Find Out if You Live in a House that Once Belonged to a First World War Soldier or Sailor

A new website has been launched enabling people to search their postcode and find out if they live in or near a house that once belonged to a soldier or sailor from the First World War.

Most of the houses listed on the site are in Europe or the United Kingdom. However, many other countries are also represented, as shown in the above screenshot. I found three soldiers near me (in the United States) who apparently served in the Canadian or British armies but listed their residences or their next of kin with U.S. addresses. All three died during the war.

Usage of the site is simple: enter a postal code and see the World War I soldiers and sailors listed at nearby addresses. If a lot of results are displayed, you can narrow the results further by first name, surname, rank, regiment, age at death, or date of death.

The map was put together as a personal project by 50-year-old James Morley, who lives in West London and has worked with museums and archives for over 25 years.

A Street Near You currently contains nearly 500,000 location records for 410,000 men and women who died whilst serving in the First World War. It was created using data and images sourced from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and Imperial War Museum, including their Lives of the First World War project.

You can access the database at: https://astreetnearyou.org.

10 Comments

This is interesting. I found two soldiers listed on this website for my town in Kansas

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Pretty interesting, 21 matches around me (N.E. Los Angeles), most of who served in the Canadian Infantry.

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Every single person I’ve looked at near me has had a word in their address that matches a US address. Private Arthur Patrick Foott, Australian Pioneers, is “of Graceville, near Brisbane, Queensland. Native of Burke.” So he’s been represented in Burke, VA. Albert Edward Evans, Australia Infantry, is “of Haggar St., Eaglebank, Victoria. Born at Castlemaine, Victoria.” He’s been represented at Eaglebank Arena, at George Mason University, in Fairfax, VA. Josephine Carr “of 4, Bethesda Row, Blackrock Rd., Cork” has been represented at Bethesda, MD. I think this database may need some more work.

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    Elaine McRey
    I suspect that the issue is with the mapping software and the implacable desire of our ancestors to confuse us by reusing familiar names for places they emigrated to!
    When I searched for the Josephine Carr listing, I see that the search box at top left on the map gave me a choice of the Bethesda, MD address as well as Cork, but placed the entry against the wrong address.
    So if no country is listed – perhaps reasonable for the sources used – the software assumes that the address is in the US.
    I wonder if there is an option that James Morley can set to default to a UK address. There may still be errors of course, but given the likelihood that the majority of entries are from the UK, and where they are not a country would probably be shown this may work better.
    The alternative would be to try and identify entries without a country listed and tag on – say – United Kingdom.

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    Firstly, thank you, Dick, for featuring the project. To respond to the issues with locations, Russell has pretty much got this spot on – over the course of about a year I slowly refined the code to try to detect countries and use that to bias results, defaulting to the UK where none was detectable. Unfortunately the earlier batches were done before this – leading to a particular concentration of such errors in the US – and now that Google has a free limit of just 40,000 requests per month it will take over a year to reprocess them all.

    I’ve even see the likes of “Son of John and Hilda Cambridge, of “Hollywood”, London Road, Edinburgh” which as you can imagine, with four potential placenames, can lead to a lot of confusion (it’s amazing how good we as humans are compared to machines!). One thing I have always intended to add is a ‘report this’ button which would allow users such as yourselves to flag the anomalies you find. I’ll see what I can do.

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Do bear in mind that this apparently uses addresses from the Commonwealth War Graves Debt of Honour Register. Therefore there are two things to be aware of. Most servicemen did not die, so this info only relates to men and women recorded as dying, quite a number of whom died in the UK between 1918 and 1920 from the Spanish Flu pandemic. Secondly the addresses are those recorded for next of kin, some considerable time (1-4 years generally after the war, so in a number of cases the NOK had moved house when their details were recorded by the CWGC. That is not to denigrate the database, just to serve as a little warning.

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    Yes, agreed. I’ve tried to get that across in the ‘about’ page, though you seem to have worded it much better than I did! Regarding the post war deaths, the overall total from this dataset is about 78,000 of 1 million+ records, 59,000 if you just look at 1 Jan 1919 onwards. The fact that a good number – perhaps 40% – of those are buried in France, Iraq, Egypt, Germany etc suggest that a good number were still serving when they died.

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It appears this only shows British or Canadian soldiers, not men in a branch of the American military; my grandfather is not shown where he lived.

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    To clarify, the current dataset is based primarily on the Commonwealth War Graves records. I am currently working on adding data from the Lives of the First World War project (again, Commonwealth focused) but have started discussions with some other data providers. If you know of a good, open, accessible dataset which has location information for American’s who fought in the First World War I would love to have a look as this could be a really useful addition. Likewise French, German, Russian, Turkish etc

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Thank you to Mr. Morley–While I searched for several names- only one matched – Koerner. As far as I can tell he is not a relative. However that does not mean that sometime he will. I appreciate the work involved & wish this dedicated man good luck on his data input. I appreciate his effort.

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