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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

IWM - Lives of the First World War


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As I am currently reseraching the WW1 soldiers listed on my village war memorial I was particularly intersted to hear of this new site - livesofthefirstworldwar.org - which enables users to share information they have about WW1 soldiers from Britain and the Commonwealth.

Initially I thought what a great idea for individuals to be able to add details of WW1 soldiers to a readily available, on line record for any one to see. But then I started to think more about this and came to the conclusion that although I shall add all the information I have carefully researched about the soliders (and list my research sources) I am working on I wonder how many people will add information that isn't researched but is what they assume is correct. For example I was recently told by the grand daughter of one of the soliders I am researching that her grandfather never saw his daughter (her mother) as he'd gone to fight before she was born. Documentary evidence quite clearly shows that actually she was born 3 months to the day before he attested.

I can envisage this site turning into another collection like those on-line family trees where the information is incorrect and misleading and not a reliable source for serious genealogitst to turn to.

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It seems that the way the website is arranged it is not possible to add information without evidence to support it.

There has been a long discussion on the forum HERE, mostly because of how strictly this rule is enforced.


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  • Admin

Actually information such as the family story mentioned can be added but they come under a separate area called "Personal Knowledge". This will allow family stories to be added but without evidence to back them up they need to be treated with caution*.

Think of the 2 areas as similar to the old Familysearch where there were IGI batches of known records and the family submitted trees, some of which were worthy of entry into the Booker Prize for creative writing.

* Unfortunately, people who did meet and talk to veterans and have an accurate story to tell will get caught up in this area too unless there is evidence backing up the details.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I too am researching the WW1 Memorial in my village where 13 names appear. I have found that anecdotal evidences vs researched evidence to be, at times, very stark. The names on the memorial were previously researched in the early 1990s and a booklet written by the researchers. I am using some of that info (with permission of course) for my own research and am finding some of the information from the original booklet quite misleading at times. I am in no way decrying the booklet because I know the person who produced it and they had to find all the information from parish registers, County Records, church memorial plaques and talking to families of the soldiers, taking more than 3 years and many miles of travelling to do this. Of course this information can be invaluable but very time consuming whereas the internet provides much more detailed info (Census and military records/CWGC/Regimental Records etc.) and can be done in a fraction of the time.

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