13    Dec 20144 comments

Christmas 1914: A holiday truce

This Christmas marks 100 years since the famous Christmas truce of WWI, in 1914.

During a stormy winter of fighting between the two sides, a widespread but unofficial truce emerged in the week leading up to - and on - the holiday. German and British soldiers began to exchange seasonal greetings and to sing songs between their trenches. There were even occasions where soldiers walked over to opposing sides to talk to their counterparts and exchange gifts.

On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, the soldiers put aside their differences for a few hours. Many of them - from both sides - ventured into "no man's land," where they met and exchanged food and souvenirs, and sang carols together.

German and British soldiers meeting in no man's land, December 26, 1914

It is said that at the first light of dawn on Christmas Day, some German soldiers emerged from their trenches and approached the Allied lines calling out "Merry Christmas." The Allied soldiers were wary at first, thinking it might be a trick, but when they saw the Germans approach them unarmed, they climbed out of their trenches as well, and shook hands with the enemy. Continue reading "Christmas 1914: A holiday truce" »

6    Nov 20146 comments

Remembrance Day: Honoring war heroes

In 1918, at the 11th hour, of the 11th day of the 11th month, an armistice was declared between the Allies and Germany, marking the end to the “Great War.”

Benjamin Disraeli once said, “The legacy of heroes is the memory of a great name and the inheritance of a great example.” Remembrance Day is just one way to honor the memory of our historic ancestors who fought for their lives in service.

Also known as Veteran's Day or Armistice Day, it is a day to commemorate those war heroes, share stories and and learn about the role they played during the war. Continue reading "Remembrance Day: Honoring war heroes" »

29    Sep 20143 comments

A Sacrifice: The story of an Italian WWI hero

This year marks a century since the beginning of World War I. To commemorate, we share the touching story of Italian soldier Cesare Mele, from Sezze, south of Rome.

A view of ancient Sezze, in southern Italy

While the Central Powers consisted of Austria-Hungary and Germany, Italy decided to remain neutral in 1914, and eventually joined the Allies (France, UK and Russia) in May 1915. Once they entered the conflict, 650,000 Italian soldiers died, 947,000 were wounded, and 600,000 disappeared or were captured as prisoners of war.

MyHeritage user Lucia Fusco shared the story of Cesare Mele, her courageous great-uncle , who, through his self-sacrifice, was able to save his own family. Continue reading "A Sacrifice: The story of an Italian WWI hero" »

28    Aug 20141 comment

WWI: Unknown animal heroes

When we speak of war heroes, we generally refer to the brave men and women who fought and died for their country. Yet, many animals were on the frontlines with the soldiers. These heroic animals transported equipment, sent secret notes and informed of enemy movements.

Horses carrying ammunition at the Battle of Vimy Ridge

Horses:
Horses were used for transporting food, artillery, equipment and to carry wounded soldiers. Eight million horses from all sides of the war died during WWI. Continue reading "WWI: Unknown animal heroes" »

23    Aug 20141 comment

WWI Heroes: British women of the war

While many men went out to fight, it’s important to also remember the little known heroes who fought for their countries during the war.

Many brave women - doctors, nurses and soldiers - served on the battlefront, risking their lives to save others.

In honor of the WWI centenary, we highlight just a few of those heroic women: Continue reading "WWI Heroes: British women of the war" »

10    Jul 201432 comments

Search WWI military records for free!

2014 marks a century since the outbreak of World War I. On July 28 1914, the Austro-Hungarian Empire invaded Serbia, beginning a world war that would last four years and result in millions of casualties.

Were your ancestors among the brave men who fought? How did they serve their country? Learn more about them by searching hundreds of thousands of WWI military records.

Enjoy FREE access to the following record collections from now through the end of July: Continue reading "Search WWI military records for free!" »

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