Thursday, 28 August 2014

Free Ancestry Labour Day weekend access

The following is from .

"In honour of Labour Day, from August 28 to September 1, is offering free access to all FamilySearch API records, which includes 1 billion records from 67 countries (nearly 200,000 records and more than 2 million images from Canada), so Canadians can discover more about their family’s working history. Visit

Clara Florence Webster rarely spoke about her life during WWI, and it wasn’t until her granddaughter Laurie Marshall was an adult that she shared her remarkable story with her. Until then, Laurie had no idea how brave her grandmother was.

A young woman in her early twenties, Clara helped the war effort by working in a munitions factory. Clara along with the other women in munitions factories in England, also known as munitionettes, produced 80 per cent of the artillery shells and bombs used by the British Army. Clara was one of the 1.6 million British women to join the workforce between 1914 and 1918. In Canada it is estimated that 35,000 women entered the work force during the war in occupations that were generally the domain of men.

Clara and the other women faced many dangers while working in the factory including working with poisonous substances and regularly being interrupted by blackout protocols. During a blackout the factory would go into immediate shutdown and all lights, machinery and assembly lines would be turned off. The women would have to remain completely quiet because the German Zeppelins overhead were specifically looking for them in hope of locating and bombing the factories building artillery. A boring day at work for Clara was a good day!

“I am still in awe of my grandmother and the risks she took during the First World War. She was so brave to put herself in so much danger, but she worked in the munitions factory because it was a job that needed to be done,” said Laurie Marshall. “ has helped me discover so many little details about her that I never knew such as her birth, marriage and immigration stories.”

Clara immigrated to Canada in 1927, paying her own passage and with just $150 in her pocket. Two days after her arrival she married Thomas Steele in Simcoe, Ontario."

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