Exciting news! Free access to military records and more on both Findmypast and Ancestry this weekend!
Leading British & Irish family history website, Findmypast, will be providing free access to their entire collection of military and civilian records ahead of Remembrance Day 2019.
From 12pm (GMT) Friday November 8th, until 12pm Monday November 11th, all records on Findmypast excluding newspapers, electoral rolls and the Periodical Source Index, will be completely free to search and explore.
This includes more than 85 million military records covering all three service branches of the British Armed Forces as well as the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Ireland. Researches will be able to search for their ancestors in a variety of fascinating documents ranging from service records and pensions to medal rolls, POW records, casualty lists and more.
By providing free access to these detail rich documents, Findmypast is offering all visitors to the site the chance to honour the struggles and sacrifices endured by their military ancestors by telling their stories.
Tonight I spent some time uploading information to the Lives of the First World War site about my great uncle Alfred Mansel Young (you can see his life story page here). As you all know, this weekend is Remembrance Sunday which seemed like the perfect time to encourage you to use the site too.
The site is really easy to use:
Go to livesofthefirstworldwar.org
Who will you remember? – type in a surname (and service number, if known)
Find your connection in millions of Life Stories already started by IWM
Create a free account and press the ‘Remember’ button on the Life Story page – so everyone can see who you are Remembering
Use email, Facebook and Twitter to Share the link to the Life Story page with your family and friends.
Use #remember and #LivesOfWW1 to join the community remembering together on Twitter.
Who will you remember? Your First World War connection could be a relative who served, someone who shares your surname or a person listed on your local war memorial.
Upload your story to ensure that these Life Stories are remembered now and saved for future generations on Lives of the First World War.
The Imperial War Museum are currently asking for help ahead of the launch of Lives of the First World War later this year. They need our help exploring a previously untapped resource which could help them to discover and remember the incredible life stories of the men and women who fought in the First World War.
Operation War Diary, a joint project between IWM and The National Archives, has made digital versions of First World War Unit War Diaries from the Western Front available for the first time. They believe that more people were mentioned by name than previously thought.
You can get involved by becoming a Citizen Historian and help classify some of the 1.5 million pages of unit war diaries which cover activity on the Western Front. There are lots of different types of pages full of fascinating details about the people involved and descriptions of their activities.
From the tags that people add they can create a detailed index to the people who appear in these pages and learn more about what they were doing. Please note they are not transcribing every word of the documents.
This is a great project and will open up lots of sources to the family historian and more importantly allow us to find new mentions of our relatives. Eventually all of the data produced by Operation War Diary will be available to everyone free of charge.
The project also has a blog which I’m sure will be revealing lots of interesting facts as they are discovered.
Next year will be a great year for family historians due to the anniversary of the First World War.
I was excited to learn about a new website – Cymru 1914 – as I have a Welsh ancestor who died during the First World War. According to the homepage:
This project has conducted mass digitization of primary sources relating to the First World War from the Libraries, Special Collections and Archives of Wales. The project will make available a coherent, consolidated digital collection revealing the often hidden history of the First World War as it impacted all aspects of Welsh life, language and culture. This digital archive brings together source materials that were previously fragmented and frequently inaccessible. This digital archive is a unique resource of vital interest to researchers, students, and the public in Wales and beyond.
I haven’t found any mention of my great uncle Alfred Mansel Young yet, but I hope to have some more time to explore the site soon.