Scritch, on 27 April 2012 - 01:25 PM, said:
At the risk of going slightly off topic, what is the website for the Derby Telegraph archive please? Wouldn't mind having a peruse of that myself.
Hi - it is the website of a joint venture between the British Library and brightsolid http://www.britishne...erarchive.co.uk
. It has a database of newspapers that have been scanned (I think over 50 titles and growing) with dates ranging from 1700 to 1945. It uses Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software to scan the papers, so it is possible to search for a person or regiment or an event. It isn't perfect (lots of typos) but it is a huge step forward, especially for those who can't get to the British Library collections. It allows one to set data parameters and choose a specific newspaper or region and search a number of parameters. Free to register but then you have to pay, but I think the packages and options seem to be fairly priced. It is very easy to use and a joy to be able to read a 1915 newspaper as if I had it in my hands.
I found it to be extremely useful. I was searching for Derbyshire Yeomanry and using those two words and a date limit of Aug 1914-Dec 1915 it produced a few hundred references just on one newspaper title. It shed light on many of the men who were killed or wounded and there were a number of articles based on men's letters home. Some of the articles/letters really do bring to life the characters of the men. I was surprised how articulate their letters were, which supports Truthergw's view that these Yeomen were not all uneducated farm labourers. In fact the DY seemed to have a disproportionate number of men who were clerks on the Midland Railways, perhaps suggesting a degree of education and literacy that some people might not necessarily assume for recruits. Some nice snippets on who they were related to ( a famous county cricketer in one case) etc. For me it helps make their stories more human and not just a list of faceless names. I even found a picture of the Sergeants of the regiment assembled in Egypt just before Gallipoli (i think it includes my grandfather - a bit too grainy to tell) which I had never seen before. If one is patient, it is possible to find lots of gritty info. I even managed to establish strong supporting evidence to a theory I had that DY men were recruited and given numbers in sequences that corresponded to where they were recruited - all based on snippets on dead and wounded men where the listings gave home towns and villages - eight men in number sequence all from the same small village recruited in 1910.
One other aspect - it clearly showed how fast (or slow) information moved. Typically events at Gallipoli mentioning Derbyshire men were being reported in the Derbyshire press about 4 weeks after the event. What is particularly useful is that if, say, your interest was in the Norfolk Regiments, it allows you to search just the Norfolk newspapers. A great resource for the family military history researcher.