diversity of my ancestors who felt compelled to fight. One was a 28-year-old newly married man from Illinois, who wrote a poem entitled "A Soldier's Creed," which was nationally published before he and his unit left for France. He was killed in action on 30 Sep 1918. Another, a 32-year-old widower and Scottish coal miner with three sons under 8 years old signed up almost immediately. He was discharged less than 30 days later under the King's Regulation that said he was unlikely to become an effective solider. It's amazing what that assassination unleashed.

    2. Hi Schalene - I haven't heard of the regulation about being unlikely tobecome an effective soldier. Do you think it was because they thought he needed to look after his children? Regards


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