WordPress for a Family History Archive


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Presentation delivered at WordUp Glasgow on 4 Feb 2012.

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  • This is a story about an amazing family archive that we hold and how WordPress can help tell this story.
  • John Adams – was my grandfather. I’m one of the last people to remember him – this is me with him when I was small.
  • But nearly 100 years ago, this was the younger man in 1914 – with two men from his home area.
  • So, here’s the story…The archive contains:LettersField postcardsTelegramPoW letter
  • 1914John Adams joined up in September 1914. He was a typical country boy who had not travelled far from home.
  • 1915
  • 1915He spent the first part of 1915 training in Ireland and England, arriving in France in October 1915, almost immediately to the trenches.
  • 1916John was wounded in May 1916 (shot accidentally by one of his own colleagues). This was 6 weeks before his Battalion was decimated on the first day of the Battle of the Somme.He then convalesced and was treated in Paisley – interesting opinions of people and weather.
  • 1917John was posted to Ypres (Passchendaele).Also (after being gassed), spent time on a farm near Rouen.
  • 1918William Lockhart was from my grandmother’s area. He was taken prisoner during the 1918 German Spring Offensive (Operation Michael), and he wrote this letter to my great grandfather Isaac Reid
  • 1918John Adams was wounded in October 1918 – this was the telegram sent to my great-grandmother.
  • 1919Discharge certificate
  • How does WordPress help? Features and plugins that I’ve used to get the site working the way I want.
  • Pages are used for static contentStandardWordPress Custom Menu
  • Categories run everything else. Custom menus.Key plugins:Category Custom Fields – add additional metadata to the category descriptionsDefault Sort Ascend – read the story as a old-to-new timelineAuthors Widget – show multiple authors
  • Custom Post Types are used for Letters to add additional metadata.Built using Custom Post Types UII needed to convert standard Posts to Custom Post Types. 2 tools:Post Type ConvertrPost Type Converter(one does bulk conversion, one does post-at-a time conversion)
  • To manage multiple authors:User Photo to add user photos to the profileAuthors Widget to show author list.
  • All letters are “somewhere in France”.But good sources of location information (such as War Diaries).
  • Use of Ben Huson’s geocoding plugin to record location for each post. Can also show locations for all posts in a category.
  • SIMILE timeline plugin to display the story in a different way. Some issues with this…
  • Issues with core dates prior to 1970 – now solved.
  • Next steps:Field postcards – use CPT to record these as a different set of metadata
  • Coming Next….Field postcards – the Tweets of the Great WarChallenge is to use Custom Post Types to record this information in a structured way.
  • I also need to redesign the front page to make the story more readable. Happy to take ideas!
  • And there’s a further story to tell… after the War, John became a Sergeant Instructor with the police. And I have lots of material from there.
  • WordPress for a Family History Archive

    1. 1. WordPress for a John Adams (@johnthegeo)Family History Archive WordUp Glasgow, 4 Feb 2012
    2. 2. John Adams 1890-1971
    3. 3. but almost a century ago…
    4. 4. The Storyjohnadams.org.uk/letters
    5. 5. 1914 1915 1916 1917 1918 “I think this is the first Sunday that I have ever been away from home all day”
    6. 6. 1914 1915 1916 1917 1918 “We are likely to take our Xmas dinner in the trenches this year.”
    7. 7. 1914 1915 1916 1917 1918“I suppose by this time you will thinkme dead.” 16/5/16 “I often heard it said that Scotch people were hard with their money. But I will believe it no longer.” Paisley: “We are sick of rain now.”
    8. 8. 1914 1915 1916 1917 1918 Ypres: “I have gone up the line today” Rouen: “What a lovely country to live in. I believe I could live here all my life.”
    9. 9. 1914 1915 1916 1917 1918
    10. 10. 1914 1915 1916 1917 1918
    11. 11. How does WordPress help?Features PluginsCore Features: Category Custom Fields• Posts/pages/images Default Sort Ascend• Categories Widget Logic• Menus• 2010 Child ThemeCustom Post Types Custom Post Types UI Post Type Converter Post Type ConvertrMultiple authors Authors Widget User PhotoGeocoding WP GeoTimeline WP SIMILE Timeline
    12. 12. Pages and menus
    13. 13. Categories run everything else Category Custom Fields Default Sort Ascend Authors Widget
    14. 14. Custom Post Types: LetterCustom Post Types UIPost Type ConvertrPost Type Converter
    15. 15. Multiple Authors User Photo Authors Widget
    16. 16. Location information
    17. 17. LocationWP Geohttp://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wp-geo/
    18. 18. When? SIMILIE TimelineWP SIMILE Timeline pluginhttp://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wp-simile-timeline/
    19. 19. http://core.trac.wordpress.org/ticket/10332Dates pre-1970 bug (fixed)
    20. 20. What Next?
    21. 21. What Next?
    22. 22. …and the story continues
    23. 23. THANK YOU Questions?