News

Volunteer Researcher needed!

  • 5th December 2019

We are looking for a volunteer to join our Redditch Military Tribunal project which will start in January 2020, supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund to conclude our WW100 work. This project will carry out research into the records of the Military Service Tribunals held in Redditch during the First World War.

Redditch Tribunal Volunteer Researcher

Location: The Hive/ possibly Redditch Library

Time Commitment: 4 hrs per week

What is the Project?

We are looking for a volunteer to join our Redditch Military Tribunal project which will start in January 2020, supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund to conclude our WW100 work. This project will carry out research into the records of the Military Service Tribunals held in Redditch during the First World War in order to make the information available online, through educational resources, and in a local exhibition. As a result of this work it will be possible to search online for men and their employers seeking exemption from the conscription legislation of 1916 intended to increase recruitment in the Services.

Military conscription was first introduced in January 1916 for unmarried men aged between 19 and 41. While there was a range of employment which was protected, Worcestershire, with its concentration of vital agriculture in some areas and significant industry in others, saw many appeals to the Military Tribunals for exemption from conscription.

Very few exemptions were applied for on the basis of conscience.

After the War, all records of these Tribunals were supposed to be destroyed, retaining only those of the Middlesex Tribunal, however some local ones did survive, including the Registers from Redditch.

What will the volunteer do?

During the first stage of the project Volunteers will transcribe the surviving case registers into an Excel spreadsheet and search correspondence from the Redditch Urban district council for further information about the cases.

Our second stage will involve using other resources to build on the information found in the registers and letters. Once we have the spreadsheets and can match up names of individuals, volunteers will then search in local newspapers on microfilm for reports of the proceedings. These are sometimes verbatim accounts so will tell us more about what happened in individual cases. Volunteers will then use online resources such as the census and military records on Ancestry alongside our own databases of Absent Voters to find out more information about the men involved.

From this we can produce a database online for people to look up men or employers. Once we have collated all this information we will also be able to put together complete profiles for some of the men who applied for exemption from subscription and potentially produce an exhibition talks and other outreach material.

Who are we looking for?

We are looking for an enthusiastic volunteer to help us with the research for this project, local knowledge of the Redditch area would be a bonus but is not required. As we will be using original records at the Hive you will need to able to travel here for training and the first stage. While using the records you will also need to be able to visit during our Original Archive Area opening hours. There is some flexibility in the project, so you may be able to be able to complete some of the second stage at Redditch library depending on resources. If you have your own Ancestry subscription, you can also do some searching online at home.

Some prior research experience would be valuable for the volunteer. Relevant research experience might include family, house or local history research as we will be using similar skills.

Existing skills which might be useful for the project are transcription of old handwriting, using Microsoft Excel spreadsheets, using microfilms, and using online resources such as searching on ancestry, however we will be providing training and support in all those areas so don’t worry if you do not have experience in all of them.

Some level of IT experience however is a requirement as we will not be able to teach you from scratch, but support will be provided.

If you are interested in taking part in the project, please contact Alice Maltby-Kemp for more information (amaltby@worcestershire.gov.uk). If you are only able to do one of the two stages, please do also get in touch as we may be able to accommodate you.

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