03 October 2013
As the nights draw in, and the air takes on its autumn shrouds, it’s coming to that time of year when once again our soldie
As the nights draw in, and the air takes on its autumn shrouds, it’s coming to that time of year when once again our soldier ancestors come particularly to mind. You may already have traced your (great) grandfathers’ medal index cards, and perhaps found their service records too, should the papers have been lucky enough to have survived the infamous World War II bombing raid. Perhaps you’ve also tracked down the relevant war diaries at The National Archives to see what their units were up to. But what else can you find?
This issue we chatted to historical military mapping expert, Dr Peter Chasseaud, about trench maps and how they can help our family history research. ‘It’s vital to study the map and the war diary together,’ explained Peter - the diary giving the details of the activities occurring at a certain date, and the map showing you the actual lie of the land. Using the map references in the diaries you can precisely pinpoint the place where an event took place on a trench map.
You may be able to find the war diary you need, digitised as part of The National Archives’ digital microfilm project at discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk. And while the most comprehensive collection of First World War maps are held in The National Archives, there are also CDs and DVDs of map collections for sale too – for instance from westernfrontassociation.com, naval-military-press.com and greatwardigital.com.
And don’t miss our giveaway competition; enter here and you could win a copy of Dr Peter Chasseaud’s new book Mapping the First World War.
Read the full story of how to use trench maps for your family history research in the November issue of Family Tree, out now in WH Smiths, leading supermarkets and all good newsagents, or you can download our latest issue as a digital edition right now – visit www.pocketmags.com, the App Store, Google Play or Amazon Appstore. Single issues, back issues and subscriptions are available for PC, Mac, eReaders, smartphones and tablets. A free sample is also available for all devices.