• Mon. Apr 15th, 2024

North East Connected

Hopping Across The North East From Hub To Hub

Amateur historians urged to share their research online

CaptureAmateur historians can now add their research to a website that maps the impact of the First World War on people across the North East.

The Durham at War website (www.durhamatwar.org.uk), launched last year, gives the public online access to thousands of original documents, objects and fascinating real-life stories.

Now members of the public can upload their own images and documents to the site by using new log-in facilities.

Gill Parkes, principal archivist at Durham County Record Office, which runs the site, said: “We’ve already managed to tell many gripping, intriguing and moving stories on the website thanks to our fantastic team of volunteers.

“However, we know that lots of people are carrying out their own research into friends or family members who served during the First World War and had links to the county.

“We would love them to share their stories with us and visitors to Durham at War by making them available through the website.

“Creating an account and uploading content to the website involves just a few simple steps, which anyone can master.”

So far, almost 4,000 stories have been uploaded to the website, with 500 more supporting items also now online.

Much of the content has been collated and uploaded by volunteers like George and Sue Muirhead of Chester-le-Street.

The pair, who are both retired, have been involved with the site for almost a year. George has been researching concrete ships built on the River Wear in Sunderland at the end of the war, while Sue has been concentrating on County Durham women who served in the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps.

“I’ve always been interested in local history and have been coming to the record office for a couple years,” George said. “I already knew about some of the personalities around in the county during the First World War from my own research so when someone suggested I should think about working on the Durham at War site I knew it would be easy to transfer my knowledge.

“It involves a lot of online work but also the chance to get out and about taking photographs for the site. I also get to pick and choose what I’m researching.

CaptureBoth George and Sue believe the Durham at War site provides an important historical record and are keen for other people to get involved by uploading their own research.

“Without Durham at War and other sites like it, the memories of the First World War will become so distant that we will eventually forget what people went through,” George said.

Sue added: “George and I can still remember people who fought in the First World War but as time goes by, it is passing out of living memory and we need to keep it alive.

“Durham at War gives the public access to a lot of collections held by the record office and elsewhere that otherwise people would only be able to view if they visited the place where the records are stored.

“As volunteers, we can help make as much material as possible accessible to everyone.”

George added: “Anyone can do it – they just need to be patient.”

Durham County Council was awarded £475,100 by the Heritage Lottery Fund last year to set up the site, which is a partnership venture by Durham County Record Office, the council’s archaeology service and the DLI Museum and Durham Art Gallery.

You can read one of the stories George has researched via the following link: http://www.durhamatwar.org.uk/story/11504/.

Visit www.durhamatwar.org.uk to log-on. For more information about becoming a volunteer, email contactdurhamatwar@durham.gov.uk

By admin