Saturday, 17 October 2015

Family History Feast 2015 - World War I

The papers presented at the 2015 Family History Feast held at the State Library of Victoria on Monday 10 August are now available to view on the family history section of the State Library website. The theme of the seminar was World War I History.

Papers include:
Bringing the War home: repatriation records and the family historian - the Don Grant lecture by Bruce Scates
Stephen Kafkarisos on the Library's WWI collection
David Holloway on the 4th Light Horse Regiment
Daniel Wilksch on soldier settlement in Victoria
Grace Baliviera on WWI records at the National Archives of Australia
Kirsty Harris on finding information about Australian nurses in WWI

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Writing the War: personal stories from World War I

Writing the War is a State Library of Victoria and Public Libraries Victoria Network touring exhibition on display in the All Nations Foyer at the Box Hill Town Hall from 3 October to 11 November 2015.
The exhibition consists of a series of panels tracing seven personal stories of the wartime accounts of a nurse, bank clerk, farmer, sports master, journalist, artist and activist. These are only a small selection of stories that can be located in the archive of material relating to World War I in the State Library collection.
Australians serving during WWI shared their experiences through letters, diaries and photographs sent to loved ones and this material has been used to tell the stories.
The exhibition will tour Victoria from 2015 until 1917 and will be hosted by twelve library services. Whitehorse Manningham Libraries is the current host of this exhibition and a number of activities have been arranged by the library in conjunction with the exhibition.
The exhibition can also be viewed in Palmer Hall at the State Library of Victoria until end of March 2016.
A series of videos have been made in conjunction with the display panels and can be located on the State Library of Victoria website as well as viewed at the exhibition.
The seven people highlighted in the exhibition are:
George Auchterlonie
Percival Langford
Sir Keith Murdoch
Vida Goldstein
Jessie Traill
Alice Kitchen
Eric Chinner

Australia Calls exhibition

The theme for Whitehorse Heritage Week for 2015 was Australia Calls, looking at the way World War I affected those living in the Shire of Nunawading.
An exhibition, Australia Calls, was held at the Box Hill Art Space from 14 September until 14 October. It was supported by the Federal Government through the office of Veterans Affairs under the ANZAC Centenary Local Grants Program. Whitehorse City Council received assistance to mount these initiatives through both Chisholm and Deakin electorates.
The exhibition included a collection of diaries, photographs, newspaper extracts, poetry, artefacts and memorabilia conveying accounts of those who fought abroad and those who contributed to the war effort back home in Australia.
Display boards recounted the stories of some of the soldiers from the area who fought overseas plus memories of the war of some of the current residents. There were also stories of how the local community participated in support of the war effort as well as debates about Australia's participation in the war.
According to Andrew Lemon, author of the book, Box Hill, - 
'About one in twelve of the population of the Shire of Nunawading enlisted for active service in the war of 1914-1918. Of these, one in six were killed.'
World War I therefore had a significant impact on the Shire of Nunawading (now the City of Whitehorse).
The exhibition panels were designed by Way Back When, consulting historians, with much of the initial preparation and general organisation undertaken by Julie Jones, Heritage Programs, Whitehorse Council.
Many local residents and organisations contributed to the exhibition.
A large scale photographic image of the Shire of Nunawading Honor Roll was on display in the exhibition space and also in the foyer of the City of Whitehorse council offices.

This project was a great contribution not only to Whitehorse Heritage Week but also to the national commemoration of the Anzac Centenary.

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Exploring family military history (part 2)

This guide provides a listing of some of the online resources for researching military history in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries . It was prepared for the session, Exploring Family Military History, at Nunawading Library. See part one of this guide for a select list of organisations with resources.

Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815) 
The National Archives has a guide - Napoleonic Wars - providing a brief outline of resources. 
Other guides that may be useful include British army soldiers up to 1913British army officers up to 1913, British army officers up to 1913: further research, and British army operations up to 1913. Check the general listing for the heading Military and Maritime for other guides that may be useful.
The National Archives also have an online exhibition - Nelson, Trafalgar and those who served. This site includes a database of British involved in the Battle of Trafalgar.
BBC History website has a series of timelines providing guides to researching military family history for a series of battles.
General search on the Internet for names of battles, key figures, names of army and other military units that took part, ships etc.
See also the link for Napoleonic Wars in this blog for posts about some of the monuments erected to commemorate battles and people who served during this period.

Crimean War (1853-1856)
The National Archives (UK) guides are useful. Crimean War records would be a good starting point.
Also check some of the other guides mentioned in the Napoleonic Wars entry above.
The British Battles online exhibition, Crimean War, provides background information.
Searching the Internet provides a number of articles on the Crimean War including  Crimean War and Australian involvement.
This blog contains a number of posts on the Crimean War including some research I did to locate information on a family member who served in the British Army in Crimea.

Sudan (1855)
Sudan (New South Wales Contingent) March to June 1855 is an article on the Australian War Memorial website. Another article is Researching Australian military service: Sudan

Indian Mutiny (1857
The National Archives (UK) has a research guide on Indian Army personnel. Most of the records are held at the British Library. India Office Family History Search and Families in British India are the main resources for information about specific British people in India.
My Family Connections blog has a post on researching family history information relating to the Raj in India as well as a post on one event during the Indian Mutiny

Boer War (1899-1902) 
The National Archives (UK) has a guide Boer War records. Also check some of the other guides mentioned in the Napoleonic Wars entry above.
National Archives of Australia provides information about service records for those who served during the Boer War. As Australia did not exist as a federated country at the beginning of the war information is also provided about the records of contingents from the different states who participated. The Boer War: Australians and the war in South Africa by Craig Wilcox is a useful publication available on the National Archives website.
On Australian War Memorial website - Australia and the Boer War - and Researching Australian Military Service South African War are two useful articles.
There are a number of posts on this blog relating to research undertaken to discover stories about family members who served during the Boer War.

Boxer Rebellion (1900-1901)
China (Boxer Rebellion) is an article on the Australian War Memorial website.

World War I (1914-1918) 
There are lots of resources to assist with World War I family history research.
The Australian War Memorial has articles and research guides starting with First World War 1914-1918. You can search embarkation rolls, nominal rolls, commemorative roll, roll of honour, plus Red Cross files via the Search for a Person page. Use the War history page to access digitised copies of publications such as official histories and unit war diaries.
The National Archives of Australia website has a Name Search in the Record Search where you can search for information about those who served during the First World War. Choose World War I in the Category of records box. However digitised copies of the First World War service records of Australian and New Zealand service personnel can be accessed on the Discovering Anzacs website. Repatriation records for some soldiers are gradually being added.
The AIF Project database provides summary information for all those serving during World War I.
A number of digital books can be downloaded from the Department of Veterans Affairs website.
Investigate the Military history and publications link on the Department of Veterans Affairs website.
The 100 Years of Anzac website provides a range of material relating to the story of Australia's military history.
The National Archives (UK) has a search guide First World War. Also check the related research guides. The online exhibition provides background information. Some British service records can be accessed via the Discovery site while others can be accessed via Ancestry.com.
The Long, Long Trail website provides information about the British Army during the First World War.
The State Library of Victoria is making available digital copies of World War I unit histories. Use the World War I label in this blog for posts relating to information about researching people and events in this war.

World War II (1939-1945)
The Australian War Memorial has articles and research guides starting with Second World War - 1939-1945. You can search commemorative roll, roll of honour, honours and awards plus World War II POW files via the Search for a Person page. Use the War history page to access digitised copies of publications such as official histories and unit war diaries.
The National Archives of Australia website has a Name Search in the Record Search where you can search for information about those who served during the Second World War. Choose World War II in the Category of records box. Records for an individual can be ordered.
The World War II Nominal Roll can be accessed on the Department of Veterans Affairs website in the Commemorations, memorials and war graves section.
A number of digital books can be downloaded from the Department of Veterans Affairs website.
Investigate the Military history and publications link on the Department of Veterans Affairs website. 
The 100 Years of Anzac website provides a range of material relating to the story of Australia's military history.
Imperial War Museums has a series of articles on the Cold War which occurred immediately at the end of World War II.
National Archives (UK) has a search guide Second World War. Also check the related research guides. 
For Second World War British service records after 1920 visit the Veterans UK website. For an interactive history of the war use this link.
Use the World War II label in this blog for posts relating to information about researching people and events in this war.

Korean War (1950-1953) 
The War history section of the Australian War Memorial website includes an article on Korean War.
Nominal Roll of the Korean War can be accessed on the Department of Veterans Affairs website in the Commemorations, memorials and war graves section.
The Department of Veterans Affairs also has a History section that includes Australia's involvement in the Korean War.
National Archives (UK) has an online exhibition providing background information on the Korean War.
Imperial War Museums website includes an article - A Short History of the Korean War

Malayan Emergency (1948-1960) 
The War history section of the Australian War Memorial website includes an article on the Malayan Emergency.

Vietnam War (1955-1975) 
The War history section of the Australian War Memorial website includes an article on the Vietnam War.
Vietnam Veterans Nominal Roll can be accessed on the Department of Veterans Affairs website in the Commemorations, memorials and war graves section.
The Department of Veterans Affairs also has a History section that includes Australia and the Vietnam War.

Gulf War (1990-1991)
The War history section of the Australian War Memorial website includes an article on the First Gulf War.
The Preliminary Gulf War Nominal Roll can be accessed on the Department of Veterans Affairs website in the Commemorations, memorials and war graves section.

Case studies used in talk
The posts for the Case Studies (Ken Moses and Norman McCallum Smith) referred to in the Exploring Family Military History talk can be found using this link. The posts referring to Clive Condor Weston are also available on this blog.

Other resources
There are many books written on all of these battles. Some can be found in public libraries, otherwise explore the collections in major research libraries such as the State Library of Victoria.

Don't forget to investigate articles in newspapers published at the time of the battles remembering, especially in the nineteenth century, that  articles often appeared several months after the event.

Exploring family military history

Organisations and resources that may be useful when exploring family military history. This guide was prepared for a talk at Nunawading Library on Exploring Family Military History in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. See part two of this guide for a select list of battles and wars with resources.

Archives
National Archives of Australia (www.naa.gov.au)
The National Archives of Australia holds Army, Navy and Air Force service records since Federation, which include service during World War I and World War II. Records available in the National Archives of Australia can be found using Record Search, then selecting Name Search. Choose the category of record from the drop down list.

World War I records from National Archives of Australia and Archives New Zealand can also be located via the website Discovering Anzacs - http://discoveringanzacs.naa.gov.au

National Archives (UK) (www.nationalarchives.gov.uk)
The National Archives (UK) holds a thousand years of records. Discovery, the catalogue of the National Archives, holds more than 32 million descriptions of records held by the National Archives and more than 2,500 archives across the country. Over 9 million records are available for download.

Discovery (National Archives UK) is also available free via the State Library of Victoria website (www.slv.vic.gov.au) if you are a library member.

The National Archives(UK) also has a large number of useful research guides. Under the heading, Military and Maritime, you will find 136 guides. Other useful headings are World War I and World War II.

Each Australian state has an archive.
For Victoria it is the Public Record Office of Victoria (www.prov.vic.gov.au). This archive has recently made available records relating to soldier settlement in Victoria after World War I – Battle to Farm - http://soldiersettlement.prov.vic.gov.au.

State Records NSW (www.records.nsw.gov.au) is the state archive for NSW. They also have a soldier settlement project – A Land Fit for Heroes? - http://soldiersettlement.records.nsw.gov.au

All the above resources have guides and finding aids plus online indexes. Some also have online exhibitions and / or articles providing useful background information. They also all have sections specifically for family history.

 War memorials and museums
Australian War Memorial - (www.awm.gov.au)
The War History section of this website provides information on the military and Australia since Colonial times. The website also has links to digitised publications including unit diaries and official histories.
The People section allows researchers to locate information on Nominal Rolls and other lists held by the Australian War Memorial and other institutions.

Imperial War Museums (UK) - (www.iwm.org.uk)
Imperial War Museums’ collections cover all aspects of twentieth and twenty-first century conflict involving Britain, the Commonwealth and other former empire countries. For information about individuals use National Archives (UK).
The War and Conflict section includes a variety of useful articles.

Government departments
Department of Veterans Affairs – (www.dva.gov.au)
Commemorations, Memorials and War Graves is the section to use especially for locating Nominal Rolls for World War II, Korean War, Vietnam Veterans Nominal Roll and Gulf War Nominal Roll.
Veterans UK has British service records after 1920 - www.gov.uk/get-copy-military-service-records.

Libraries 
State library of Victoria (www.slv.vic.gov.au)
Search & Discover is the menu tab to use together with Explore Our Collections by theme to locate a section on War, a guide to the extensive collection of books on military history held by the library. There is also a project to digitise World War I unit histories held in the collection. The section, British Colonial History, provides a guide to some of the collection items relating to this topic.

Newspapers
Newspapers are a valuable resource for accounts of battles and, also sometimes, individuals plus the effects of war on a community.
Trove – http://trove.nla.gov.au is the resource to use for Australian newspapers.
Many libraries also subscribe to databases of historic newspapers. For example for British newspapers check Historic e-newspapers in the e-library section on the Whitehorse Manningham Libraries' website – www.wml.vic.gov.au. Check the websites for other libraries to check their digital collections.

Databases
Ancestry.com - www.ancestry.com.au
Find My Past - http://findmypast.com 
These provide access to a range of records, including some military records, for family history research. Most libraries allow their members to search these databases for no charge.
Forces War Records - www.forces-war-records.co.uk
Another subscription database but short term subscriptions are available. The general information made freely available on this website may also be worth investigating.

Photographs
War photographs can be located on many of the websites including Trove, and most of the institutions mentioned.

Websites
Check websites for information about specific battles, about military units, uniforms, medals etc.. Also look for photographs and maps online.
See the list of websites and blogs available on this blog for a selection of useful websites.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Herbert and Harold Waddell and the Boer War

Recently when undertaking research for another project I found references to the  involvement of members of the Waddell family from Singleton, New South Wales, in the Boer War.

Both Herbert William Waddell and Harold Henry Waddell were the grandsons of William Waddell who brought his family from Scotland to Australia in 1839. Herbert's father, Daniel Munro Waddell, was born in New South Wales in 1843 while his brother, William, Harold's father, was born in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1836. Herbert was born in 1873 and Harold was born in 1876. Both families lived in Patrick Plains (Singleton).

When searching in Trove for information regarding the Waddell family I found an article containing a copy of a letter, written by Harold, published in the Singleton Argus 6 February 1900 recounting experiences in South Africa. The letter was written on 2 January 1900 from Rendsburg and recounts an encounter against the Boers where a number of the horses were killed or wounded but only three of the one hundred Australian and one hundred English involved in the incident were wounded. The letter ends with the words "It is wonderful how our men escape".

The Australian War Memorial provides a useful overview article on Australia and the Boer War (1899-1902).

 Harold was a member of the New South Wales Lancers while Herbert was a member of the New South Wales Citizen Bushmen. Information about these and other units can be found on the Australian War Memorial website in the War History section by selecting Units then name of the war or conflict - eg  South Africa 1899-1902 (Boer War).

Always check the links in the side bar. For example the Heraldry link in the New South Lancers page includes images of uniforms and medals for that unit.
Another useful Boer War website is Australian Boer War Memorial website of the National Australian Boer War Memorial Association.

The Australian War Memorial in their People section allows the searching for names of Australians who served during various wars and conflicts.

Searching the nominal rolls for the name Waddell and selecting South Africa 1899-1902 in the drop down list provides four names including the names of the two cousins.
Summary information is provided along with links to any digitised records.
Herbert Waddell was killed at Piennaar's River on 22 September 1900. A search in the Roll of Honor provides similar information and, in this case, a photograph of Herbert (photographs are not available for all records).
Trove provides additional information about Herbert William Waddell. The Australian Town and Country Journal 17 February 1900 contains an article listing the men from the Bushmen's Contingent about to leave for South Africa.

The Sydney Morning Herald for Tuesday 2 October 1900 reports the death of Herbert Waddell in South Africa on the previous Thursday. The Singleton Argus for the same date provided additional detail:
Word was received yesterday that Private Herbert Waddell, of Singleton, a member of the Bushmen's Contingent, was killed in a battle at Pienaars River. The deceased, who was a son of Mr D. R. Waddell, of Sedgfield, was a native of this district, and is the first Singletonian to lose his life at the front. Hitherto our local men have been attended with marvellous luck, but it has now come to this unfortunate young fellow's lot to lose his life for Queen and country, and he now fills a soldier's grave in South Africa. The family will be accorded the sympathies of every resident of the district in their sad bereavement.
A number of other newspapers also carried the news of the death of Herbert William Waddell and the effect of his death on the local community. The final intimation of the death of Herbert William Waddell was received by his father from Captain Eckford the previous day according to the Evening News 8 May 1901.
The Evening News 14 April 1901 reported on plans to build a memorial in the memory of Trooper Waddell.
Memorial in Burdekin Park
Unfortunately the erection and the unveiling of the memorial caused much controversy over the following years. Money for the project was collected by public subscription.  Trove contains a series of articles about the delay in erecting the memorial in memory of Trooper Waddell. The memorial was finally erected on 27 September 1903, three years after his death. The Singleton Argus 29 September 1903 provides a scathing article on the events leading up to the unveiling of the monument.

The Register of War Memorials in New South Wales website provides photos and details of the memorial. Additional information about the memorial is available on Dossier 48 website and also Singleton - Boer War and Herbert Waddell on Terry Callaghan's history & genealogy website.

The money left over from the public subscription to erect the monument was used to unveil a memorial tablet in St Andrew's Presbyterian Church (now Singleton Uniting Church) on 24 May 1903 (Singleton Argus 26 May 1903).

Harold Waddell's association with the Lancers did not end when he returned home from the Boer War as he remained a member of the Singleton section of the Hunter River Lancers (4th Australian Light Horse). An article in the Singleton Argus 13 December 1904 mentioned that he was to be a lieutenant (actually 2nd lieutenant). Another article in the Musswellbrook Chonicle 14 March 1906 announced his promotion to lieutenant. The Desert Column website lists him as being a captain on 21 January 1908.

Anzac Live

One of the organisations I 'Like' on Facebook is National Archives of Australia. This evening there was a post on my Facebook newsfeed about Anzac Live - 'The lives and experiences of ‪#‎WW1‬ soldiers and nurses brought to life using social media http://socsi.in/wFvta '.
Anzac Live is a collection of stories of the experiences of real people who served during World War I. The posts are based on diary entries and provide a day by day account of activities, thoughts, fears and hopes. Social media - Facebook and Twitter - is used to tell the stories. There are nine individual stories to be followed using Facebook plus the Anzac Live Facebook page providing the 'big-picture perspective on the conflict'.
I had a look at the Alice Ross-King page which follows Alice's story. The story begins in 1891 when Alice was born in Ballarat. The next post provides a little family background when the family moved to Perth in 1895 and then Alice and her mother returned to Melbourne. There are two posts about the pre-war nursing experience of Alice (1903 and 1911) before the story of Alice's involvement in the First World War commences when she enlisted as a staff army nurse on 5 November 1914. The latest post is dated 27 August 1915.
I look forward to following Alice's story.

A number of other online resources provide information about Alice Ross-King:
  • Documents relating to Alice's war experience can be found on Discovering Anzacs.
  • The Australian War Memorial has an article about Major Alice Ross-King.
  • The transcript of the diaries of Alice Ross-King can also be found on the Australian War Memorial website.
  • The Australian Dictionary of Biography also contains an article about Alice.

The other participants in the Anzac Live project that you can follow are Charles Laseron, Bert Reynolds, John Monash, Archie Barwick, Ellis Silas, Arthur Adams, Charles Suckling and Hector Brewer.