Soldiers Who Died in the First World War added to TheGenealogist
As the anniversary of the beginning of World War I took place recently many new databases have made it online to help us search for our brave ancestors. One such release is from TheGenealogist and is the Soldiers Who Died in this war.
This detailed record set covers over 650,000 individuals who died in the First World War. Details include name, rank, regiment, place of birth, place of residence, place of enlistment, service number and the cause, date and place of death. These records are uniquely linked to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission to show you where your ancestor is commemorated.
Soldiers Who Died in the Great War has been added to the huge military collection on TheGenealogist, encompassing many unique record sets from Casualty Lists and War Memorials, to Rolls of Honour and more.
This site is family owned and seems to have a very friendly feel to it. At a time when others are being accused of not listening I have found that the team at TheGenealogist responded rapidly to any glitches I have had with the interface in the past. Indeed one such problem I had a few months back was fixed in minutes!
It tells of their most recent release of World War I records and the unique nature of the launch that links records of Soldiers who died in the First World War to their war graves.
These War Office records give full details about a soldier and are linked to where they are buried or commemorated on a memorial.
For the first time it is now possible to find the death record of an ancestor who fought and died in the First World War and with one further mouse-click, discover where they are buried or commemorated through a unique link to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website which provides colour images and details on the War Cemetery including exact location, brief history of the regiments involved and the battles fought.
In a matter of seconds it is possible to trace an ancestor and gain an idea of the history of the battle or military importance of the location of where they fell. It really helps speed up your military research.
From 16 year old Private John Parr, who was the first British soldier to be killed in action on the 21st August 1914 on a patrol north east of Mons, to the last British soldier to die, Private George Edwin Ellison, who fought in most of the major World War One battles only to be killed an hour and a half before the Armistice on 11 November 1918 on patrol on the outskirts of Mons. Both John Parr and George Ellison are buried facing each other at the St Symphorien Military Cemetery having fought and died in ironically the same area of the Western Front, only four years apart emphasising the stalemate of the First World War.
The records link through to TheGenealogist’s other unique military records such as Prisoner of War records, casualty lists and war memorials. For instance you can find the record of Harry Topliffe within this new record set, showing us he enlisted with the Duke of Cambridge’s Own (Middlesex Regiment) and was living in Stamford Brook, Middlesex.
Harry was posted to Mesopotamia to fight the Turkish Army. A Prisoner of War record shows that he was imprisoned in Kut-El-Amara and a casualty list record shows that he died there, as a Prisoner. Harry is also listed in TheGenealogist’s War Memorial records, on a memorial within the Harrod’s store in London (he was an employee within the removals department). TheGenealogist then uniquely links to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission to show that he was buried in the Baghdad North Gate War Cemetery.
The 650,000 records of the soldiers who died in the First World War provide full details of the serviceman, including full name, where they were born, place of residence, place of enlistment, their rank and service number, cause and date of death and the regiment they served with.
Mark Bayley, Head of Online Content at TheGenealogist.co.uk, comments: “This latest release adds to our unique military collection. These records are great for those looking into what happened to their ancestor in the First World War. With the direct link from the soldiers who died on to the various other collections we hold, along with a link to where they are commemorated, one click gives you the story behind your ancestor’s military history.”
Disclosure: Compensated affiliate links are used in this post.
Following on from last week’s post, about the Memorial Awareness Board’s photographic competition, comes this interesting project from S&N Genealogy and TheGenealogist.
As family historians we are all, no doubt, well aware of experiencing that thrill when finding the grave of an ancestor in some churchyard or cemetery. I also know the frustration of knowing that a forebear was buried in a particular burial ground but not being able to find them. Perhaps because their memorial stone had been taken down when it became dangerous, or simply that the inscription had decayed over the years from the onslaught of the British weather.
Headstones nationwide are suffering from erosion, and burial grounds from closures for new developments. We need to act now to preserve these crumbling records.
If you, like me, are interested in helping to achieve this then you may want to join this new project where you can earn credits towards a subscription with TheGenealogist or products from S&N Genealogy. All you need to do is photograph and transcribe headstones from local churchyards and cemeteries from your part of the country.
As S&N Genealogy writes, in their most recent newsletter, they are aiming at building the most comprehensive record of gravestones for family research and help preserve the memories these fragile stones provide.
I applaud them for doing this and make no mistake, I for one shall be contributing my part.
I was drawn to a memorial in an old municipal cemetery, this week, for a sailor who had drowned in some foreign sea. His name had been added to those of his parents, whose grave it was, and it struck me that it must have been hard for his family to have no place to mourn for him, as he was lost at sea. Perhaps that was why they had commemorated him on a family gravestone.
I have been using the Naval History website at http://www.naval-history.net to find out more about the Royal Navy in the Great War and then this week I got a notification from Findmypast that they had just published some fascinating new military records online, in partnership with The National Archives.
Findmypast say: “Over 500 British Royal Navy ships were lost at sea during the First World War. Thanks to these new records, you can now discover more about the vessels that were destroyed.
“The WW1 Ships Lost at Sea records are available on all Findmypast websites and can provide the following information:
Â·Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Ship name
Â·Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Date it was destroyed
Â·Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Number of officers killed or wounded
Ahead of Remembrance Day, Ancestry.co.uk, has today launched online the UK, WWII Civilian Deaths, 1939-1945 collection, listing the thousands ofBritish citizens killed on the â€˜Home Frontâ€™ during the Second World War.
The records, originally compiled by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, list almost 60,000 members of the British Commonwealth and Empire who were killed as a result of enemy action whilst going about their everyday lives or while at their posts as members of the Civil Defence Services.
The majority of the names listed were civilians killed in the aerial bombings by the German Luftwaffe (air force) as it attempted to bring Britain to its knees. These attacks on British cities, which took place from September 1940 to May 1941 are known collectively as The Blitz and led to around 40,000 deaths.
Nearly half of those killed in The Blitz (17,500) were Londoners, but several other cities were also badly hit, with Liverpool next worst off in terms of civilian deaths (2,677) followed by Birmingham, Bristol, Hull, Plymouth, Coventry, Portsmouth, Belfast and Glasgow.
Among the 59,418 names listed in the records is James Isbister, considered the first civilian casualty of WWII on home soil. He was killed in March 1940, when German bombers attacking Scapa Flow Naval Base, Orkney, jettisoned their remaining bombs over civilian territory as they fled back to Germany.
Hundreds of British civilians lost their lives before this point, most commonly in sea disasters when civilian ships hit military mines during the early months of the war. As the war progressed deaths at sea became all the more common, with thousands lost, as Germany used submarines to sink merchant ships in an attempt to restrict supplies to Britain.
More than 2,300 Civil Defence Service members also gave their lives whilst on duty, including air raid wardens, home guard, and members of the Womenâ€™s Voluntary Services.
One of the most notable names in the collection is actor and star of Gone With The Wind,Leslie Howard. He was killed in 1943 when the civilian airliner he was travelling in to Bristol was shot down. Historians have since suggested that the Luftwaffe may have attacked the non-military plane because German Intelligence believed Prime Minister Winston Churchill to be on board.
Before the war it was feared a sustained campaign of aerial bombings would lead to more than 600,000 deaths and as a result the 1937 Air Raid Precautions Act forced local councils to make provisions for defence. These varied from a widespread imposed blackout of all lighting from public and commercial buildings to the construction of bomb shelters and provision of gas masks.
The government also implemented widespread evacuation of major cities, with OperationPied Piper responsible for the relocation of more than 3.5 million people – mainly urban children moved to safer homes in rural areas.
Several other famous names of the day can also be found within the digital records, including:
Albert Dolphinâ€“ Dolphin was working as an emergency hospital porter at what is today New Cross Hospital London when a bomb hit the kitchens of the building. A true Home Front hero, Albert rushed to the aid of a nurse trapped in wreckage and protected her as a damaged wall gave way. He was killed saving her life and was posthumously awarded the George Cross for his bravery.
James Baldwin-Webb MP â€“ Baldwin-Webb, MP for The Wrekin in Shropshire and one of the most famous civilians of the day, was lost at sea. In September 1940, whilst travelling to Canada to fundraise for the Ambulance Corps, his liner SS City of Benares was torpedoed by a German submarine. He stayed aboard the ship to assist women and children onto lifeboats before going down with the ship.
Arthur Bacon â€“ Bacon was a popular footballer, playing as a striker at Reading, Chesterfield and Coventry City â€“ scoring 71 goals between 1923 and 1935. After his footballing career he served as a Special Constable in Derby where he was killed in 1942 (aged 37) during an air raid.
Miriam Silverman, UK Content Manager, from Ancestry.co.ukcomments: â€œAs we approach Remembrance Sunday, itâ€™s important to not only remember those heroes who served and died in conflict but the thousands of ordinary people who lost their lives in Britain and the Commonwealth whilst battling to keep the country running at a very difficult time.
â€œThis collection gives people the chance to find out about any Home Front heroes that might be in their family tree, and adds to the millions of military records available on Ancestry.co.uk from the past 100 years and more.â€
Ancestry.co.uk is providing free access to 3.6 million military recordsÂ between 8th and 12th November, including WWI Service Records 1914 â€“ 1920, WWII Army Roll of Honour 1939 â€“ 1945, Navy Medal and Roll Awards 1793 â€“ 1972 and Victoria Cross Medals 1857 â€“ 2007. To search for the war heroes in your family tree, visitwww.ancestry.co.uk/start_military Â
Disclosure: Links are compensated affiliate links.
With a little time on my hands this week I’ve been researching my late Godmother’s family, the Kerdals who ran a very successful shop in St Helier that went under the name of Maison Kerdal from at least the year 1893.
Monsieur and Madame Kerdal were French nationals who moved to Jersey, met and married in St Thomas’ church and set up a general grocer’s shop in St Helier. They then had several children including my godmother, whose nickname throughout her life was “Mimi”, though it bore no relation to her given names of Julia Marie Felicite.
Mimi, I can remember, had many tales to tell of her family and its business and at the time she was living I paid only a passing interest. It is so often the lament, of family historians, to claim that they wished they had taken more notice of these stories told by their seniors when alive, and in this case I can confirm that I again fall into this category.
So starting from my hazy recollections of Mimi’s remembrances I thought it was time to take a look at what records survive.
One of Mimi’s stories, that I recall, was of her saying that as a girl she was not at all interested in working in the shop and was once left in charge of it, in her parent’s absence, and simply threw the money given by the customers onto the shelf under the counter for her parents to account for on their return! This was recounted with a wicked grin on her elderly face as she felt sorry for the trouble she caused her parents.
Another memory was that her father moved the business, in the late 1800s, to a corner opposite the General Post Office in Grove Place, St Helier and then, when the GPO moved to Broad Street, he moved the family to live above a grander shop on the King Street/New Cut corner so as again to be close to the footfall that the Post Office provided.
My investigation, this week, began online at TheGeneoligist.co.uk to use their master search and found Julien Kerdal in the 1889 Kelly’s Directory of the Channel Isles at 7 Burrard Street in the trade of Wine and Spirit Merchant and in the 1911 Kellys listed as a Grocer at 45 King Street and again in 1939 as Wine and Spirit Merchant.
In the 1901 census, on TheGeneoligist, M.Kerdal has been listed as a Potato and Butter Merchant and in the 1911 in his own handwriting he has stated that he is simply a Grocer.
Mimi, meanwhile, was a boarder in 1911 in a convent school in Wales run by a group of French Nuns.
I then took a walk to the Jersey Archive. Here I looked at the parent’s Aliens Registration Cards (the children, being born in Jersey, were British and had no need for cards), the rates books to determine when each move was made, the death indexes – provided by the Channel Island Family History Society – to find when they died and where they were buried and the actual will testaments.
Armed with the information, I had gleaned, I was able to visit the sites of their various shops as they moved from Bath Street, to Burrard Street and then to King Street – the main high street of St Helier. I was able to pay a visit to the Almorah Cemetery, above St Helier, to find their graves and notice how so many are unloved and damaged by the years of rain and growth of holly and ivy.
Family history is an absorbing pastime when you mix together the dates, names and information that you obtain from a data collection, with a visit to the actual places where your forebears tread. It is then that it comes to life.
Check out the powerful Master Search tool that is a particularly different feature of TheGenealogist.co.uk where all the records on their site are easily accessible at the click of a button.
Allowing you to use one simple form to search across millions of records, including Parish Records, Wills, Newspapers, Census, Non-Conformist Registers, and more, I used this to research the Kerdal family online.
The simple to use interface allows you to search for a person, family, or an address, incorporating the previous searches such as the Family Forename Search, House & Street Search, and Keyword Master Search.
Disclosure: The above links are compensated affiliate links.
Many of us are keen to get on and fill out our family trees with generation after generation of ancestors. We can be in such a rush, to see how far back we can get with a direct line, that we so often ignore the siblings and others in the extended family.
We probably all know that there is a better way to understand our forebears lives. We really should try to include as many others in the family tree as our direct line ancestor usually didn’t live in isolation. They may have had any number of brothers and sisters, cousins, aunts and uncles, all of whom can help us ascertain who is the correct individual when we hit that problem of two John Smiths born in the same year in the same parish!
One way that we may come up against other family members is when they appear as informants to the registrar on the death of one of our ancestors.
Sometimes we may see names that we don’t recognise in the column, perhaps they are the married daughter whose surname now gives us a clue as to whom she married. Or we find our direct line ancestor’s address, as I did when he reported the death of his father to the registrar and the address he gave was different from the address listed in the census six years earlier. I could now see where he had moved to between the decennial census.
I know that we seem to be more naturally drawn to the births and marriages of people, but don’t ignore the deaths. When we are dealing with the period after 1837, in England and Wales and the GRO civil registration, it is so easy to make a decision not to order a death certificate based on the cost. But this can mean you’ll miss something. A death certificate can give us clues and more about our departed ancestor that we will not pick up elsewhere.
When I started out on this hobby I was told by a professional genealogist that I really must â€œkill off my ancestors!â€ I was unconvinced, but in the years since I have seen how correct this advice has been.
This week I bought a new family history book, written by Celia Heritage, to go in my library.
I have to say that I am thoroughly enjoying reading it for the great information that it provides. Tracing Your Ancestors through Death RecordsÂ has showed me how to find, read and interpreted death records and also how to garner as much information as possible from them. In many cases, she argues, they can be used as a starting point for developing your family history research into other equally rewarding areas.
After reading chapter 1, I was then able to get a snap shot into my past family’s life from the deaths of my 3x great-grandparents and all from taking another look at their death certificates.
The husband died in 1866 in Charles Street, Dartmouth and his son reported the death having been “present at the death” meaning that he was in the house. The son (my 2x great-grandfather) gave his address as “Church Path, Dartmouth”.
When the wife and mother died in 1868, she died in the son’s house, in Church Path, but the informant, “present at the death”, was a lady whose address was in the street that the older couple had formally lived. I was able to go back to the census and see that they had been neighbours. Perhaps they were very close, who can tell?
So I am assuming that the son took his mother into his own house, from this. But that a friend, from around the corner, was looking after my 3x great-grandmother when she passed away and it was she who informed the registrar of the death. Now this paints a bit more of a picture, don’t you think?
Â Disclosure: Links to the book in this post are compensated affiliate links that may mean I get rewarded by the publisher should you buy the book.
Many of us have a desire to know more about the generations that preceded us and about our roots. We may have become fascinated about where our family originated from; what it was that they did for a living and in what conditions they lived. If your forebears came from England & Wales, then you will want to know what records you can access and where to look for them.
I am Nick Thorne, The Nosey Genealogist, and I have just published an amazon Kindle book called: How to Search for Your English & Welsh Family History. In it I lead the reader through some of the research work that you will probably need to undertake to pursue these goals. Assuming that you have a yearning to find out more about your British roots, this is a concise introduction to English & Welsh family history which can help you in your quest.
I include a look at online and offline records,starting with the census collections and the civil registration data. Different types of Parish Records are dealt with in one chapter including the Dade and Barrington registers. If your ancestor is missing from the church records, then I explain where to find the Bishop’s transcripts and what these copies are.
Baptismal, marriage and burial records are not the only records that were locked away in the Parish Chest and so I look at some of the other documents that may have survived.
Researching records of a marriage and what a Clandestine marriage was are included in this short book as is an explanation of why your ancestor may have had a double baptism. Nonconformist, those of a Christian denomination other than the Church of England, and parish graves are investigated, as is researching records of a marriage, illegitimacy and stumbling blocks in the parish records.
If you don’t have a Kindle then you can download Kindle for PC from amazon and read Kindle books directly on your PC!
If you want a concise book on English an Welsh Family history then click the button to Buy from Amazon in the box below.
I have been doing some family history research this week to try and find a burial plot for someone that had been killed in action in World War II.
The information that I had passed on to me, identified a particular cemetery and came with a plot number. This seemed to circumnavigate a great deal of time for me searching out the details myself. On visiting that burial ground, however, the gave in the particular plot belonged to a completely different named family and was not that of the fallen soldier that I was looking for. The details had come to me via a member of the family and had been given to them by an archivist for one of the British Army’s Regiments. Somehow the cemetery that the soldier was buried in had become mixed up with another one in the same town and supplied in error.
On realising that the details that I had were wrong, I went back to basics and did a search of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website. Here I was able to find the correct burial ground to go and visit and locate the grave in question.
The actual grave itself also cleared up some other queries that I had, as it was shared with members of the man’s maternal family as well as his father. What it revealed was that theÂ maternal surname was spelt differently from that which we had previously been given to understand and that his grandmother’s first name was not Daisy but was actually Minnie.
The lesson that I took away, yet again, is that information passed down a family can become clouded. Perhaps Minnie was always known as Daisy and her nick name had been remembered, while her given name had been forgotten, or it was just a simple mistake in recalling the name.
Surnames can be spelt differently. An example is that mine is Thorne with an “e”. But go back four generations and my ancestor spelt it without an “e” for part of his life and with one for the latter part. His father spelt it without.
The best rule of Family History is to always check details of ancestors in primary sources and to beware of transcription errors, those mistakes made in family folklore and second-hand information in general.
With Remembrance Sunday just passed yesterday, I guess many of you may have turned your minds, like I did, to where can we find our ancestors who fought in the wars and conflicts that have taken place.
It seems, rather sadly, that it is easier to find records for British service personnel that died in action than the survivors. There is the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, local war memorials and rolls of honour, local newspaper archives amongst other places to find “The Glorious Dead”.
If, like me, you had a father who served in the Merchant Navy in the Second World War, then you can find the details of merchant seamen’s medal cards at the National Archives documents online.
The official journals of the the British Government, the London, Edinburgh and Belfast Gazettes are great places to start looking for promotions, awards of gallantry medals and honours and the details of the commissioning and promotions of officers in the British Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force.
Service Records are more difficult to find. A large number of WWI records have been lost to bombing in the Second World War, but as officer’s records were not stored in the same place, you have a better chance of uncovering these. To find a soldier requires the researcher to know the regiment and service number of their ancestor. A tip I read in the Your Family Tree Magazine last monthÂ (Issue 96 November 2010) was that as most service men were awarded at least one medal then the name indexes to the medal rolls are a good place to start researching.