The digital collection Testaments de guerre de poilus parisiens (1914-1918) [War wills of Parisian soldiers, 1914-1918] is a project of the École nationale de Chartes in Paris, the famous French institution for the training of archivists. This collection offers a selection of wills created by soldiers from Paris during the First World War. The 134 wills edited here are kept at the Archives nationales de France. All wills stem from soldiers who died between 1914 and 1918 with the mention Mort pour la France. The collection is accompanied by an introduction, essays on numerous aspects concerning these wills, and a bibliography. You can search for the names of deceased soldiers and for the location of their death. The collections can only be viewed in French.
The École nationale des Chartes has digitized the commemorative publication L’École des Chartes et la Guerre (1914-1918): Livre d’Or (Paris 1921).
Testaments de guerre de poilus parisiens (1914-1918)
The digital collection The private archive of the Lazic family is the fruit of support from the Endangered Archives Programme of the British Library for a project (EAP 833) at the University Library ‘Svetozar Markovic’ in Belgrad to save and digitize the fragile items in the private archive and library of the Lazic family in Belgrad. The First World War looms large in this collection, with rare law books by Geca Kon, rare Serbian periodicals, for example Serbian newspapers printed in Curfu and Thessaloniki, pamphlets, municipal decrees, archival records and books. Some 50,000 pages are being digitized. The overview of files is a simple list with the titles of digitized items; for some books you can choose the relevant part, but there is no search function.
You can follow the Endangered Archives Programme on its blog at the British Library.
The private archive of the Lazic family
The digital collection Plateforme 14-18 is an educational project created by a team from many major French cultural institutions. The core of the collection are some 3,500 letters written by eight members of the Résal family, some diaries and 300 photographs. All resources stem from this family and are still kept in the family archive.
Most of the sons of Eugène and Julie Résal served in the French army. Salem and Younès served with the artillery. Louis and Paul, too, started in an artillery regiment, but later they became pilots, Some of the Résal children were born in Algeria. The two daughters did very different things: Meriém became a professional musician, Chérifa a nurse who noted daily events in her agenda during the First World War. You can search for information using the intuitive navigation with symbols for dates, locations, peoples, a clickable map and three main themes: the fronts, men and women, and the impact of modernity. It is also possible to view the personal network of each family member. In the additional materials you can find some films from the holdings of participating institutions. The website can only be viewed in French.
The virtual exhibition The Diary of Mary Martin has been created at Trinity College, Dublin. Mary Martin was an Irish widow living in Dublin, mother of twelve children. One of them served with the British Army. The virtual exhibition shows 132 fragments from her diary in the year 1916, some letters sent to her son who went missing during service at Salonika with the Royal Dublin Fuseliers, and some photographs. The diary, now at the National Library of Ireland (MS 34,256A), contains information about Mary’s family, friends and relatives, about the Irish home front and the Easter Rising of 1916. You can read transcriptions and look at images of the diary. The diary can be searched with a free text search, browsed at will or entered for a specific date using a calendar.
The Diary of Mary Martin
The digital collection Scottish Soldiers’ Wills is part of the history portal ScotlandsPeople with access to digitized archival records. The collection contains approximately 31,000 digitized wills, kept at the National Records of Scotland in Edinburgh. 26,000 wills stem from the First World War, 4,750 wills were written during the Second World War. There are also wills dating from the Boer War and the Korean War. You can search the database after registration; one has to pay for the images of wills. It is possible to search for surnames, forenames, date of death, service number, rank, battalion, regiment, location and cause of death. There is background information about the soldiers’ wills, and also general information about using wills as a historical source.
Scottish Soldiers’ Wills
The digital collection Soldiers’ Mail: Letters home from a Yankee Doughboy 1916-1919 has been created by Richard E. Landers. The collection presents letters, notes from his diary and postcards written by sergeant Samuel E. Avery to members of his family in Boston, Massachusetts. Avery served in France with the 103rd Infantry Regiment. The series of letters starts in 1916 with his service during the Mexican Border Campaign. Each letter appears in a post on this blog. Among special subjects getting attention here is music: you can listen to a number of popular songs from the First World War. The website has also a image gallery and a useful bibliography on American soldiers and the First World War. The links in the blogroll are concerned with this subject, too, and bring you to more digital projects with First World War letters.
Soldiers’ Mail: Letters home from a Yankee Doughboy 1916-1919
The digital collection Cecil Slack: The Great War Letters contains letters by Cecil Moorhouse Slack and his then fiancée Dora Willatt. The website with these letters has been created by the East Riding of Yorkshire Council. Cecil Slack served as an officer with the East Yorkshire Regiment. Selections from these letters appeared earlier in print, but the web version gives the unabridged texts of the letters. You can also view excerpts from his diaries. The letters and diaries are in the possession of the Slack family. This web version of the letters is part of an online educational project with historical resources. The letters are accompanied by a small image gallery and teaching resources.
Cecil Slack: The Great War Letters