Blog originally posted October 29, 2018
The seed of what was to become the Simcoe County Remembers database was planted in 2007, during a meeting of the Board of Directors of the Simcoe County Historical Association. Simcoe County's Assistant Archivist, Ellen Millar, was asked if there were a Simcoe County First World War Memorial. She replied that she did not know of one, but would do some investigating. The follow-up research revealed three things:
- A Memorial was created for all residents of Simcoe County who had died during the Second World War
- While First World War Memorials for local residents had been erected in communities across Simcoe County, no single memorial was ever dedicated to all county residents
- The Simcoe County Archives' holdings contain a considerable amount of information about those who had died in the 1914-1918 War
976-26 Memorial and Arena Gardens, Midland, ca. 1930 Copyright: Public Domain
Using the Archives' records, Ellen began to make a list of Simcoe County's War Dead, slowly gathering a few details from one source, and some more from another, as she carried out her regular duties at the Archives. Other members of the Archives' staff brought to her attention relevant records which they had also discovered during their work with the collections.
997-133 Willard Touchette, ca. 1916 Copyright: Public Domain
Colleagues from several of the County's museums, historical and genealogical societies, friends, and family members also assisted, perhaps unknowingly, with the project. The County of Simcoe's IT Department also contributed to making the Simcoe County Remembers database a reality. Thank you to everyone who provided information, support, or expertise.
2009-36 Young solider, believed to be Stanley Penton, ca. 1916 Copyright: Public Domain
While a Simcoe County First World War Roll of Honour has been a long time coming, the Simcoe County Remembers database should not be considered a final and complete memorial to the fallen. The Simcoe County Archives knows that there are names missing which should have been included. There are also strong suppositions that a few entries, such as the one for “J. Smith," will prove to be duplicates. But it seemed appropriate that the names of the war dead of Simcoe County, now numbering 1,006, be moved off a static list and made available to the general public in time for the 100th Anniversary of the Armistice.
And so the Simcoe County Archives has launched Simcoe County Remembers. It is a resource which we consider to be a starting point to help you remember the men and women of Simcoe County who died during or immediately following the First World War. We hope that you find the information it contains both meaningful and useful.
Do you have information about someone who is either included in or missing from the Simcoe County Remembers database? The Simcoe County Archives would like to hear from you! Information about how to donate records to the Simcoe County Archives is available here, or please contact us at 705-726-9331 or firstname.lastname@example.org