Batman star Colin McFarlane launches war history project for Lincolnshire schoolchildren

Children are excited about Colin McFarlane's WW1 history project

Schoolchildren are embarking on a genealogical voyage of discovery back to the First World War.

The Making History charity is the brainchild of Lincoln actor Colin McFarlane and it draws experts together to guide pupils in their quests.

Children are encouraged to discover something in their family's past about the Great War.

They will tell their stories on film which will be screened at the end of the project in November in Lincoln and at the British Film Institute in London.

Four hundred pupils from 14 schools in Lincoln and London are involved following a successful trial.

Mr McFarlane said: "Generally the average age of someone researching their family history is 55.

"This project rips up that statistic by involving the whole family and empowers and inspires children to follow their dreams.

"Some truly amazing stories emerged from the original pilot from just 35 students, with one pupil researching a probable family connection to Hitler's brother; another found they were related to a saint, another to a US silent movie star, another to the inventor of the Morse Code and another to royalty.

"Understanding where you come from is vital for a sense of belonging and sharing these discoveries helps break down barriers between class, cultures and generations, connecting us all."

The children are using iPads and software and research tools from family history specialists MyHeritage and Findmypast, with the support of Dr Nick Barratt from the National Archives, and Neil Fraser, owner of the Fraser & Fraser probate team featured in BBC TV's Heir Hunters.

Fosse Way Academy, North Hykeham, pupil George Ashmore, 10, is hoping to discover more about his ancestor George Mitchell, who was a sergeant major in the Devonshire Regiment in the first war.

And classmate Reeve Epton, 10, wants to know more about his great, great grandad William Ewart Gladstone Crompton, from Gainsborough, who served in the 1st Btn Lincolnshire Regiment and went missing believed killed in action in France in 1916.