Earlier in the year I posted about the initial announcement of Lives of the Great War. A few weeks ago they announced that the public launch will be at Who Do You Think You Are? Live 2014 at London Olympia, which starts on 20 February. This will be a major centrepiece of the centenary commemorations, and will provide a lasting memorial to all those who served. It will take some thought to work out how to incorporate this project into Lives, though hopefully it will actually speed up production of the individual stories, which so far has been more time consuming than I had anticipated. The site (from initial reports) is designed to make it easier to pull disparate resources together and produce timelines for life events, exactly what I’ve been trying to do with the individual pages here, but in a far more automated way. It will also allow material such as photographs, and digitised letters and diaries to be uploaded and attached to the records. For another take on how important this project will be, see Steve Clifford’s post on his Doing our Bit blog.
In addition to this forthcoming development, the past few weeks have seen a couple of other new resources and projects which should make life easier for Halfmuffled. Firstly Surrey electoral registers held by Surrey History Centre have been digitised and are now available on Ancestry. See a news release here from Surrey and a bit more information on records that are or will soon be going online (this includes tantalising information on school records which will be digitised soon, and some military sources). The Ancestry search page is here. A quick look through the electoral registers shows most of the men I’ve covered so far (or close relatives) make an appearance – coupled with the earlier appearance of London electoral registers this should give pretty full coverage of the places included in the Surrey roll of honour. So far the Surrey rolls only cover from 1918-1945, pre-war records (up to 1915, rolls were not produced in 1916 or 1917 due to the war) should follow in the future. For the moment, I’ll only incorporate the new source into new pages, rather than updating the ones I’ve already done. Ancestry have also just launched a set of records relating to rate payments in London which may also help with some of the places on the roll. The Surrey History Centre have also announced their own First World War projects some of which will also link into Lives, and Halfmuffled will also be feeding into these where relevant.