Early Military records online at TheGenealogist

 

News from TheGenealogist this weekend tells of new Military record releases. I am particularly interested to see if I can trace a man in the Waterloo Roll, so off to take a look!

 

This month TheGenealogist is pleased to announce it has added several new early military records. Joining the ever growing and fully searchable Military collection is:

  • The Waterloo Roll Call 1815

  • Battery Records of the Royal Artillery, 1716-1859

  • The Manchester Regiment, 63rd and 96th 1758-1883 Vol I and 1883-1922 Vol II

  • Certificate of Musters in the County of Somerset 1569

  • Four more Army Lists, from 1838 to 1886

Waterloo

The Waterloo Roll Call of 1815 enables researchers to find ancestors within a list of nearly 4,000 men, most of whom were officers present at the Battle of Waterloo in Belgium on June 18th 1815 under the Duke of Wellington – whose record we can find in this collection. You can search for your ancestors in ‘The Waterloo Roll Call’ using Title, Forename, Surname, Regiment, Rank, Decoration and Staff position.

MilitiaMany of our forefathers would have served in the British Army, and with the military known for their record keeping these can provide researchers with valuable information on ancestors. The earliest records in this new release are 16th century Militia Musters for Somerset. The Certificate of Musters in the County of Somerset 1569 contain names of Militiamen (soldiers raised from the civil population) and what role they carried out including archer, pikeman and light-horseman.

The Battery Records of the Royal Artillery 1716-1859 is a prime reference record containing tabulated Battery records, numerous useful historical notes, lists of various officers and more.

Manchester regFor Mancunian military forebears The Manchester Regiment 63rd and 96th 1758-1922 includes the succession of Colonels and an alphabetical roll of regimental officers from 1758 to 1923 showing dates of service with the Regiment, dates of promotion and date and reason for being struck off. With the centenary of the First World War these records can be used to find casualties of all ranks from “The Manchesters” in the Great War. With a list of Honours and Awards, including foreign, these digitised books also provide an interesting in-depth history of the regiment so that researchers can follow the postings of The Manchester Regiment and the action in which it took part.

Those researching Victorian soldiers will welcome the inclusion of several early Army Lists in this release for January 1838, December 1838, April 1886 and The Annual Army and Militia List 1855.

Image sources: https://commons.wikimedia.org

 

 

To search these and countless other useful family history records take a look at TheGenealogist now!

 

The Genealogist - UK census, BMDs and more online

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Another Brick Wall Crumbles!

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I was asked this week to find out what I could about a man that was never talked about in the family.

Intriguing, I thought!

The subject had married the contact’s aunt in 1943 and fathered three children before, at some time, becoming estranged and then divorced from the aunt.

What little I had to go on was that in the Second World War the man was a British officer in the Indian Army. We didn’t know his date or place of birth, where in the U.K. he was from or any other family details.

To make things a bit more difficult he had always used a nick name “Ron” that was not the short form for his actual first name. Luckily for me, we did know the full name of the subject and to preserve anonymity I am going to refer to him here as Vincent Martin Edwards (not his real name).

Before the independence of India, in 1947, the Indian Army was an important component of the British Empire’s forces and made a significant contributions to the Second World War effort. After independence the records of officers, such as my man, have been deposited at the British Library in St. Pancras, London and so this was my first port of call.

I know from my visits to the British Library that they have runs of the Indian Army lists on the shelves of  The Asian & African Studies Reading Room on Floor 3. A look in one of these, for the war years, should provide the officer’s number that can then be used to locate his service records that are held there, but not on open access.

From research that I have done in the past at St.Pancras I know that access to the service record for someone of this era would more than likely be restricted to the next of kin. All I wanted, however, was for one of the staff to look inside the document folder and to provide me with the date and place of birth of Vincent Martin Edwards and so I shot off an email request.

In amazingly short order I was emailed back with the answer: Streatham, 22 February 1919.

Meanwhile I had found the marriage details online for the couple at Findmypast in their British India Office Ecclesiastical Returns. The bride and groom were both 24 when they married in a church, in India and so I had confirmation of a birth date of 1919.

Turning to the online Birth, Marriage and Deaths, that are widely available on the internet, I went in search of the birth of Vincent Edwards for that quarter. These should be held in the records for the district of Wandsworth and so all I had to do was find the reference and order the certificate from the GRO.

 

Ever think things are going too well… that they are just a bit too easy?

The rapid reply from the British Library, the exact date and place?

Yes, that’s right! There were no records for Vincent Martin Edwards in that area for that date.

I began to expand my search to the neighbouring districts and found a Vincent Edwards in Camberwell for the first quarter. Perhaps this was my man? Was he born just into this district, I wondered, as it is not that far away on the map.

Now you may have heard the mantra “Always kill off your ancestors” that is try and find their death and in this case it only took me four years in the same Camberwell district to find the death registered of this namesake. This Vincent Edwards only had a life of 4 years, so couldn’t be my man.

So if the district was not wrong what about the date, not withstanding the supposed corroboration of the year from the marriage return?

I went back to the Wandsworth BMDs and began checking for the birth in the years either side for 5 years at a time. Result: a Vincent M Edwards born in 1920, so now we know he had exaggerated his age on his Indian Army records and at his marriage as well! Perhaps he had joined up before he was supposed to, as people did this in war time.

The lesson is to always treat dates with healthy scepticism until you get the primary record to prove them. I have ordered the certificate and await it with interest. From it I will be able to see such details as the Father and Mother’s names (The mother’s maiden name was added to the births, marriages and deaths index (BMD) held by the GRO  from the September quarter of 1911).

 

I have a useful tutorial in my Family History Researcher course on using the General Register Office index and ordering certificates for anyone that is unsure of how these records can help in your English/Welsh family tree research. Click the link below to read more.

 

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Early Militia Musters now on TheGenealogist.co.uk

 

Militia records on TheGenealogistWow, I’ve had a busy weekend, some of it spent looking around an old graveyard.

I couldn’t help but notice the number of military men that had been remembered in the words written on their headstones. Some listed the battles they fought in and some just their regiment, or ship in the case of those who served in the Royal Navy.

 

I did get to spend an hour, however, on the computer looking up the names of branches in my family in a new set of records just released by TheGenealogist.

In my Devon lines my family tree often gets stuck, when I try to push it back into the 18th century. But this week, using the new Militia Musters, just released online by TheGenealogist, I have found some promising leads. And shock horror…some of my Devon kin, especially the ones from Plymouth, may actually be from Cornwell as I note the names appearing in Musters in that county, while others are more definitely Devonian.

 

For the first time you can search early militia musters for all of England and Wales. The collection includes over 58,000 rare records of these part-time soldiers for 1781 and 1782. This is the largest number of surviving records available for this era.

This joins the largest collection of Army Lists available online establishing TheGenealogist as a major military research site.

The militia men were offered a bounty to transfer to the regular army and some did decide on a regular military career. If you’re struggling to find out how your ancestor started their military career, the answer could be in the militia records!

In the troubled times of the 1700s, Britain faced a threat from the European powers of France, Spain and Holland at various times. All ‘able-bodied’ men were considered for the militia and put on a ‘militia ballot list’. The chosen men then were required to meet or ‘muster’ at points for training. Four musters were taken over the time covered by the new records on TheGenealogist.

 

The records cover people from all walks of life who made up the officers and men, from M.P.’s to landowners, from carpenters to labourers, if they were physically up to it, they could be selected for the militia!

 

Regiments covered all of England and Wales and are represented in the new records. The records are from The National Archives series WO13 and feature the ‘muster and pay lists’ of all members of the militias. Men received ‘Marching Money’ when the militia was mobilised and were paid expenses for local meetings.

The new militia lists can further help track the movements and lives of our ancestors before census and civil registration times.

In an easy to search format, it’s possible to search for an ancestor to see if they served in any of the militia regiments of England and Wales. Search by name and any relevant keyword, or use the advanced search to narrow it down to ‘Corps’ , ‘Company’ or the actual ‘Rank’ of the soldier.

Mark Bayley at TheGenealogist comments: “These unique records really enhance our online military collection. Not all our ancestors served in the regular army and the part-time local militias were an essential part of the national defence, as was seen in the ‘Battle of Jersey’ at the time, when the local militia fought admirably against the French and Dutch”.

 

 

The Genealogist - UK census, BMDs and more online

Disclosure: The Links in the above are Compensated Affiliate links. If you click on them then I may be rewarded by The Genealogist.co.uk should you sign up for their subscriptions.

 

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Census Substitutes

Directories1869 at TheGenealogist.co.uk

I am sure that, like me, you have found an ancestor that doesn’t appear in the census collection for some reason or another.

The case, that I’ve been looking at this week, seems to have been absent from the country on more than one occasion when the census was being taken. In fact I only found him as a schoolboy, when he was enumerated in his parent’s home at the time. From other documents (in my ancestor’s case it was Hart’s Army Lists) you may be able to find a reason why your person is absent from the country and indeed I was able to pick mine up on findmypast’s passport applications, even though a passport was not a required document for people to travel with, as it has become today.

It would seem that my great-great uncle returned to the country at various times, resigning from the East India Company’s army, joining the British Army as a junior officer before resigning again after 2 years.

I was able to use the resources of post office directories on www.thegenealogist.co.uk to locate my ancestor and you may be lucky to find yours there, or in one of the ones available at www.historicaldirectories.org.

The outgoing ships passenger lists at Find My Past cover 1890 to 1960 and is another resource I’ve used to pin down my forebears with itchy feet.

A trip to the local county record office can provide you with the opportunity to take a look at Electoral Registers. If your ancestor was in business then you may well find that they had the vote not only in the ward where they lived, but also in the place where they carried out their business! This was the situation up until 1948 and university students could also vote at home as well as at their university address.

Other means of finding ancestors places of abode have been from birth, marriage and death certificates. I have tracked one ancestor’s house from the address he gave when reporting the death of his parent.

So just because a forebear doesn’t appear in the census doesn’t mean you can’t necessarily track them down and pin them on a map.

 

 

The websites that I use the most are Findmypast.co.uk and TheGenealogist.co.uk. Take your family history further by considering a subscription to these websites:

 

The Genealogist - UK census, BMDs and more online

 

 



Disclosure: The Links in the above are Compensated Affiliate links. If you click on them then I may be rewarded by Findmypast.co.uk or The Genealogist.co.uk should you sign up for their subscriptions.

 

 

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