Remembrance, Soldier Information Card Project

Remember Them

P002134 William John Parker

P002134 William John Parker

On this day in 1918, the guns fell silent at the 11th hour. The “Great War to End All Wars” had ended. Despite the horror, carnage and loss of  a generation of its young, Canada would answer the call again, in 1939, in 1950 in Korea, and in many places around the world in the years following, to defend the values and beliefs that we held so dear.

Today, we stop at 11am to remember them – to vicariously live in the moment when the gunfire stopped, to feel the sharp and deep pain of loss, to reflect on the sacrifice of generations of men and women who forfeited their youth, health and happiness, and in many instances, their lives, to defend values that we hold dear; and to thank them for their service – in conflicts and peacekeeping in years past, present and future.

Remember them, not only today, but always.

Visit our Waterloo County Soldier Portrait Collection here.

Visit our World War I Soldier Information Collection here.

Regards, Karen


Soldier Information Card Project

Honouring Our Military Heritage and Volunteers

Gordon Hamblin

Gordon Hamblin, WW1_H_049 Kitchener Public Library Soldier Card Collection

Join us on Tuesday November 18, 2014 at 7:00pm to hear Assistant Professor Geoffrey Hayes of the University of Waterloo speak about Waterloo County’s Great War Heritage. The lecture will be in the Theatre of the Central Library.  It’s free and no registration is required. On Remembrance Day, I had the pleasure of hearing Dr. Hayes speak at the Global Youth Summit on War and Remembrance at the Centre for International Governance and Innovation (CIGI).  It was a fascinating lecture which captivated and engaged the youthful participants in CIGI’s auditorium.

We’ll also be honouring the Soldier Information Card volunteers who have brought to life the lives of Waterloo Region/County’s soldiers through their transcriptions and research.  The Soldier Cards are being uploaded daily to the Library’s online site on Our Digital World. Check out the growing Soldier Information Card Collection here.

I look forward to seeing everyone on Tuesday!

Cheers, Karen

Soldier Information Card Project

We will remember them

Private Nelson Chaplin Clay

Private Nelson Chaplin Clay, P002116, Waterloo County Soldier Portrait Collection, KPL

The haunting words of Laurence Binyon’s poem, For the Fallen, were penned in September 1914 following early British casualties at the outbreak of the Great War. In particular, the stanza:

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

always makes me tear up.  There is something deeply profound and compelling about the promise to remember – a duty owed to those who served and continue to serve our country.

It’s been an emotional year working on the Soldier Information Cards, coupled with recent murders of two Canadian servicemen on home soil and Canada’s new military role in Iraq.  I am reminded everyday of the lives, young and old, which were lost, shattered and forever changed by conflict and in the struggle to maintain peace and order.

I don’t come from a military family. However, I have recently discovered a cousin of my Welsh great-grandfather who fought with the Royal West Surrey Regiment in the First World War. Private Robert J. H. Edwards died in battle, at the age of 30, on 22 October 1917, in Belgium, leaving behind a wife and four young children in South Wales.  The details of his military career and life are still sketchy, but I feel compelled to keep digging to find out more – to tell his story, to remember.

Who will you remember?

Soldier Information Card Project

The Long March Begins – Soldier Information Cards Online

Harold Warren, WW1

Harold Warren, World War One, Soldier Information Card


While it may seem like it’s all quiet on the Library front, we have busily been working on uploading Soldier Information Cards to our online site. We are focussing on uploading the transcribed cards first as these can be processed quickly.  As we are working on them, we have discovered that working on them while on a public desk is tricky – so we steal away precious moments off-desk to work on the cards.

My co-workers regularly tell me how the cards, photographs and soldier stories have touched them – just as we have been heard from the Soldier Card Project volunteers as they worked on the cards.  The tragic deaths of Corporal Nathan Cirillo and Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent in recent days remind all of the sacrifices that our military personnel make in defending our rights and freedoms.

Adopted soldiers who have been researched will be the second set uploaded.  We have been discovering some of the unanswered questions about our little known and difficult to research soldiers may lie in the recently digitized WWI military service files now online at Library and Archives Canada. So it’s one step forward and a sometimes a couple steps back as new information comes to light.  There are still those soldiers for whom nothing exists and we’ll be posting those online for anyone to comment or provide information.

You may not be hearing regularly from Ingrid and Meghan about WWI adoptions and Becky and Karen T. about WW2 transcriptions as they are now primarily focused on card uploading until Christmas. The database will not be completely uploaded by our November 11, 2014 target date, but we are hoping to be able to share a good selection of them by mid-November. When we get closer to Remembrance Day, I’ll post the link to the collection in our online database.

I do hope that all of our Soldier Card Project volunteers will be able to join us on Tuesday November 18th for a special event that will happen prior to Geoff Hayes’ talk on Waterloo County Soldiers in World War 1. An invitation will be going out to SIC project volunteers by email later this week.

Cheers, Karen



Soldier Information Card Project

Update on the Soldier Card Project


Alvin Wilbert Gingrich

Soldier Information Card for Alvin Wilbert Gingrich of Hespeler, Ont.

As the summer reaches its midpoint, I wanted to update everyone on the Soldier Card Project. It’s been bit of a roller-coaster ride for the past 6 months with the closure, move and re-opening of the Central Library.  Although the blog has been quiet for a while, we are still plugging away on the Soldier Card Project while unpacking and shelving books and almost 50 skids of archival boxes and newspapers, answering reference questions and learning how to operate our new digital microfilm scanner in the Grace Schmidt Room.

Currently, all of the WWI cards that required transcription have been completed. Volunteers are still researching and writing biographies and it looks like this process will be ongoing for the foreseeable future. Ingrid and Meg are looking after the circulation of cards for research.

I have been working on finalizing instructions for staff to begin the upload of transcribed and researched WWI soldier cards to our online site, Our Digital World  (formerly Our As luck would have it, Our Digital World started a major software upgrade and record indexing project during the last week of July, which should finish by Wednesday this week. Once the dust has settled on the updates to the service, we’ll begin uploading the cards, transcriptions and biographies. I’ll post a link to the collection to let everyone know where they can find the records.

We are still circulating WWII soldier cards for transcription. Karen T. and Becky are looking after the circulation of these cards.  We are approaching the alphabetical midpoint of the list, but the thick letters (M, P, S, T) are on the horizon.

Another Karen, in this case, Karen S., has been rehousing the Soldier Cards in acid-free folders and boxes, carefully interleaving acid-free tissue between the cards to prevent damage.  The original cards will be kept in our Archives and access to the collection will be made via the digital images and the online collection.

There have also been a lot of work going on with the Waterloo Region Record.  I am sure that you have been reading their fascinating WWI retrospective and soldier profiles – the photos for which are coming from the collections of the Grace Schmidt Room.   It’s been an honour assisting Jeff Outhit, Luisa D’Amato and Rod Frketich at the Record with their research and photograph requests.

So onward and upward (in a software kind of way) with the Soldier Card Project! We really do appreciate all that you have been doing.  If you have a question, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Cheers, K.

Soldier Information Card Project

Soldier Card Project – An Update and Salute to our Volunteers

WWI Soldier Card for Denis J. Alison

World War One Soldier Information Card for Denis J. Alison

This week, the Kitchener Public Library is celebrating National Volunteer Week, April 6-12, 2014, a time to recognize and cherish Canada’s 13.3 million volunteers.    I wanted to give a shout-out to our nearly 120 Soldier Card Project volunteers, without whom this project would not be possible.

Our SIC volunteers are a truly amazing group – full of passion, enthusiasm and commitment. To date, they have completed the following:

WWI transcriptions: 2,124

WWI biographies: 115

WWII transcriptions: 577

and counting!

To our amazing volunteers, thank you!

Your stories of  connection and resourcefulness continue to enrich the project. Everyday, your endeavours bring us closer to a fuller understanding of Waterloo County’s contribution to Canada’s military actions in the world wars.

Cheers, Karen

Soldier Information Card Project, Uncategorized

The GSR is on the move again… into our final location!

GSR moving

The GSR is getting ready to move!

It’s official! – the Main Branch of the Kitchener Public Library will be closed on or about March 24, 2014 for approximately 2 months for the move into our newly renovated building.  The Grace Schmidt Room will not be open to the public during the Main Branch’s 2 months closure. While I’ll miss seeing our researchers, I’ll be busy with the move of the GSR into its final location.  The closure of the library will allow for the completion of renovations and removal of our temporary offices and work spaces.  I look forward to being reunited with the archival collection, which has been off-site since our move into the addition back in February 2013.

If you have information that you are seeking from the GSR during this time, you can email me, but I cannot guarantee a prompt reply as collections may become inaccessible due to the work being carried out and the move of furniture, equipment and people.  I’ll do my best to reply, but the move will take precedence as we are working to have the building open as soon as possible.

Our archival collections will be returning in stages, so we may not have everything back by the time of the Main Branch re-opening. If there is something specific that you are seeking, please email me after the re-opening so we can verify the item of interest is available.

Please note that the KPL Soldier Card Project will continue during the closure. We will be doing our best to get cards distributed for research and transcription.