The set of thematic research guides for archival research concerning the First World War is part of the Cendari portal for a collective European digital archival infrastructure. The core of the Cendari portal is the creation of a directory of archives in Europe and their collections. A second service is the creation of archival research guides. In this section you can find sixteen guides concerning the First World War. These guides deal for instance with prisoners of war, the importance of diaries and personal narratives, the role of women, religion, coercion in the armies, medicine and workers’ movements. Poland and Russia are among the countries receiving particular attention. There are also nine similar guides for research on medieval history and (religious) culture.
Thematic research guides for archival research – Cendari
The research guide La Primera Guerra Mundial en los Archivos Estatales [The First World War in the State Archives] has been created by the Spanish Centro de Información Documental de Archivos in cooperation with the Archivo Histórico Nacional (AHN, Madrid), the Archivo General de la Administración (AGA, Alcalá de Henares), the Centro Documental de la Memoria Histórica (CDMH, Salamanca) and the Archivo General de Palacio in Madrid, the Spanish royal archives. During the First World War Spain remained a neutral country. The guide opens with a section on the period 1895-1914 during which Spain lost wars in the Philippines and Morocco. The second section looks at Spain’s role during the war as a neutral country, providing for example humanitarian aid. There are sections for events, institutions and journals, and for persons. In the section Fuentes documentales you are guided to selected archival series in four state archives, and there is a bibliography. This research guide can be viewed only in Spanish.
La Primera Guerra Mundial en los Archivos Estatales
The digital collection Vojaške žrtve 1. svetovne vojne na Slovenskem [Military victims of the First World War in Slovenia] is a project hosted by the Slovenian digital history platform Sistory. In this project three archives, the Arhiv Republike Slovenije [National Archives of Slovenia], the Nadškofijski arhiv Ljubljana [Archiepiscopal Archive, Ljubljana] and the Zgodovinski arhiv Ljubljana [State Archive Ljubljana] work together with thirteen museums. The core of the project is a database in which you can search using the free text field, set filters or browse the victims (Vse žrtve). Their names, first names, date of birth, date of death, location and country of residence, and their military unit are given. Currently the database contains records for some 26,000 soldiers. As for now the database can only be viewed in Slovenian, an English interface is under construction.
Vojaške žrtve 1. svetovne vojne na Slovenskem
The digital collection (Ex-)keizer Wilhelm II [(Ex-)emperor Wilhelm II] has been created by Het Utrechts Archief, the combined municipal archives of the city Utrecht and the state archives in the province Utrecht. In November 1918 the German emperor fled from the German army headquarters in Spa to the Netherlands. Initially he stayed at castle Amerongen. In 1920 he moved to the estate of Huis Doorn, now a museum. The emperor succeeded in getting a generous selection of his belongings in Germany to Huis Doorn. The Kaiser died in 1941. After the Second World War the Dutch authorities confiscated his goods. In 1975 the archival collection was transferred to Het Utrechts Archief.
The digital collection is essentially an online finding aid with digitized materials. Het Utrechts Archief offers a general introduction (in Dutch) to this collection. The collection has been divided into personal papers (stukken van persoonlijke aard), business and estate materials (stukken van zakelijke aard), materials before 1918, documentation and maps (Kaarten). Section 5.2 of the maps contains some ninety maps dealing with the First World War. You will find digitized letters, books, journals and newspapers, and various other materials, some of them from the nineteenth century. You can consult a German version of the finding aid, created in 1997 at the time the collection was microfilmed.
(Ex-)keizer Wilhelm II
La collection photographique “Marcel Chatenay” (1914-1918) [The photographic collection of Marcel Chatenay (1914-1918] has been created by the Archives de la Ville de Saumur. In 2013 and 2014 this municipal archive received two gifts with a total of 2843 stereographic photographs. Marcel Chatenay (1883-1955) had been a grocer before joining the French army in 1914 as an administration officer of the medical troops. On travel he encounters for examples both infantery and artillery units, cavalry and kitchen staff. Chatenay meets also colonial troops. In 1917 he served in the Vosges region. He took pictures in Picardy, Flanders, Verdun and in many other places. 457 stereoscopic images have been digitized, and you can view 52 images in 3 D. You can filter for specific persons, themes and locations.
The Archives de la Ville de Saumur present online two other French digitized photo albums and an American album of a special railway station and camp at Villebernier in 1918-1919.
La collection photographique “Marcel Chatenay” (1914-1918)
The digital collection Eestlased Esimeses maailmasõjas [Estonians in the First World War] is a project of the Ravhusarhiiv, the Estonian national archives in Tallinn. This crowdsourcing project aims at getting more information about the around 100,000 Estonian soldiers who served as soldiers in the Russian army during the First World War. Some 10,000 of them never returned home. The section Allikad gives an introduction to archival resources, information about the armed forces and a bibliography. Many archival records are written in Russian. You can search for the names of persons or for locations. Täpsem otsing leads you to the advanced search mode. The button Leia sõdurid kaardilt leads to an interactive map for searching soldiers and locations. The section Kasulikke viiteid contains further web links. The section KKK/Tagasiside should lead to frequently asked questions, but there is only a contact form for asking questions. The project does cover also the Second World War.The website of this project can only be viewed in Estonian.
On the blog of the Ravhuusarhiiv you can read articles about Estonia and the First World War.
Eestlased Esimeses maailmasõjas
The website 14/18: Lyon dans la guerre has been created as part of the Archives en ligne [Online Archives] of the Archives municipales de Lyon. This website brings you to six digitized collections: deliberations of the city council, soldiers who were killed in action and earned the mention Mort pour la France, postcards, war diaries, posters and the experience of workers. The section with the diaries can also be reached separately as Les carnets de Barthélémy Mermet. The collections are accompanied by a general overview of Lyon during the First World War, and dossiers with information about numerous themes from archival records and items in the archive. The collections can only be viewed in French.
14/18: Lyon dans la guerre
The digital collection L’Università di Torino nella Grande Guerra has been created by the Università degli Studi di Torino (Turin). In this digital collection you can find documents, images and collections concerning individual students and professors. The section Documenti leads you to some 700 documents. The section Collezioni helps you to finds exhibits (Mostra), books and publications under Biblioteche, photographs under Musei and archival records under the heading Archivi. There is also a bibliographical section. You can use the general search field or use the advanced search mode (Ricerca avanzata) with a possibility to browse (Sfoglia), use fields for a number of filters in a dropdown list, and filter for types of documents and collection. This digital collection can only be viewed in Italian.
L’Università di Torino nella Grande Guerra
The digital collection Les marchés de guerre 14-18 [Markets during the First World War] has been created by the French Ministry of Economic Affairs and its Centre des Archives Économiques et Financières (CAEF) at Savigny-le-Temple. On this website you can chose particular themes concerning French industries and public works (Recherche thematique) or a particular location (Recherche géographique) using an interactive map. A national commission investigated between 1933 and 1940 the workings of markets during the First World War. The section Focus brings you to four dossiers on major firms such as Peugeot and Michelin. The section Sources gives you a chronological overview of French legislation and information about themes such as taxation and war finance. You can also read an essay with background information by Béatrice Touchelay (Université Lille-3). This digital collection can only be viewed in French.
The CAEF has also created a portal site concerning the First World War and the French economy.
Les marchés de guerre 14-18
The digital collection British Soldier’s Wills is a project of the UK government in which some 280,000 soldier’s wills between 1850 and 1996 have been digitized. These wills are part of a general database for probate search in the United Kingdom. The Original wills are kept by Her Majesty’s Court and Tribunal Service (HMCTS). In the simple search mode you can search for name and year of death. The advance search mode adds the possibilty to search also for first names, the day and month of death, and regimental number. You have to register to view the digitized wills, but you can search without registration. The interface of this database is in English.
British Soldier’s Wills