British Columbia

Amateur WWI history database getting overhaul from UVic

For the last 10 years, Canadian amateur historian Marc Leroux has maintained the Canadian Great War Project website, but now, UVic will be helping out with hosting and the adding of more documents.

Canadian Great War Project is a searchable online database with records from almost 180,000 soldiers

The Canadian Great War Project has records from nearly 180,000 Canadians who took part in World War I (Canadian Great War Project)

A massive amateur history project about the thousands of Canadians who took part in World War I is getting assistance from the University of Victoria this Remembrance Day.

The Canadian Great War Project is an online searchable database with records about nearly 180,000 Canadians who fought in the conflict.

For the last 10 years, Canadian amateur historian Marc Leroux has maintained the website, but now UVic will be helping out with hosting as well as adding more documents.

"There's a Canadian living in the United States, in Ohio, by the name of Marc Leroux who decided to find out what dear ol' grandpa did in the Great War and so he did a little bit of research," Jim Kempling, a UVic history department PhD candidate told All Points West host Robyn Burns.

"Then it grew to, 'let's find out about some of the people in the local community' … it just started to grow and it's grown for over a decade. This, what is now a digital treasure for Canadian history of the Great War."

According to UVic, the site features over 18,000 pages of war diaries, nearly 30,000 images and approximately 500 letters, many of them from Library and Archives Canada and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Some are also crowdsourced from private collections, the descendants of veterans, researchers, church associations and history groups.

"This was built and will continue to be developed by the broader community: local archives across the country, various historians of military units across the country, have contributed an incredible amount of time and effort to build this, and we expect to continue and foster that process," Kempling said.

UVic says one of the big improvements coming to the site will be better search tools so records of veterans can be more easily found.

You can check it out here.

With files from CBC Radio One's All Points West


To hear the full story, click the audio labelled: Explore WWI history with database getting overhaul from UVic

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