Thursday, 11 November 2010

Toronto Branch of OGS launches new database of war memorials

The following is information received from OGS Toronto Branch:

The Toronto Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society is honoured to mark Remembrance Day 2010 with the launch of For King and Country, a new on-line database of war memorials in Toronto schools.

Many Toronto schools display lists of former students and teachers who volunteered for active service during the two world wars. A much smaller number of memorials exist for other conflicts. Some name only those who died, but most include all who enlisted.

The Toronto Branch of the OGS has taken on the ambitious project of transcribing and indexing these memorials. The product of this work is a searchable database, For King and Country, which will be a valuable resource for students of local, social, military, educational and family history.

The Toronto school memorials take a wide variety of forms, including books of remembrance, bronze plaques, photo displays, sculptures, stained glass, bronze bells and special plantings, but most are hand-lettered lists, framed under glass. Many of these lists were designed by Group of Seven artist A.J. Casson and are headed "For King and Country". This heading inspired the title of the Toronto Branch project.

While other records exist to document military service, school memorials connect the young men and women who volunteered to their family and friends, and show us the impact of war on their communities. For King and Country also offers a new source of information about the history of the schools themselves, with links to other useful school and community websites.

For King and Country is a work in progress. The database now includes just over 20,000 names, drawn from memorials in 50 elementary and secondary schools, and those numbers will continue to grow. At the moment, the focus of the project is on the nearly 600 schools of the Toronto District School Board, but memorials from Catholic schools, private schools and post-secondary institutions will be added in the future. Users can search the database by surname, forename, school and/or keywords and access a full transcription for each entry.

To explore this new database, visit www.torontofamilyhistory.org/kingandcountry/.

For more information about the For King and Country project and how to contribute, contact: Martha Jackson at kingandcountry@torontofamilyhistory.org.

For more information about the Toronto Branch and how to become a member, e-mail info@torontofamilyhistory.org or leave a message at 416-733-2608.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a terrific idea!! Often we are no longer living in the same place as our ancestors. It is reassuring to know that they are not forgotten in the small community where they lived.