The lighter side of this research is that I find literary links. So far, I have relatives called Walter Scott, William Faulkner, Thomas Hardy and Edward Lear. Naturally, they are not the famous ones, and most of my relatives - including these - are generally labourers. I come from a long line of agricultural labourers, interspersed with coal miners and iron workers. The latter two occupations explain why my ancestors moved between Derbyshire and Yorkshire - where there were coal mines - and from the Forest of Dean to Derbyshire - to find jobs in iron works. In fact I have many Welsh ancestors whose families slipped over the border from the Forest of Dean into Monmouthshire to work in Blaenavon and Abergavenny before trekking on to Derby.
Some adventurous souls emigrated to Canada, and some found work in the USA. Of course - in this anniversary year of the outbreak of World War One - it is sobering to find records of those young men who died in Flanders and other foreign fields. Some of course left no direct ancestors, but a few married, had a child, and died soon afterwards. I saw a Great War cemetery a couple of Christmases ago.
The impact then was tremendous, but the cold facts of an individual's death are just as great. What a tragedy.