Who Do You Think You Are?

Military Records

Trace the careers of your Army, Navy and RAF ancestors using these free-to-search records


Both websites offer free access to thousands of military records, but a good place to start is Findmypast. By visiting findmypast.co.uk/page/free-ancestry-records and clicking on ‘Search free military records’, you are taken to a search page that combines five of the site’s most important sets covering this subject.

Crucially, this includes De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour, which was compiled during the First World War to commemorat­e those who had given their lives for Britain and the Commonweal­th. More than 25,000 men are profiled within the digitised volumes, and photograph­s are included for about 7,000 of them.

The same default search will scour British Army lists printed during the 19th and early 20th centuries (covering conflicts such as the Crimean War and Boer War), as well as rolls of personnel who served in the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force.

Some slightly more obscure gems found elsewhere on Findmypast include a book of transcript­ions naming officers who fought during the Peninsular War of 1808– 1814, and a set of Somerset muster rolls from 1569.

Ancestry offers a similar array of free military material (listed at ancestry.co.uk/search/categories/ freeindexa­com), such as ‘UK, Electrical Engineer World War I and World War II Rolls of Honour, 1924, 1949’ for men who belonged to the Institute of Electrical Engineers and the Absent Voters’ Lists collection, revealing details of British servicemen and women who needed to vote by proxy or by post while abroad. This covers 1918–1925 and 1939 (a subscripti­on is required to view the images).

Although not mentioned in the online list above, one of the most important free sets on Ancestry is ‘UK, British Army World War I Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914–1920’.

Finally, Ancestry hosts a number of military websearch collection­s (prefaced with ‘Web’), which act as free indexes to records held in third-party databases. Notably, this includes collection­s linked to The National Archives’ catalogue discovery.nationalar­chives.gov.uk, where images of the original records can be downloaded.

 ??  ?? Find out what happened to your forebears in both world wars
Find out what happened to your forebears in both world wars

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom