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Help the Project – Research Guide
The text below deals with the project’s research requirements, if research is not what you are interested in there are other ways to help, e.g. using Word or Excel skills, helping at events or manning the roving museum – contact info@hertsatwar.co.uk.
General Information
The Memorials
The Men
The Men – Basic Research Help
The Men – Advanced Research
Submitting information and research
General Information
  • Your work will be acknowledged on the website by the inclusion of your name on the Research Log and / or at appropriate locations reflecting the research undertaken or information provided.  This will be done automatically unless you clearly request that it is not.
  • If you do not wish to be acknowledged, please make that clear when supplying the results of your research.
Avoiding duplication of effort:
  1. Always check that the location and the work that you would like to do are not already in progress, by visiting the Research Log.
  2. Choose ‘bite sized’ chunks of the research that you would like to do, i.e. the work type(s) and location(s) that you would like to cover and notify jontywild@hertsatwar.co.uk who will then confirm that it has not been allocated and log out that research to you.
  3. In your own time carry out the work, keeping the Roll of Honour (ROH) Research Coordinator informed of progress and any problems with progress.

The first point of contact for matters relating to research is the Roll of Honour (ROH) Research Coordinator: Jonty Wild via jontywild@hertsatwar.co.uk.  If appropriate please supply your address or telephone number and he or another member of the team will make contact.
  • We can only accept photographs and research on a copyright free basis.
Guides and Templates:
There are several guides and templates available and it is likely that more will be produced as the need is identified.  A complete list of those currently available can be found ‘here’. 
If you need specific help or wish to suggest that a guide is provided please get in touch.
Help the Project – Research, questions and help:

Please do not struggle or guess.  If you have difficulties or questions ask, help and advice will be given. (See contacts).
Help to get started:
  • You will find general guidance here and also links to downloadable guides relating to the specific areas of research described in this section.  A complete list of those currently available can also be found ‘here’.
  • We want your help, so if the guidance provided is not clear or you need additional support to get started. (See contacts).
Your existing and other non-Herts at War Project (HAW) research:
  • Perhaps you have already written or published work on the Hertfordshire men who served.  If so we would welcome the opportunity to share some or all of that work or link to that existing work.  Please contact jontywild@hertsatwar.co.uk who can discuss the options with you.
  • We must ensure that you are comfortable with our use of your research so please read the specific.  We understand the reservations that you might have about sharing or allowing the use of your work and we will work with you to ensure that you are comfortable doing so, to our mutual benefit.  Together we can discuss any concerns you may have and consider how much of your work you are willing to share.  In return we will supply back any additional, relevant copyright free information that is gathered, for your benefit.  Please contact jontywild@hertsatwar.co.uk who can discuss the options with you.
ROH (Roll of Honour) Researcher Coordinator’s Note: As an amateur researcher and author myself*1, I would understand if you had some reservations about allowing the use of your work.  My own view is that my efforts have been made to ensure that eventually the men’s stories are available to as many people as possible and therefore I will be allowing the full, relevant text from our book,*1 and any none copyright photographs to be published on the HAW project’s website.  However, our book was published in 2010 and if you are part way through a similar process, then you may prefer that a more limited selection of what you have is made available - that could help us and serve to publicise your work.
*1 Joint author of The Pride of Pirton (www.pirton.org.uk/prideofpirton) - the other members of the team being Tony French and Chris Ryan.
The Memorials
Confirmation of whether some memorials exist or not:
  • This simply requires a little detective work; perhaps visiting to a church, village or town to investigate and perhaps asking locals for information and reporting the following back:
    • Yes or no to a memorials existence?
    • Its location, so that others can find it?
    • Does it list names of men that died?
    • Does it list names of men who survived?
  • Ideally this could be done, and the photographs required, taken at the same time (see photographs) and / or a transcription made (see Transcribing the names), but if necessary others will complete those tasks.
Memorials not yet listed by the HAW project:
  • If our records are not complete and you know of any missing memorials, even if they duplicate names on others, please let us know, giving any information you have, especially its location. (See contacts).

The Men
New names:

  • Obviously we want to know of any new names to add, so please send them to us, letting us know how you found them, what you believe their connection to Hertfordshire is and providing any other information that you have,.
  • Memorials which are not yet known to the HAW project may list different or additional names.  They may exist as additional memorials to the usual town or village memorials, and are often found in churches, schools, village halls, places of work such as factories, banks and occasionally at some street locations, usually in bigger conurbations (e.g. there are quite a few in St Albans).  As an example in the village of Pirton in addition to the village memorial there are others that are less well known.  They are in the church, chapel, school and a home made memorial originally used by the Pirton British Legion branch.

Researching names:

Sometimes a man can be clearly identified, but care need to be exercised because it is relatively easy to make mistakes.  Some simple examples are given below, but you should read the more comprehensive guide – download guide
For a man named as E Bretland on a memorial the following could be the case when searching the records, e.g.:

  • Sometimes a man can be clearly identified, in the case of E Bretland if the only man found is Edward Bretland then we can assume that we have identified the right and a unique man, but in other cases we often need more information to be sure.
  • The search could perhaps produce four men, e.g.: E Bretland, ES Bretland, Edward Bretland and Ernest Bretland.  If all we know is that he is E Bretland then ‘our’ man could be any one of the four.
  • If the memorial had named the man as Edward Bretland, then possibilities would have been reduced from four to three, i.e. E Bretland, ES Bretland, Edward Bretland, but not Ernest.
Note: It is usually better to search for E Bretland even if his name is known to be Edward.
  • Also be aware of miss-spelling or changes in names. Particularly surnames, e.g.:
    • Bretland could be miss-spelt as Britland, so it is worth trying variations.
    • Spellings may change (especially in the census) as people became more literate or depending on who completed the original records, e.g. members of the same direct family could be recorded as Shepherd, Shephard, Sheppard or Shepard etc.
Note: As a result you may need to try variations before being certain that a man is identified.
The Men – Basic Research Help

For locations with large numbers of names we can arrange for the research work to be split to reduce the workload.

Transcribing the names:
  • We need people to transcribe the names and other information appearing on the memorials, either from photographs taken by others, by yourself or direct from the memorial.
Commonwealth War Grave Commission’s (CWGC) information:
  • We need people to obtain or check the basic information available using the Commonwealth War Grave Commission’s (CWGC) – this requires Internet access:
    • Guide to checking work already undertaken – download guide.
    • Guide to researching the names on a memorial from scratch – download guide.
Soldiers Died in the Great War:
  • We need people to add the additional basic information from the Soldiers Died in the Great War database – download guide.  This requires either:
    • access to a Soldiers Died in the Great War database on DVD – unfortunately these are expensive, but under certain circumstances it may be possible to borrow a copy, or
    • membership of a genealogy website such as findmypast.co.uk.
The Men – Advanced Research
  • This is definitely detective work and more difficult to describe as there are potentially many different sorts of records that could be used.  First perhaps it is better to describe the aim of this research and that is one or more of the following.:
    • To identify the right man where the basic records reveal no man for a name or when there are multiple possibilities.
    • To add information about a man’s pre-war life, such as information about his home, family, schooling, his wife and children, his work, or the man’s war service etc.
  • Many records that could be used, some of which could be available locally or via libraries or perhaps could be made available for loan while undertaking research, e.g. some Hertfordshire census records on CD/DVD.  Alternatively they are available if you are a member of a genealogy website such as www.ancestry.co.uk or www.findmypast.co.uk.  The sort of records that could be used include:
    • Parish magazines and newsletters of the time.
    • Parish council records – these usually relate to the identification of names that were later to appear on a memorial.
    • Local papers of the time such as the Hertfordshire Express and the North Hertfordshire Mail etc.
    • Baptism, census, marriage, school admission records and other official records.
    • The 1918 Absent Voters List (some copies are held by Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies (HALS) in Hertford).
    • The British Army World War One Service Records – these may be available to you if you are a member of a genealogy website such as www.ancestry.co.uk or www.findmypast.co.uk.  They can also be seen at the National Archives in Kew (free) or on their website (requires payment).
    • Battalion/Regimental War Diaries - they can occasionally be found for free on the internet, but it is often necessary to visit a regimental museum or use the facilities that are offered by the National Archives in Kew (free) or on their website (requires payment).
Submitting information and research
  • Where there are artefacts which relate directly to the men we would welcome the opportunity of obtaining copies or photographs of the items, so please let us know of their existence, e.g. medals, death plaques, personal objects, etc. (See contacts).
Information on individual:
  • We will accept the information in any way that is convenient to you, e.g. email, letter, photocopy or loaned copy.  It may even be possible to arrange to visit you to scan of photograph the item.  Providing it is related to a Hertfordshire man it will always be of interest, no matter how insignificant it might appear, so please get in touch. (See contacts).
  • If you wish to submit an individual’s profile, see ‘Submitting a individual’s profile or download the guide and template.  (Download guides and templates).
  • Photographs are best submitted by email in good quality, digital form (Download guide), if that presents any difficulty please get in touch. (See contacts).
Photographs of the men*1:
  • Obviously we would like to put faces to the men.  Generally these photographs come from family records or local newspapers, but perhaps there are other sources such as regimental museums etc. They do not have to be of the man in uniform, although that would be preferable when available.  If photographs are only available as a ‘hardcopy’, please get in touch and we will discuss how we may be able to obtain a copy with any risk to the original.
  • Photographs of the men’s headstones or memorials*1, either in the UK or, and much more likely, in France, Belgium or further afield.  So if you are in the UK or likely to be holidaying near to a WW1 cemetery or memorial abroad, why not take some details with you and spend a little time taking a few photographs for the project?

Photographs of the memorials and their settings

  • We need good photographs*1 of each memorial, including:
    • the whole memorial.
    • a setting shot showing the whole memorial and its setting.
    • photographs of the names appearing – sufficient shots and of high enough quality for the names to be read on computer screen to enable checking, transcription and researching.
    • UK headstones.

*1 We can only accept the photographs that are copyright free, so they must only be provided on that basis.

Memorial research:
Submitting an individual’s profile:
  • The information is best submitted using a Word template (Download guides and templates).  Do not worry too much about the formatting of the template as we can tidy it up before uploading it to the website.  If using the template is not possible or you have difficulties, the information requested on the template or any part of it can be submitted ain any way convenient to you, e.g.:
    • Word / Email – download guide.
    • Paper records printed, typed or hand written.
  • If an individual’s identity in ambiguous, i.e. there are multiple possible men, then we would like to receive all the possible names.  Information to help is available within the guide mentioned above and there is a separate template for this (Download guides and templates).
Submitting a man’s story:
  • If your have a family stories or have written a biography of an individual then we would love to receive it*1.  Depending on whether it is for a man who died or for a survivor and whether it is aimple text or has been formatted and contains photographs etc, there are various ways of submitting it:
*1 We can only accept information that is copyright free or that we have your permission to use, so it must be provided on that basis.
Submitting research – when to do it:
  • Once elements of work have been completed they can be submitted by email on an individual by individual or memorial by memorial basis (see contacts).  We would prefer the former because the sooner it goes on to the website the sooner people can use it!  The following is suggested:
    • Where no additional information is being attached, e.g. photographs, submit on an individual by individual or memorial by memorial basis.
    • If photographs of the memorial are being sent, submit on a memorial by memorial basis.
    • If photographs relating to an individual or an individual’s artefacts or copies of an individual’s documents are being sent, submit on a individual by individual basis and, if relevant, when submitting an individual’s profile (see Submitting an individual’s profile).
    • If you have research already written or published on any of the Hertfordshire men who served.  If so we would welcome the opportunity to share some or all of that work or link to that work.  Please read ‘Your existing and other non-Herts at War Project (HAW) research' above and make contact with jontywild@hertsatwar.co.uk who can discuss the options with you.

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