For each easy search we do there are probably another 10 which are far more difficult. This particular piece of research was at the upper end of the difficult scale.
In May 2015 I received the Colonial Auxiliary Forces Long Service Medal awarded to 550 J Anderson from Ann W-F of Mackay. Anderson served in the 4th Australian Infantry Regiment. This was a pre-federation militia unit which was centered on the Hunter Valley region of NSW. There were companies in Newcastle (A), West Maitland (B), Singleton (C), Wallsend (D), Tamworth (F), Armidale (G) and Lambton (H).
There are no records readily available for this period so research is difficult. The impressing on the rim of the medal had one vital clue, apart from the name and unit, which helped me. This was the date when the soldier became eligible for the award. The date reads '7.10.05'. Using this date I found the gazette entry and eventually two newspaper articles which mentions the award of the medal to Anderson and other members of 4th AIR. That was the hard bit and took over 4 months to reach this point.
Once I had John and Agnes' full names it was easy to follow them and their children through the NSW BDM records and the electoral rolls. John and Agnes had a daughter named Aspah who married Joseph Sneddon. Their first son, James, died a birth. Their second son was Archibald Watson Anderson Sneddon who married Ettie Moore. These quite distinctive names helped this part of the search. Archibald and Ettie had a son Desmond who, with Clare, had a son Greg. I had finally found the current generation but the search wasn't over.
The electoral rolls available on Ancestry.com finish in 1980. From these I knew that Greg lived in the Hunter Valley but his exact address eluded me. There was one entry in the Whitepages with Greg's initial combination so I took a punt and gave the number a call. I was lucky enough to have found the right family and Greg knew all the names I mentioned having researched his family tree. Greg is John's great great grandson.
At some point this medal has been converted to wear as a brooch which was a common occurrence in the past.
Thank you to Ann who sent me the medal.
The returned medal tally is now 1760.