Adding to a Life Story - in detail

Step 1: finding and connecting evidence

Evidence is used to add facts to a Life Story. Once you’ve clicked the “Add to Life Story” button, there are three evidence options displayed.

Simply choose which type of evidence you’d like to add: images, external references (website links or book references) or our official genealogy records.

If you’ve already added some evidence, click “Select Evidence” to view your options.


Add an External Reference

If you’ve found sources of evidence outside Lives of the First World War, such as website links or book references, you can add them as evidence as an External Reference. It doesn't matter if you've found information that's behind a website paywall as long as you provide the full link.


What kind of things can be external references?

  • Other websites - genealogy sites, family websites, newspapers, photo sharing websites, Wikipedia, military websites and more

  • Books and other publications - whether you own them or consulted them in a library or archive

  • Copies of official documents - if you've researched in local history archives or museums, or found information in an official document that you can't photograph


Upload an Image

Upload your own family photographs; photos of medals, postcards or letters.

Please note, you can only upload images where you have the permission of the copyright holder. We have to remove images that breach copyright. Read more about images and copyright in our FAQ.


What kind of images can you upload?

  • Photos of the person whose Life Story it is - not just during the war, but before and after too

  • Photos that relate directly to them - for example, photos of them with their family

  • Photos of family documents or mementoes

  • Photos of official certificates that you are allowed to reproduce (see above for some of the issues around copyright)


Search Official Records

Search over 487 million official genealogy records for facts that relate to the Life Story you're improving. Identify the correct person and connect the record to their Life Story page.

Viewing and connecting premium records requires a subscription Lives of the First World War. You can find out more about becoming a Friend and supporting the project here.

If you haven’t taken out a subscription, you can still search the official genealogy records. Get started in 60 seconds with our short Guide to searching records

Tip: if you already have access to these records via other websites, you can also add them for free using the 'add an external reference' option.


What kind of records are available?

  • Military records - not all the records survived to the present day, but those that still exist can give detailed information on everything from age and address to family details, illness and injury during the war, and deployments

  • BMDs (birth, marriage and death records) - these can help you pin down the key moments in someone's life

  • Census returns - see where someone lived, who they lived with, their occupation at the time, and more


Share a Story

Do you have a story that’s been passed down through your family, or have found one in a historical document? You can share these as stories (up to 5000 characters). Simply click the “Add to Life Story” button and use the “Share a Story” button.


Step 2: add facts

If you navigate to the Facts tab on the Life Story navigation, you can see the possible facts are split into five sections:

  • Names

  • Birth, Age and Death

  • Family and Civilian Life

  • Military Service

  • Civilian Contributions


Each of these sections contains important facts about the person. Hover over the ? symbol to see guidance about each field.

To add facts, simply visit the "Evidence" tab and choose the piece of evidence that proves the fact you wish to add. Evidence can be: images you’ve uploaded; website links or book references you’ve added as an external reference; or one of our official genealogy records.

Once you’ve chosen your evidence, click the “Add Facts from Evidence” button and add any facts that are proved by the evidence.


Improving facts

Once you have finished adding a fact, it will be saved under the Facts tab.

For each fact, you can click 'View Source' to see where the evidence for the fact comes from.

You can also click on the cog icon to select more actions:

  • Different sources of evidence may show different information about the same fact. For example, Private Tickle's Medal Index Card index lists his name as W C Tickle. Meanwhile, his birth certificate shows his registered name was William Cecil Tickle. His mum calls him 'Billie' in her letters. Connect as many different sources of evidence as you can find and add the information each one reveals. This will help us build up the most accurate picture of each person.

  • Challenge this fact

    • Use the Challenge option if you and another member cannot come to an agreement over connecting a record or adding a fact. You will be asked to select a reason for making the challenge.

  • View change history

    • Select 'View change history' to see all the alterations and improvements that have been made to a fact, and by whom. You can also use this if you've added a fact in error, or duplicated a fact.

The more evidence we can connect, and the more facts that we can identify, the more complete the picture will become.


Tips to remember

  • At the top of each Life Story you can see a summary of key information about the person, such as dates of birth and death, regiment, service number and rank. For non-military service, this area will show why the Life Story is included in Lives of the First World War.

  • Evidence is added and listed in the "Evidence" tab.

  • Facts are listed in the Facts tab. Certain facts you’ll be able to see on the Timeline.

  • Only connect evidence and add facts that are specifically about the person whose Life Story you are piecing together. Facts should focus on information that either helps to positively identify a person or adds to our record of their experiences during the First World War.

  • Hover your mouse over the grey question mark symbol by each fact type ('Gender', 'Name', and so on) to find out what to include and how to enter information.

  • We are not able to build family trees within Lives of the First World War. If you are interested in family members who all made a contribution, you can become a Friend of Lives of the First World War and group them together in a Community.


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