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Help to Investigate WWI Ancestors

September 23rd 2014

Help to Investigate WWI Ancestors

With nation-wide commemorations of the outbreak of World War One in this centenary year, interest in family connections to the Great War is growing.  Staff at Northumberland Archives based at Woodhorn, have just launched a brand new guide to help would-be historians investigate and uncover wartime exploits of service personnel.

The new resource pack contains lots of useful information and tips to help researchers understand army formations and ranks. It also has guidance to identify the rank and regiment of servicemen from old photographs. Images of old cap badges, especially those from the North East, together with military insignia, a glossary of military abbreviations and decorations all help to pinpoint the regiment, rank and record of WWI servicemen.

Staff have included an example research project in the pack to illustrate the kind of information that can be uncovered with a little work and great sources of further information and websites.

Sue Wood, Head of Collections at Woodhorn thinks that this will be a really useful tool for amateur historians. “Many people have an old photograph tucked away but know very little about their family member’s role in the Great War. This pack will help them to fill in the gaps, from identifying which regiment they served with and at what level, to the battles they fought and medals they won. Using the sources indicated, researchers will also be able to investigate newspaper reports and diaries, and ultimately war graves and memorials.”

For anyone who would like to know more about a WWI family member but doesn’t have the time to explore the records for themselves, the archives can also provide a research service.

Full details of the service and the new packs (£7.50 + postage) can be obtained from Woodhorn or online through the website: