Lives of the First World War

IWM & brightsolid partner to create digital platform:

Lives of the First World War

Just heard this news from brightsolid…

IWM (Imperial War Museums) and brightsolid, the online publishing and technology arm of publishing group DC Thomson, are working in partnership to create Lives of the First World War – an innovative and interactive digital platform to mark the First World War Centenary.

 

Lives of the First World War will hold the stories of over 8 million men and women who served in uniform and worked on the home front. It will be the official place for communities across the world to connect, explore, reveal and share even more about these people’s lives.

 

This innovative platform will bring fascinating records from museums, libraries, archives and family collections across the globe together in one place. The team behind Lives of the First World War are working with national and international institutions and archives to make this happen.

 

Over the course of the centenary, Lives of the First World War will become the permanent digital memorial to more than 8 million men and women from across Britain and the Commonwealth – a significant digital legacy for future generations.

 

The platform will go live later this year, in time for the start of centenary commemorations from summer 2014. Further information, including a short film about Lives of the First World War can now be found at www.livesofthefirstworldwar.org.

 

Diane Lees, Director-General of IWM said: “The Imperial War Museum was established while the First World War was still being fought to ensure that future generations would understand the causes and consequences of the war and to remember the men and women who played their role.

 

“Now that the First World War is outside living memory, we are the voice of those veterans and the custodians of their stories – which we can now tell through Lives of the First World War. We will be encouraging people of all ages, in all communities to join us in this project to actively remember these men and women.

 

“I am delighted that IWM will be working with brightsolid. Their focus on innovation, their specialism in telling stories and making history accessible along with their international reach makes them our perfect partner on Lives of the First World War.”

 

Chris van der Kuyl, Chief Executive of brightsolid, said: “We are proud to be working with IWM to create a digital memorial that will be an enduring and fitting tribute to the men and women of the First World War. I am sure that as the centenary approaches, members of the public will deepen these stories by uploading their own content in order to create a rich narrative tapestry for every man or woman whose life was shaped by the War.

 

“The UK has an incalculable wealth of historical archives. Institutions like IWM are world leaders in making those records available online to millions of people worldwide. We are only beginning to realise the cultural potential of these archives.”

 

brightsolid’s partnership with IWM consolidates its position as a private sector partner for leading public institutions digitising historical archives. The Group recently launched the British Newspaper Archive in partnership with the British Library, embarking on a project to digitise, and make fully-searchable, up to 40 million historic pages from the national newspaper collection over the next 10 years and has previously delivered the highly successful 1911census.co.uk project in partnership with The National Archives (TNA). In addition, brightsolid is the private sector provider for ScotlandsPeople, a partnership with National Records of Scotland and the Court of the Lord Lyon that serves an integrated online portal for Scottish genealogy records dating back to 1538.

 

Lives of the First World War will be a part of IWM’s extensive programme to mark the First World War Centenary. IWM’s programme includes new First World War Galleries at IWM London (opening summer 2014) and a major temporary exhibition at IWM North. IWM is also leading the First World War Centenary Partnership, a growing network of over 1,000 local, national and international cultural and educational organisations spanning 25 countries. The Centenary Partnership will present a four-year vibrant programme of cultural events and activities engaging millions of people across the world.

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Some New British Family History Data Online

Directories1869 at TheGenealogist.co.ukThis week I’ve been looking at some of the new data that has found its way online at some of the websites that I regularly use.

At Find My Past anyone with ancestors who were captured and became prisoners of war in the first and second world wars may want to take a look at some 170,000 records that have been added to this website recently.

Starting with the First World War, the data is for 7,700 British Army officers who between 1914 and 1918 were PoWs and comes from the records of a bank! It would seem that a missing cheque could very often be the first indication that an officer had been captured and so Messrs Cox & Co recorded the information at that time about their clients.

Data that you may be able to obtain from this list includes name, rank, service, section, date that the officer went missing and the date that they were repatriated or date of death in captivity.

For the Second World War the collection is of 107,000 records of Army personnel held by the Germans. These records will usually give you the name, rank, regiment, army number, camp number, PoW number, together with the type and location of the camp.

Over at TheGenealogist nearly half a million more parish records have been added to the site for subscribers of their Diamond package. Included are more than 130,000 records for Worcestershire, 100,000 for Cornwall, 81,000 for Northumberland plus many more for other counties.

The same website has boosted their trade directories, a data set I always enjoy using to find tradesmen listed or the address of their gentry clients. To be noted are the East India Company Register and Directory for 1820 and 1834.

If you are reading this before the end of September 2012 then TheGenealogist are still offering £50 off their Diamond subscription package as a celebration of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. To obtain this sizeable discount all you need to do is use the code SUMMERSAVER when signing up to the site!

The websites that I often use myself are Find My Past and The Genealogist.co.uk. To take your family history further I certainly recommend that you to consider a subscription to these websites. Take a look now and see what great data sets they have to offer including those I have highlighted above:

 

The Genealogist - UK census, BMDs and more online


Disclosure: The Links in the above are Compensated Affiliate links. If you click on them then I may be rewarded by Findmypast.co.uk or The Genealogist.co.uk should you sign up for their subscriptions.

 

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Researching family in Jersey, part 1: where to start

An Old Jersey House

You’ve traced an ancestor to Jersey, and you are wondering what you can find out about them. To your frustration, you rapidly discover that birth marriage and death records for Jersey are not available online. So what can you do?

Well, there are at least some useful Internet resources out there to help you get started. The most obvious one is the Census: Channel Island censuses from 1841 to 1901 are available both through Ancestry and Findmypast, and the 1911 census is on FindMyPast and will soon be fully available on Ancestry too.

A word of caution, though: the transcription is not entirely reliable on either site, and on top of that, some database search engines have problems with “divided” surnames like Le Sueur or Du Feu (not to mention Le Vavasseur dit Durell). So here’s a shameless plug: if you are going to do a lot of searching of censuses, you could do worse than purchase the paper census indexes produced by the CIFHS. They are a lot more accurate (well over 99%), and can (with a bit of fiddling) be cross-referenced back to the census images on the Internet.

There are also military records. If you’re looking at Channel Island relatives who served in the First World War, it’s well worth investigating at greatwarci.net – this is the website of the Channel Island Great War Study Group, and they maintain a very comprehensive list of people who served. The list is rather more complete than Ancestry’s transcript of what’s in the National Archives simply because Jersey residents served not only with the British armed forces but also with the Canadians and Australians. There were also at least a couple of thousand French nationals who joined up with the French military, but records for them are very scanty. If you are looking at other periods (and bear in mind Jersey had a garrison to protect it from the French right up until the 1930s), you may find references to service in Jersey on the military records of Chelsea Pensioners kept on FindMyPast, or on the GRO Regimental Indexes of birth marriage and death.

There are other useful resources too on Ancestry. There are three Channel Island postal directories – covering 1839, 1903 and 1927 – that may help to link a name to an address.

You may also be fortunate enough to find online family trees. Ancestry host them, as do Genesreunited, and there are also numerous independently-produced web sites. The general rule of thumb is to treat these as a guideline: they may be inaccurate, or they may tell the truth as far the researcher knows it – but not the whole story.

Aside from this, there’s a couple of major Internet resources based in the Channel Islands that may help you with your research. More about them next time. À bétôt!

Guest blog by James McLaren from the Channel Islands Family History Society


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Family History Information Scanned So That We Can Research Our Family Trees

Have you ever wondered how a website like findmypast.co.uk goes about scanning the information for us family historians to use before they put up online?

I mean what do they have to do to actually extract all that information from the government documents so that eventually we can go online and type in our search criteria and then get to see the results?

I watched this film and was fascinated by the facts…

  • There are 18 million pages of the 1911 census of England & Wales.
  • 36 million people made up the population then, just before the First World War.
  • 10 times the number of images than the 1901 census.
  • A team of 350 people worked on the transcriptions.
  • 7 billion keystrokes were made by the transcribers!
  • 2 Kilometres of shelving housed the 1911 census before the process of scanning started.
  • Watch it here.


    Disclosure: Compensated Affiliate of findmypast.co.uk

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