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As part of our World War I commemoration, we recently invited the public to help transcribe written accounts of World War I soldiers and their first experiences in battles. This series contains remarkable and moving accounts of war through unit histories, station lists, operations reports, messages, and more. 


Of the 2,409 records in the series, 6,652 pages were transcribed by our citizen volunteers. We were especially moved by the descriptions of the battlefield by the soldiers who experienced the war first hand, and wanted to find a way to capture their experiences.


Now that the transcriptions are nearly complete, we are excited to share how this work transcribing has unlocked the stories within these records, and ensured these soldier’s voices are heard.


By performing a "search within" these records in the Catalog, we can now search for events, battlefield conditions, or even emotions that soldiers wrote about within their accounts. For example:



The word “artillery” can be found in 523 records in this series

“About 4 PM we moved forward to canal under heavy artillery and machine gun fire. Were relieved next morning.”

Transcribed by citizen archivist Ndlund


The word “afraid” can be found in 23 records in this series

“I was afraid that we would never reach our objective with one man alive but we only had 4  killed and two wounded all it takes is nerve”

Transcribed by citizen archivist LibrarianDiva


Ready to give it a try? Here’s how to search within a series:


From the Details section of the series description in the Catalog, click on the blue box: “Search within this series”


In the top left search box, remove the wildcard symbols *.* and replace it with the word you would like to search.:



Click on the magnifying glass or press “enter” on your keyboard to start your search. See your results!



Give it a try, and let us know what you find within these records! You could try searching for “trench,” or “Verdun,”  or even “pigeon.” Have you discovered something interesting or unexpected? How else could you use this feature in you research?


There are a few more records in this series that can still be transcribed! Help us finish up these last few records to make these stirring accounts fully accessible.  Get Started Transcribing!