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Monday, 19 March 2012

WW1 Family History Roadshow - dig out your memorabilia

On Wednesday 21 March, between 10am and 7pm, the Library will be holding a World War One Family History Roadshow in Kildare Street, Dublin. You can bring along photographs, letters, postcards, medals, coins, keepsakes, diaries, sketches, army discharge papers, diaries, rosary beads, recordings and any other memorabilia belonging to family and friends who took part in World War One, and tell their stories.

Historians and experts will be on hand to discuss the significance of your finds. The material will be scanned on the spot by Library staff and you'll be free to take your items home with you. Once scanned, the material will be uploaded to the Europeana 1914-1918 website.

Th Europeana is Europe's digital library, museum an archive and it is building the first ever online archive of private stories and documents from WW1 in time for the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the war in 1914. The project involves the National Library of Ireland (NLI), Oxford University and Europeana.

If you can't make it on Wednesday, you can still add your memorabilia to the archive. Just scan or digitally photograph your items, and upload them to the website (you'll find instructions on the Add Your Story page).

The project is part of the build-up to the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of WW1. Speaking at the launch, NLI Director Fiona Ross said that it is vital we preserve precious documents and other memorabilia in digital format for future generations of historians, genealogists, schools and cultural organisations in remembrance of the war and its effect on people’s lives.

“Digitisation will ensure that World War One-related materials are not destroyed or thrown away," she said. "It will also allow the information in those materials to be incorporated into apps for smartphones and tablets that will bring history alive for people in contemporary ways."

The National Library roadshow is one of the first in a series that is being rolled out in the UK, Luxembourg, Slovenia, Denmark, Belgium and Ireland this year to create a unique pan-European virtual archive of World War One that is available to everyone.