Posts tagged ‘World War 1’

World War 1 centenary projects

Recently I’ve spoken to a number of people involved in projects researching those who enlisted for World War 1. As the centenary of WW1 approaches, the many commemoration projects seem to be running largely in isolation.

Some projects are run in conjunction with local libraries, with volunteer researchers adding information to local studies collections. Other projects aim to produce CDs or books to be sold.

The lack of coordination between the various projects could lead to overlapping of people of interest. Someone might have been born in Mosman, but lived in Ryde at the time of enlisting – and so both areas’ projects might flag the individual as someone to be researched. Indeed that individual may even appear on the war memorial in yet another location, if a family member contributed the soldier’s name to their local war memorial.

When research resources are scarce, it makes sense for there to be some coordination between the projects to identify which individuals are being researched and in which resources. How best to do this? Local studies librarians’ networks allow sharing information about their projects, but what about projects not coordinated by libraries?

One possibility might be adding a small notice onto the Mapping our Anzacs website, which allows submissions of scrapbook entries. Obviously anyone can contribute photos or research about the lives of family members, but it would also be possible to add a scrapbook post that says something like ‘This individual is being researched by the Mosman 1914-18 project – further information can be found at …’

Thus whether the information gathered in research is intended to be freely available at a library or website, or even sold in a commercial publication, anyone interested in that WW1 participant would be directed to further information. Also the various project coordinators could make informed decisions about whether or not to proceed with researching an individual already being considered as part of another project.

War memorials in NSW’ includes a spreadsheet of summary information about names on particular memorials. The various projects could consider adding information to those spreadsheets, and also add details of additional memorials to those already included on the site.

Those involved in the various projects should also be aware of the Australian Government Anzac Centenary funding grants and publicity.

What other projects are you aware of?

(My handout for researching World War 1 participants can be found here.)

20 September, 2012 at 11:41 am 1 comment

Film Archives

If a picture tells 1000 words, then what about moving pictures?

I’ve mentioned my ancestor (Leslie) Hay SIMPSON, who played the role of Ned Kelly in the 1934 film of When the Kellys Rode and then was lost at sea in 1937, soon after making the film Mystery Island on Lord Howe Island. The National Film & Sound Archive has many audiovisuals at http://aso.gov.au, including clips from Mystery Island. Hay Simpson can be seen in http://aso.gov.au/titles/features/mystery-island/clip2/ (he’s the drunk with the bottle).

However you don’t need an actor ancestor to find something interesting on film. World War 1 troops heading to the docks in Sydney can be seen in the 1915 footage at http://aso.gov.au/titles/historical/ww1-troops-embarkation/clip1/

Crowds at the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in 1932 can be seen at http://aso.gov.au/titles/home-movies/farey-sydney-harbour-bridge/clip2/

Even educational resources are available. Excerpts from a documentary retelling the story of the Victorian gold rush can be seen at http://aso.gov.au/titles/tv/peachs-gold-eureka/clip1/

Have a look at the offerings on the Australian Screen website. Try entering a town or suburb name of interest, and see if there is historic film footage available. Think about the significant events in which ancestors might have been involved, and even if you can’t identify an ancestor, such historic footage gives you an opportunity to see things through their eyes – and isn’t that one of our goals of  family history research?

"Mystery Island" (1937)

Hay Simpson

1 October, 2010 at 10:22 am 6 comments


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