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Matthew_F

Lives of the First World War launch - February 2014

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spof

Thanks David. Your suggestion of linking to TNA was very good and I'm in the swing of it now.

There is a comment on the External Link pop-up saying there will soon be an option to link to "printed books and other reference material" so it would appear to be on the list of things to do. I just hope it has a reasonably high priority.

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paul leeson

Hi all

I had my first look at the beta site last night, I had no idea what to expect and was impressed at what I found. At the moment it is Army only as it is based on the MIC's, but all my family [15 of them] who should have been there, are there. It will be interesting to see how the site grows over the next few years and how, for example, female ammunition workers will be added as there do not seem to be any official record of them.

Paul

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Matthew_F

Thanks Paul, glad you were impressed with the site so far! We'll be seeding more life story pages from new record sets, including records for the RFC/Royal Navy, in the near future, and many more as the project progresses.

SPOF - we're actually adding the functionality to allow you to do that in the next week or so (that improvement may have already been deployed actually!). You will be able to select whether an external reference is a website, book/publication/archives, or copy of official document, and the latter two options don't require a URL. Be great if you could give that a go next week to see what you think, if that meets your needs now and if there's anything we could do to improve it.

Thanks,

Matthew

IWM

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Griffner

Just to say I'm thrilled of being part of this beta! I've been making my way around with the beta for a few days now. Many ideas are being submitted and reviewed, and I'm confident this will prove to be an invaluable resource in the long run!

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spof

Thanks Matt.

The change has been implemented and it seems to work well. Funnily enough, David's suggestion of using the TNA catalogue URL means I have more than enough to get on with that I don't need the other sections until the 200 character limit is removed.

Glen

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MartinWills

For a WO 339 record you could link to the appropriate catalogue reference in Discovery.

I do agree thought hat there needs to be something between external resource and personal knowledge which allows for information in sources in offline sources to be added. Whether that be to references to local newspapers, parish magazines etc which are not online, books etc.

For the case mentioned above where someone was apparently commissioned in the RAF before its formation, you could find the relevant London Gazette entry and link that as an external resource and improve the data, without "challenging" the information from the MIC. I used effectively that approach to remove (I think succesfully) the hypen from Ralph Vaughan-Williams' surname (he was Vaughan Williams, no hyphen).

David,

I think you may also have managed to give RVW's unit when serving as Lieutenant as Royal Artiller (with the y missing) I did start looking at how to change/challenge/report it. Sadly I nearly gave up the will to live in the attempt. These things need to be intuitive and they are not so many novice users will probably just decide not to bother which would be sad.

I did manage to challenge one entry - a man who was (apparently) comissioned into the Royal Air Force or the British Army in 1917 based upon information on an MIC. Having started as a infantry private then an RE sapper then RE 2/Lt and finally having moved into the TA after discharge rising to become a Lt. Col in home front signals in WW2. No RAF though he was seconded to an experimental establishment under the remit, seemingly, of the RFC then RAF

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David_Underdown

So I did - now fixed.

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MartinWills

So I did - now fixed.

Well done.

I still find the site far from intuitive and hence less than straightforward to use. I also think it is still too tightly tied to archive/on line sources which the site user "links" to the soldier.. I have the commission for the 2/Lt above who was supposedly commissioned into the RAF in 1917 which provides primary evidence that he was an RE man. Dealing with sources like this and recording them within the project are not easy. This is understandable when knowledgeable interpretation is key to resolving problems. I think we also know how often official records can be inaccurate and transcriptions can be error ridden.

A lot of key information can be available through things like school rolls of honour and the like - again these are not "on-line" archive resources so adding them as verified traceable information can also be an issue.

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spof

Martin

One of the recent changes allows material not available online to be added. When you click on Add External Reference, there are now 3 options along the top for

- Website which was always there

- Book/Publication/Archive which will cover school rolls of honour, newspaper articles etc.

- Copy of Official Document for things like discharge papers held by the family, officers' service records, medal rolls and similar

each requires referenced sources so they can be checked. Anything that doesn't have a quotable source would come under Personal Knowledge I guess.

Glen

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GrenPen

I have spent several hours on the website, after having received my "call-up" for beta testing.

The first challenge, as a new user, is to work out how to correct the first name of a "Life Story", which typically means having to create a source. For the two men I am interested in, I have created "External Website" sources. In the interim, I have created a source based upon the CWGC page, which I gather will be available at some point in the future.

I have found that the "Search Official Records" is not that intuitive, and a simple tutorial would be useful, be it a 30 second video on the website, or via YouTube.

The WO 363 records (British Army Service Records 1914-1920) are classified as "1790 US Census Transcription" which is clearly not correct. Trawling through the list which is returned is difficult, as there are no clues, such as service numbers. If a filter could be made between service records versus medal cards, it could help, too.

With regard to official record searches, there is the issue as to whether an individual's middle name is omitted, or abbreviated, so it appears that the first name may need to be altered several times, so that searches can bring back the correct results, for connection to a person (or "Life Story" to use the technical parlance.)

One other criticism is that there is no aboility to attach one source to more than one person.

It is exciting to be doing this.

Regards

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GrenPen

One further comment with the WO 393 transcriptions is that there appears to be some sort of OCR which is used, without any verification, and assumptions are then made. I was looking at one man, who was from Deptford, yet this is recorded as a birth town on Defford, and it is implied he was born in Worcestershire. This is not an issue with the application itself, but with the quality of the underlying base data.

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ianw

Pleased to have quickly posted pictures of my Grandfather today - Edward Levingston - both as an NCO and an officer. Now the harder part of assembling all the information for his brothers and himself.

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spof

I heard Luke on the radio at silly o'clock this morning and Diane Lees also from IWM on the Today show a bit later. Interesting stuff.

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warproject

Hi.

I wondered if anyone this morning had added to the archive.

None of my relatives seem to have any information noted on it,

although their names are all there.

Sandy

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spof

Sandy

All that has been added at the moment are the TNA transcriptions of the MICs. Navy, RAF, Commonwealth soldiers etc are due to be added at some point.People can add further information themselves. Just click on one of the big green buttons at the top. In your case you could use the External Reference option to link to your website for details or if you have official documents like service records, medal rolls, birth/death/marriage certificates you use that option as well.

If you have knowledge that cannot be linked to a record, use the Personal Knowledge option.

Glen

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E Wilcock

I received a welcome e-mail, so enrolled in the Project to find my uncle who was killed aged 20. I have his letters and juvenile writings and many photos to possibly link from an outside site.

However, he is wrongly listed as being in 15th Kings Liverpool, instead of 13th.

The source given is his medal card which is correctly indexed on ancestry as 13th Battalion whose war diary I purchased from NA last week. I also have an ancestry sub.

If the one person I tested at random is wrongly listed and there isnt an obvious place to report errors or one has to check the supposed sources and make a case - it does not give one confidence that members of the public are going to be able to locate their ancestors and find out when and where they served.

After all, even tho I am a member of this forum and have a website, I do get very muddled at how infantry regiments were numbered by Battlaion and all the (changing) Division numbers. The artillery Brigade numbers are bad enough and it has taken me years to offer guidance on those.

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Laird of Camster

Hi Guys,

Am I right in thinking that you have to pay, in order to be able to place information on this site? I`ve just tried to put a wealth of information on a soldier, that I`ve done over the years, but can`t seem to be able to work out how to add it? :(

Gordon.

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warproject

Thank you Glen.

A very informative instructions/reply.

Greatly appreciated.

Sandy

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Coldstreamer

not that I can work out how to add any info ?! any pointers

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paul leeson

Gordon

I will agree that it is not that user friendly, but I understand it should be free to add your own work/records, you only need to pay to look at the records they have on the site.

Paul

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spof

Gordon

It does take a little time to get used to it but if that time is taken, it becomes pretty straight forward to understand.

You don't need to pay to add information or view it. There are links to data that Findmypast holds and if you want to use them to search for information on your man, you need to subscribe.

Ignore the first part of this guide about searching official records but look at the following parts https://livesofthefirstworldwar.org/adding-to-a-life-story

Glen

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spof

Here is a brief guide to adding information

https://livesofthefirstworldwar.org/adding-to-a-life-story

Just ignore the first part about searching records. That only applies of you have taken out a subscription to the project where you get access to some of the military records from FMP. It is not needed to add informtion or view the mens' records.

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Coldstreamer

added a picture - didn't always give me the option to scroll down though - only took 30 minutes!

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spof

I find that by clicking on the white area outside the boxes makes it easier to scroll. It isn't the easiest thing to navigate.

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Hollytree

I have just uploaded two photographs of my grandfather and great uncle (killed at Gallipoli) and tried to add things like DoB etc. Couldn't see how to do so sent off a moaning note to them, had an email from them:

"Good Afternoon,

On Lives of the First World War, every fact you add to a Life Story needs to reference a source of evidence (to ensure each Life Story as accurate as possible and for future research).

Evidence can be any of the following:

- Official Sources (record sets provided by Lives of the First World War)

- Images (uploaded by yourself)

- External Resources (links from other websites, such as Find My Past or The National Archives)

Once you have chosen a source of evidence, you can attribute any facts on that record to the Life Story you’re working on.

If you want to add a personal recollection, then simply click “Personal Knowledge” and add your story. Please note you can’t add facts from Personal Knowledge.

This FAQ should help you get started - https://livesofthefirstworldwar.org/adding-to-a-life-story "

I'm none the wiser, but think it involves scanning all documents, bmd certs and then citing it....it smacks of the awful FMP website and not the most user friendly.

Anne

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