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Matthew_F

Lives of the First World War launch - February 2014

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HeatherC

@ E Wilcock - By the way, your man IS there. His surname is mis-spelled but a bit of lateral thinking found him pretty quickly https://livesofthefirstworldwar.org/lifestory/4546450

I've edied his name for you so it agrees with his medal card (which spells his third name Estamps by the way so that's what I have had to put)

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HeatherC

Sorry Sue, should havbe spotted by your post count that you have forgotten more about Wartime Nursing services than I actually know! ;)

In that case why not suggest it as a new record set?

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Sue Light

In that case why not suggest it as a new record set?

I'll have a look through and think about it - I'm finding the whole site so complex, I'm not sure yet that participation is a useful way to pass the time. Need to be in a less negative mood I think :mellow:

Sue

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E Wilcock
By the way, your man IS there. His surname is mis-spelled but a bit of lateral thinking found him pretty quickly

Well, thanks for that Heather. I will now remember him officially.

We (OH and I) spent two hours spelling him every possible way and didnt find him yesterday. So medal card for you!

But I am actually through with it. I am known as a bit of a genealogical sleuth, so am no stranger to problem solving but I have completely failed twice now out of three officers to cope with the IWM Lives site. And had other more expert people to do the editing for me?

This is not how I intend to spend the rest of my life.

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Hollytree

I put on two photographs of relatives......and gave up after that. Since reading these sucession of posts I have come to the conclusion that it seems easier to plait fog :wacko:

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HeatherC

It really is not that hard. People are used to Ancestry and similar family history sites where they can scribble down any old rubbish and then look for sources afterwards (not saying that's what anyone here does of course but we all know people on there do!) On Lives you have to connect your evidence first (no this does not mean having to pay for anything you already paid for, yes it DOES mean you have to actually have some evidence and be able to describe it) and then add the facts from it.

Yes it's a different way of doing things. I keep talking about the inaccuracy of Ancestry family trees and if Lives allowed people to just add information they "know", how accurate do you think it would be after about two weeks?

Lives isn't hard to use once you get the hang of adding evidence first and adding facts second. Don't give up so easily....

And it's already been mentioned in this thread but this blog http://barnsleyhistorian.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/lives-of-first-world-war-finding-your.html gives a better explanation than the official user guides!

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E Wilcock

Since the implication is that anyone who uses ancestry should either despair or cope with the IWM project, it seems constructive to reply.

My own genealogy data is not uploaded via Gedcom to ancestry, though the networking provided by ancestry trees can be invaluable.

Having suffered from piracy and breach of copyright in my family research, I control my own site, at http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~wilcock/. The Roots free hosting site is now a subsiduary of ancestry.

Like some other genealogists uploading trees, I took a decision not to upload sources or any personal details beyond birth marriage and death. I followed the same principle with the Brigade website. Both sites encourage contact. But my software, Second Site, is capable of generating a fully sourced site with the sources entered as text as they would be in an academic article, rather than as copyright images which is the preferred option of the IWM

If I receive a complaint about accuracy I look at the sources, draw a conclusion which I explain and make alterations where justified. If I receive a complaint with no sources, I do nothing.

My (incomplete and unpublished) research into individual members of the Rugby Battery of 243 Brigade is entered into the same software as my family trees.

However, contingent to the Brigade papers left by my grandparents is their correspondence with friends and colleagues in other units. Plus the people mentioned in diaries and memoirs we have transcribed. Thus I am left with men whose background I may have researched at the PRO but who are neither family nor members of 243 Brigade, although I put the names on that site. Letters from my Uncle Edgar Gollin in 13th King's Liverpool, will produce a whole lot more names to identify.

The obvious solution was to "remember" them instead on the Lives of the FWW site.

Now coming to my high failure rate on searches, I believe there may be a problem with the site rather than my ancient incompetence. I just went to the site to look for

Grogan, James Colin, 2nd Lt. The 1st Battalion King's Own Scottish Borderers. killed in action 4 June 1915, Gallipoli. Buried Grave. II. D. 1. Twelve Tree Copse Cemetery, nr Krithia, Turkey.

I searched for Grogan James and he did not appear on the list.

Nor did his unit appear among the units offered.

I searched using the intials J.C. and failed again.

Using Grogan surname only and going through the complete list of regiments, page after page till I found the Scottish Borderers, I clicked on the correct unit and found him at once. Then when I tried a new search entering exactly the same info as my first attempt, Grogan James and he showed up immediately.

Thus if Heather responded by helping me again, she might well find my person at once whereas I had failed.

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HeatherC

Interesting that the search would work that way. Doesn't sound very good to me I must admit. I would say though that when searching, "less is more" and I'd always start with just the surname or even a wildcard version of it - I found your man Vallancey by searching for Vall* and then narrowing down by Regiment and he was under Vallance.

Not sure why you say you had to go through the "complete list of Regiments page after page" - you don't. Click on "View all" under the list of Regiments in the left hand bar and when the pop-up opens just start typing the name of the Regiment you want in the text box and it can then be quickly selected.

Like your website by the way and do totally understand what you mean about plagiarism (on Ancestry I wouldn't call it piracy...) Please don't give up, you have some great info to share.

Heather

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Hollytree

I have extensively researched both my grandfather's RE service through Ancestry, TNA, and his own discharge documents. I have most of this both on a package genealogical data base, hard copies of orginal files on my pc, an external hard drive and some on Ancestry. To be honest unless the uploading and filling in gaps isn't made a little easier, I won't be adding more than the two photographs I uploaded. He died over 50 years ago, his family will be interested in my research, but other than that the IWM will have to wait....

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E Wilcock

I found your man Vallancey by searching for Vall* and then narrowing down by Regiment and he was under Vallance.

Not sure why you say you had to go through the "complete list of Regiments page after page" - you don't. Click on "View all" under the list of Regiments in the left hand bar and when the pop-up opens just start typing the name of the Regiment you want in the text box and it can then be quickly selected.

Heather, thank you very much for your guidance. I needed to learn these things! And by the way, it was not family research that was published without consent but private correspondence and research notes - some of which was sensitive. This was dealt with in USA and Europe as a breach of copyright but unfortunately there are countries elsewhere which pay no attention.

Returning to Lives of the FWW, I have also possibly misunderstood its Remember feature. I dutifully marked the people I want to "remember" thinking that their relatives would then discover me and their surviving letters etc.

This would be a great help in searching for copyright owners - which has left problems for us.

But it seems that at the moment, users are not commemorating these people, just bookmarking them for their own convenience.

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HeatherC

Returning to Lives of the FWW, I have also possibly misunderstood its Remember feature. I dutifully marked the people I want to "remember" thinking that their relatives would then discover me and their surviving letters etc.

This would be a great help in searching for copyright owners - which has left problems for us.

But it seems that at the moment, users are not commemorating these people, just bookmarking them for their own convenience.

I'm sure that's true for some people, but i know I'd be thrilled to find someone out there that had info about one of "my" Lives that I hadn't seen. In particular I am hoping to get more information about the men on a local war memorial than I have been able to find on the Internet. Finding someone with their photos and letters would be amazing so please don't think it's not worthwhile you remembering them in that way. I must admit I just went and checked the list for the memorial I am involved in researching and was really hoping to find a 243 man among the RFA ones, but no such luck!

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AdrianBruce
.... I have also possibly misunderstood its Remember feature. I dutifully marked the people I want to "remember" thinking that their relatives would then discover me and their surviving letters etc. ...

But it seems that at the moment, users are not commemorating these people, just bookmarking them for their own convenience.

This is one bit where family historians might have pushed a bit, a bit earlier. So far as I know, there is no way to contact the "Remeberer" - yet. There is a feedback item saying "Can we please have a contact mechanism?", so maybe a mechanism might appear later. I might add that it's not trivial as you need to introduce a private messaging service rather than making people's contact details visible - but I'm sure that, as users of a Forum like this, you all understand.

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E Wilcock

A further problem is that one seems unable to link any sources that are not on a website. I read my uncle's correspondence last night. The letters mention his servant Foddy and there are two letters to my grand parents which we now know are from his servant. One of them was dictated by my uncle from hospital before he died.

I thought any descendants of Foddy might like to know what he was doing in the war.

It seems that one is unable to add sources which are not on line. So one cannot add unpublished written sources.

The servant is not related to me. So I dont hold copyright in these letters and I dont want to put them on the web.

I have an access database in which I list extraneous military mentioned in letters and diaries, so I have literally dozens of names I could link to our family archive. Or to archival material (say) in a local history library. Or in a local paper which is not on line. The two towns central to my interests both had good local papers 1814-1918 but they happen not to be included in the digitised newspaper library.

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HeatherC

It is most definitely NOT true that you cannot link a source that's not on a website. To add something as an "external source" you only need to be able to give sufficient detail so that anyone else could find it if they made enough effort and/or had the required access to view the source.

I don't think you can add an unpublished written source in your personal possession other than as "Personal Knowledge" (i.e. write it as a story) if you don't wish to or are unable to scan and upload the source document. Actually I think that's right, otherwise anyone could add anything and the point here is to get accurate information. Not saying yours isn't accurate, but you must as a family historian see the point of this?

The local newpaper is quite different. It has been published regardles of whether it is online or not so anyone who wanted to find it could do so. Add information from it as follows:

1. Click "add external reference"

2. When the pop-up appears, select "book/publication/archive" and add the details as follows:

Title - Blankshire Gazette Article

Reference - Blankshire Gazette 1 May 1916 page 5

Location accessed - Blanktown library

Description - microfilm copy of article from Blankshire Gazette

3. Click Connect to (name of man)

4. Now use this new source to add the facts contained in it

Same applies to material in local archives. In fact anything that can be accessed by others and is not solely in your provate possession can be added.

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E Wilcock

If this were so it would be self defeating surely. I had expected that the IWM site might provide a growing database of unpublished letters and diaries which are still in the hands of families.

It was my mistake thinking that the provision of a website address was compulsory?

I think one can give a private archive, to reference my Uncle's letters and those of James Foddy, providing I give my e-mail contact and my name, just as I do on my own web site. Will give it a try anyway.

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E Wilcock

I have now done this citing the correspondence and giving the dates of three letters. It seems to work -

The site did tell me that my location was unnacceptable, but then suddenly gobbled it up and added Foddy's letters to his Lives entry.

Now I can gradually set about adding the dates etc of letters and diaries we have to the names of the men who wrote them, and hopefully any heirs can get in touch with us.

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E Wilcock

Heather, now I have another problem. The field for reference for the mss will not allow me enough characters to give the web site address for a document on Google docs.

I inherited a mss of the Diary of Reginald Pridmore - I have linked it to him as a source, but we also transcribed the whole diary and put it on line as a pdf. I could link him to our Brigade website as a source I suppose, but it is the document of the diary which is the source, not my website.

Do you think we are supposed to add documents as sources?

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HeatherC

I assume you are trying to add this under a "book/manuscript/archive" option? If you have a web-link then use the "website" option where you will find the "URL" field alows some pretty long links.

The PDF is the source you need to add, since that's what others can look at, not the actual diary which is in your private possession I assume?

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E Wilcock

I didnt enter the website as a source for a number of reasons.

The pdf I uploaded is our edited transcript of an mss, and in spite of all searches with wills etc, we still dont have a copyright owner.

The original of the diary, plus any diary he may have written in 1917 have also not been found. I keep hoping!

I am currently trying to work out what will happen to my site and google docs if I died. But my flesh and blood heirs and the mss may be a more permanent reference than any private website, I feel. Whereas websites of universities, public archives and museums, could be considered pretty much permanent.

I would like to link our website with Pridmore, but dont really see how to do this. What one is supposed to do is to reference the sources which I used to make the website, e.g. the Unit War Diaries and Pridmore's Officer's file.

He is a good example of how difficult it is to enter verifiable sources for info.

I know 100% that he was in 3 different South Midland Brigades in the RFA, 4th S Midland then, in the artillery reorganisation, sent to 240 and then he was killed in 241, shortly after he had promoted and moved to take charge of a battery there. But in the days when I researched this in about 2002, I didnt approach my grandfather's friends like academic work and back then one didnt photograph every page of everything one read. So I cant swear whether I got the info from his service file, or the Unit war diaries.

Mea Culpa - I know. But I was pottering around with family papers, trying to find out who Pridmore was. Not preparing an academic article.

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HeatherC

I would like to link our website with Pridmore, but dont really see how to do this. What one is supposed to do is to reference the sources which I used to make the website, e.g. the Unit War Diaries and Pridmore's Officer's file.

It seems your issue here is with Copyright? Since you have already published the transcript of the diary (done by you) online and you give a disclaimer that you have tried to trace the heirs of the man in question and you are in posession of the original document I cannot see why anyone would object if you link to the website directly as an external online source. Failing that why not write a brief account of the existence of the diary and save it under the "use your personal knowledge" option so at least people looking at him on Lives know it exists?

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E Wilcock

Thanks heather. This is sort of what I did. Any one coming to Pridmore will see his diary as a source and can see that a pdf is on line with the address. I simply put the web address for Google docs into an info field that was not size limited.

People on this forum advised me to put up any long documents we transcribed as pdf s - a page by page publication. There is a technical difference between a pdf on line and a whole website. My 243 Brigade website is at best a secondary source.

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Sue Light

Now I've had a good look around, it's made me even more determined to give the whole thing a miss. I'm a subscriber to both FindMyPast and Ancestry but really feel it's a complete waste of time and energy if there is no way for me to access records and post results direct from the sites without becoming a 'Friend' and paying another subscription, other than by adding them in a very long-winded way as an 'external reference'. I've read on previous posts that there is a move to make it easier for subscribers, but I don't think a lot of people will hang around that long.

And I've had a ponder on how, in the future, it's ever going to be possible to satisfactorily add those who didn't serve overseas? To take military nurses as an example; members of QAIMNS, its Reserve and the Territorial Force Nursing Service were working under contract to the War Office, so were definitely 'official'. They were not issued with service numbers and there are a considerable number of women with the same name. Approximately a third of their service records were either destroyed during the weeding process of the 1930s or are still retained by the Ministry of Defence. Just under 16,000 service files survive at The National Archives, out of an estimated total of 22,000/24,000. The surviving files are indexed, but with no way of knowing from that index their actual identity or distinguishing one Mary Jones from another. There are no other official lists or nominal rolls. How can they possibly ever satisfy the criteria than need to be in place for their names to appear?

And with just a tiny number of service records surviving for members of the Women's Army (WAAC/QMAAC), most having been destroyed, tens of thousands more women who served do not appear on 'official' lists or sources. So what chance for the most poorly served of all women's groups - the munitions workers? The answer must be none at all.

I think someone in an earlier post used the phrase 'more difficult than plaiting fog' - absolutely.
Sue

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ianw
I think someone in an earlier post used the phrase 'more difficult than plaiting fog' - absolutely.

Sue

Yes, quite agree. It's unfriendly to use and the obvious deference to the commercial interests of the sponsor have just added insult to injury. A very great lost opportunity - and I heard similar comment made by IWM staff some time ago.

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AdrianBruce

... the obvious deference to the commercial interests of the sponsor ...

Not sure who you think the sponsor is. If it's anything like the commercial arrangements for ScotlandsPeople, then the IWM are firmly in charge and DC Thomson Family History are simply their chosen supplier. (That's not a sinecure either - SP put their first supplier to the sword!) The rigour of the methodology chosen seems to me to reflect the requirements of professional historians and is quite different from that normally used by family historians. Believe us - if you don't corral us, "we" will drown you in umpteen copies of family stories that cannot be connected to the official record and - given half a chance - there will be pedigrees back to Adam.

I think there are important points being made here about how do we record the contribution made by those outside the military. I'm quite sure I don't have an answer yet - I'd be really reluctant to seed all people from the 1911 census because then it really would just turn into a family history site. I do think that we can only start with what we have, and think about the more difficult tasks later...

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Griffner

Now I've had a good look around, it's made me even more determined to give the whole thing a miss. I'm a subscriber to both FindMyPast and Ancestry but really feel it's a complete waste of time and energy if there is no way for me to access records and post results direct from the sites without becoming a 'Friend' and paying another subscription, other than by adding them in a very long-winded way as an 'external reference'. I've read on previous posts that there is a move to make it easier for subscribers, but I don't think a lot of people will hang around that long.

And I've had a ponder on how, in the future, it's ever going to be possible to satisfactorily add those who didn't serve overseas? To take military nurses as an example; members of QAIMNS, its Reserve and the Territorial Force Nursing Service were working under contract to the War Office, so were definitely 'official'. They were not issued with service numbers and there are a considerable number of women with the same name. Approximately a third of their service records were either destroyed during the weeding process of the 1930s or are still retained by the Ministry of Defence. Just under 16,000 service files survive at The National Archives, out of an estimated total of 22,000/24,000. The surviving files are indexed, but with no way of knowing from that index their actual identity or distinguishing one Mary Jones from another. There are no other official lists or nominal rolls. How can they possibly ever satisfy the criteria than need to be in place for their names to appear?

And with just a tiny number of service records surviving for members of the Women's Army (WAAC/QMAAC), most having been destroyed, tens of thousands more women who served do not appear on 'official' lists or sources. So what chance for the most poorly served of all women's groups - the munitions workers? The answer must be none at all. [...]

I disagree. It's easy enough to unearth info on someone on Ancestry or Findmypast and then grab the URL of the relevant artefact, in order to paste that URL into a soldier's life story as an external reference. If someone then wants to view the image, they will need to have a subscription to the source service, which seems fair.

As to the use of official documents to sourcing "lives", I believe that If LFWW wants to be a rigorous and scrupulous exercise, it has to be grounded in fact, and has to avoid resorting to speculation or uncertainties. Official military records are the way to go to assert that someone did really serve in the war, whether at home or abroad.

Edited by Griffner

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