In Search of Military Ancestors – Military Archives and Remembrance Projects

These websites are actively remembering the efforts and recording the stories of military personnel involved in the conflicts of the 20th century. If your ancestor did not participate in the project you may find someone who served along side and learn something about their experiences during active service.


Captive Memories is a website that is home to an oral history project involving the 50,000 British servicemen who became Far East Prisoners of War in the Second World War. The dates they cover are December 1941 through March 1942. This is a database that you can search for interviews that were done of 62 FEPOWs. There are sections that provide links and other information.

There is the First World War Poetry Digital Archive which consists of collections of major poets of the time period, multimedia artifacts from the Imperial War Museum and an archive of over 6,500 items which were contributed to the project by the general public.

The Great War Archive not only has items relating to England but also some from Germany. Here you can find links to the Great War Archive Flickr Group, Europeana and Deutsche Nationalbibliothek.

The Imperial War Museum is a wealth of information for anyone doing research into the British military.

The Imperial War Museum has a Sound Archive that covers a broad range of experiences from the Boer War through the two World Wars and more modern conflicts. The recordings themselves are not available online but the catalogue will give you an idea of what is available at the Imperial War Museum.

There is a website in England dedicated to British Military Nurses and it provides information and links to help you with your research. She also has a blog called “This Intrepid Band” where she provides more information.


Dominion Institute and Canadian Heritage have a website called “The Memory Project” whose aim is to “explore over 90 years of military oral history, with firsthand accounts from the First World War through to the present day conflict in Afghanistan.” The website states that the stories were collected between 2003 and 2006. They have just received funding to start the Memory Project: Stories of the Korean War.

The Canadian Military Heritage Project provides links to websites to help with your research and it covers many different conflicts through the ages

United States

The Library of Congress in the United States has a similar project entitled “Experiencing War” from the Veterans History Project. There is an alphabetical listing of the participants.

Have you come across other websites that provide similar information? If so please leave a comment below.

©2011 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

Cincinnati Panorama of 1848

Patricia M. Van Skaik, Manager, History and Genealogy Department, Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, was the keynote speaker at the Ontario Library Association Pre-Conference for the Ontario Genealogical Society Conference in 2010.

Her keynote address was called “Genealogy Data Buried in a Photograph: How One Library Brought Hidden Resources to Life.” The description of the lecture was “In 1848, Charles Fontayne and William Porter captured the earliest photographic representation of a city in North America. When 21st century technology was applied to the photograph, it revealed slices of life previously invisible to the naked eye. In addition, the Panorama links to a treasure of genealogical resources and has filled in research gaps for many family historians.”

It was very interesting to hear how they discovered the secrets hiding within the panorama. She left you wanting to learn more about what could be found in the panorama.

The Cincinnati Panorama of 1848 is now available to view online. When you click to explore the panorama you are taken to a section of the daguerreotype. If you click on Points of Interest you have several choices. Choose the point of interest you want to investigate further and you get a close up of the image.

One image has a point of interest called “Housework (Columbia Street between Ludlow and Lawrence Streets)” which shows laundry hanging on a makeshift clothes line and on the railings of the porch.

A point of interest on another image shows “Man with cart and a horse in the river (near Kentucky Shore).”

It would be nice if they had a transcript of Patricia’s keynote address to go along with this virtual library display.

If you have ancestors who lived in Cincinnati in 1848 this is a wonderful treasure to explore.

©2011 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

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