Researching and commemorating First World War soldiers is what Doing Our Bit is all about and so yesterday I snapped up a copy of Tracing Your WW1 Military Ancestors from the publishers of Family Chronicle and Internet Genealogy. This 84-page magazine includes 15 articles on tracing your WW1 military ancestors in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain, United States, Italy and Austria.
I’ve yet to read it cover to cover but I’ve read most of the articles and have found them both interesting and informative. There is an emphasis on providing links to online resources and many tips on unearthing more information about your soldier, sailor, airman or nurse. I’m quite familiar with Canadian records but Glenn Wright’s five articles on Canadian resources provide an excellent overview of everything that is available both offline and online. He also provided some interesting insights on what Library & Archives Canada is planning to digitize in the very near future.
Most of the soldiers I’m researching are from Commonwealth forces however there a few who served in the American Expeditionary Force. The magazine includes seven articles on researching US soldiers including “Cemetery Records for Americans in the Great War”, a handy resource when you’re unable to turn to the CWGC for help.
I have one additional tip for uncovering more about your First World War military ancestors: publish your research online. Don’t lose sight of the fact that there are hundreds of thousands of photos, letters and stories held in private hands and not in archives. A Google search might uncover a reference to your soldier or nurse in a blog article or forum discussion but more importantly someone with a letter or photo might Google your ancestor’s name or unit and discover your research and a means of contacting you. A wonderful example of this was when Jonathan Capek, an editor working on an unpublished history of the 1st Lincolnshire Regiment, related this amazing first-hand account of my ancestor’s harrowing experience on the morning of November 1, 1914.
Tracing Your WW1 Military Ancestors is well worth it’s $9.95 price tag and it can be found on newsstands at Chapters in Canada and at Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million in the USA. It is also available for purchase online in both paper and PDF format.