Tag Archives: family tree

Additional Military Records released by TheGenealogist

TheGenealogist has released some useful records this week for those who are researching their military ancestors. Here is the press release that gives you more information and a link to a fascinating article:

Military Records on TheGenealogist

TheGenealogist is pleased to announce it has added two new record sets that will be useful for researching the First World War and Victorian soldiers.

  • Part one of this release is The Worldwide Army Index for 1851, 1861 and 1871 which adds another name rich resource to the already vast Military record collections at TheGenealogist with over 600,000 records
  • Also released at the same time is another 3,368 pages from The Illustrated War News covering 6 September 1916 to 10 April 1918 and adding to those previously made available for this First World War paper from 1914 to 1916

The Worldwide Army Index for 1851, 1861 and 1871

If you have not found your ancestor in the various British census returns, and you know that they may have been serving at the time in the British Army, then this new release from TheGenealogist may help you to find these elusive subjects.

Many thousands of men of the British Army were serving overseas in far flung parts of the British Empire over the 1800s. This index of names is compiled from the musters contained in the WO 10-11-12 Series of War Office Paylists, held at the National Archives, Kew. The 1851, 1861 and 1871 Worldwide Army Index lists all officers* and other ranks serving in the first quarter of 1851 and second quarter of 1861 and 1871, together with their regimental HQ location. The index is, therefore, effectively a military surrogate for the relevant census.

Over 70,000 records have extra notes that can indicate whether a soldier was a recruit awaiting transfer to a regiment, detached from his regiment or attached to another, possibly discharged, on leave, had deserted or retired. Men identified as using aliases are also included. Many notes include a place of birth and former occupation.

Also included within the records are recruits, boy soldiers, bandsmen and civilians working in the armed forces as clerks, pension recruiters, teachers and suchlike. Colonial regiments which invariably had numbers of British subjects are also featured.

The Illustrated War News was a weekly magazine during the First World War, published by The Illustrated London News and Sketch Ltd. of London. The IWN publication contained illustrated reports related entirely to the war and comprised articles, photographs, diagrams and maps. From 1916 it was issued as a 40-page publication in portrait format, having been landscape prior to this. It claimed to have the largest number of artist-correspondents reporting on the progress of the war until it ceased publication in 1918.

To search these and many other records go to: https://www.thegenealogist.co.uk/search/advanced/military/muster-book-pay-list/

or read our article at: https://www.thegenealogist.co.uk/featuredarticles/2017/worldwide-army-index-1851-1861–1871-661/  

*While the 1851 and 1871 include officers, the 1861 index excludes officers as they were not mustered in all the Paylists.

New WW1 Records Released

New avenues of research are opened up by the latest release of unique Great War records online.

During the First World War many servicemen were reported as ‘Missing’ or ‘Killed in Action’ and for the first time you can now search a comprehensive list of these online. Usefully this includes the changing status of soldiers as the facts became clearer over time, as many assumed dead were found alive and those reported missing had their status updated.

TheGenealogist logo

This new release from TheGenealogist contains over 800,000 records. Included are 575,000 Killed in Action records, over 226,000 unique Missing-in-Action records and 14,000 Status Updates.

Over 100,000 people previously reported as missing had further status updates:

  • 59,500 were later reported as killed

  • 47,400 were later reported as PoW

  • 2,000 were later reported as rejoined

  • 4,200 were later reported as “not missing”

  • 8,400 were later reported as wounded

Mark Bayley, Head of Online Content at TheGenealogist comments:

“The telegrams and published lists of Dead and Missing must have had a huge impact on the lives of our ancestors. These records give an insight into what must have been an emotional roller coaster. They also give new avenues of research into what some researchers may have assumed were dead ends.”

These records are now available to Diamond subscribers of TheGenealogist.

Example 1 Thought to be dead

Some people initially reported to be dead may turn out to be alive; the change in status is usually reported in the War Lists. If it had been assumed that an ancestor was dead, from the initial report, it could reopen a closed off branch of a family tree for further research.

An example of this type of positive record status change is Flight Sub Lieutenant Trechmann who was first reported as “Died As A Prisoner” in the Daily Lists of 6th June 1917.

Flight Sub Lieutenant Trechmann who was first reported as “Died As A Prisoner” in the Daily Lists of 6th June 1917.

By the end of July 1917 his status changed to Previously Reported Died As A Prisoner, Now Reported Alive and Still a Prisoner.

Finally, in December 1918, his records show that he was Repatriated.

PoW camp in the image archives on TheGenealogist

Example 2 Thought to be wounded

A different illustration, on many levels, is that of the 5th Earl of Longford. Within the Daily Casualty List on TheGenealogist for the 6th September 1915, we can find Lord Longford who had previously been reported as “Wounded”.

5th Earl Of Longford

Lord Longford "Wounded" 6 Sep 1915 in records on TheGenealogistHis status was then changed to be “Now Reported Wounded and Missing” and this alteration appeared in the daily list of the 27th September 1915

Lord Longford Previously Reported Wounded in Military records on TheGenealogist

During the First World War, Brigadier-General Lord Longford was in command of a division sent from their base in Egypt to Suvla on the Gallipoli peninsula as reinforcements during the Battle of Sari Bair.

The initial attack by other Divisions on Scimitar Hill had failed. With his men waiting in reserve, the 5th Earl and his troops were then ordered to advance in the open across a dry salt lake. Under fire, most of the brigades had taken shelter, but Lord Longford led his men in a charge to capture the summit of Scimitar Hill. Unfortunately, during the advance, he was killed.

Earl Longford’s body was never recovered and so, in the confusion of war, he was first recorded as “Wounded”, and then “Wounded and Missing”. Eventually, in 1916, he would be assumed to be dead.

Posterity tells us that the peer’s last words were recorded as: “Don’t bother ducking, the men don’t like it and it doesn’t do any good”.

To read more about these records and to read a featured article on TheGenalogist here.

Another interesting episode…

I found the Nigel Havers episode of Who Do You Think You Are? last night on BBC1 another interesting and very watchable programme, following on from Una Stubbs and her journey last week. The series so far does seem to have improved in format, coupled with some very interesting family history stories.

Last night’s episode was both interesting and varied. Ranging from a clever businessman in Colchester who suffered ill-fortune and bankruptcy after building up a very successful set of businesses, to the life and times of his ancestors who worked in a mill in Cornwall who suffered both personal tragedy and scandal. All a far cry from the posh actor from a recent legal dynasty!

Hopefully the TV series continues to be as good as the first two episodes. I’m already looking forward to the Minnie Driver programme next week!

Nigel Havers family history
Not quite as posh as we expected, Nigel Havers on Who Do You Think You Are?

New ‘Family Tree’ comedy series starts tomorrow

The new genealogy comedy series ‘Family Tree’ starts tomorrow (Tuesday 16 July) on BBC2 at 10pm. Starring Chris O’Dowd and Nina Conti, it follows one man on his search to discover his roots and the unintentionally hilarious consequences of his search.

Genealogy is new territory for comedy so it will be interesting to see how good the series is. Much of the script is improvised which also adds to the unique nature of the programme.

The series has already started in the U.S. and reviews so far have been positive. For those that choose to watch the programme tomorrow, we’d be interested in your views!

Family Tree TV programme
Chris O’Dowd in Family Tree