Researching ancestors 1914-1918 (Great War)

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Researching ancestors 1914-1918 (Great War)

Postby apowell » Thu Sep 19, 2013 7:43 am

Military Documents

British Army WWI Service Records, 1914-1920 (National Archives & ancestry-paid subscription)
Approximately 5 million men served in the British Army in World War One (WWI). This database contains the surviving service records of non-commissioned officers and other ranks who served in WWI and did not re-enlist in the Army prior to World War II. With the final release, this database now contains the entire service records collection.

These records contain a variety of forms, including:
•Attestation forms - the form completed by the individual on enlistment
•Medical history forms
•Casualty forms
•Disability statements
•Regimental conduct sheets
•Awards
•Proceedings on Discharge
•Cover for Discharge Documents
•Index Cards

Information available in these records includes:
•Name of soldier
•Age
•Birthplace
•Occupation
•Marital status
•Regimental number
•Date of attestation
•Physical description

Historical Background:
The British Army World War One Service Records are War Office (WO) records also known as the WO363 records and the ‘Burnt Documents.’ In 1940 there was a World War Two bombing raid on the War Office in London where the records were held. During this raid, a large portion (approximately 60 per cent) of the 6.5 million records was destroyed by fire. The surviving service records have become known as the ‘Burnt Documents’.

Tips and Notes:
•Some records may have been stored and/or filmed in incorrect alphabetical order.
•Some records may appear to be out of order due to a misspelling or misreading of the name.
•Some soldiers did not record their first names; some of them only used initials, and others used nicknames or diminutive names.

British Army WWI Pension Records 1914-1920 (National Archives & ancestry-paid subscription)
This database contains service records of non-commissioned officers and other ranks who were discharged from the Army and claimed disability pensions for service in WWI. These were also men who did not re-enlist in the Army prior to World War II. Approximately 5 million men served in the British Army in World War One (WWI) and these records contain many of them, especially if they claimed a pension.

These records contain a variety of forms, including:
•Attestation forms - the form completed by the individual on enlistment
•Medical history forms
•Casualty forms
•Disability statements
•Regimental conduct sheets
•Awards

Information available in these records includes:
•Name of soldier
•Age
•Birthplace
•Occupation
•Marital status
•Regimental number
•Date of attestation
•Physical description

Historical Background:
The British Army World War One Pension Records are War Office (WO) records also known as the WO364 records and the ‘Unburnt collection’, due to these records surviving a World War Two bombing raid on the War Office in London where they were held. During this raid, a large portion (approximately 60 per cent) of the British Army World War One Service Records, also known as the WO363 records were destroyed by fire. The surviving service records have also become known as the ‘Burnt collection’.

Tips and Notes:
•These records are unlikely to contain information on individuals who did not claim a pension.
•These records are unlikely to contain documents on soldiers who were killed in action and had no dependents (as there would have been no one to claim a pension).
•These records are unlikely to contain documents on soldiers who were discharged from demobilization at the end of the war and did not claim a pension (since they were generally not eligible for one).
•Some records may have been stored and/or filmed in incorrect alphabetical order.
•Some records may appear to be out of order due to a misspelling or misreading of the name.
•Some soldiers did not record their first names; some of them only used initials, and others used nicknames or diminutive names.

British Army WWI Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-1920 (National Archives & ancestry-paid subscription)
This database contains the Medal Rolls Index, or Medal Index Cards. The collection currently contains approximately 4.8 million people, which is nearly all of the total collection. The records can be searched by first and last name and Corps, Unit or Regiment. These cards were created by the Army Medal Office (AMO) of the United Kingdom in Droitwich near the close of World War I (WWI).

The Medal Index Cards collection is the most complete listing of individuals who fought in the British Army in WWI, containing approximately 90% of soldiers’ names. The Index Cards were created in order to keep in one place details about a soldier’s medal entitlement.

Who were Awarded Medals?
Certain requirements needed to be met in order to qualify for certain medals (see medal descriptions below). However, nearly all soldiers who served abroad were awarded at least one medal.

About the Index Cards:
There is both a front and back side to each card. Cards are arranged alphabetically by soldiers’ surnames. There are a few different card forms that were used, so the amount of information recorded will vary. However, the type of information that may be found on the cards includes:
•Name of soldier

•Regiment

•Corps

•Rank(s)

•Regiment number(s)

•Name of medal(s) received

•Roll and page numbers (references to the original AMO medal rolls)

•Theater of war served in and date of entry

•Date of enlistment

•Date and reason of discharge

•Remarks

•Correspondence notes

•Address

UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919 (National Archives & ancestry-paid subscription)
In 1921 His Majesty's Stationery Office published, on behalf of and by authority of the War Office, two lists of those who died during the Great War. One volume, packed with minute typescript, gave the basic details of nearly 42,000 officer casualties. It required an additional eighty volumes to list all the 'other ranks' who gave their lives. Each of the original volumes represented one or more regiments, corps or other units of the British Army. Most were subdivided into battalions or similar groupings. There were often thirty or more of these per volume, each in alphabetical order.

This database contains information extracted from these volumes and includes over 703,000 individuals. Information listed about an individual may include:
•Name

•Birthplace

•Enlistment place

•Residence

•Number

•Decoration

•Rank

•Regiment

•Battalion

•Type of casualty

•Death date

•Death place

•Theater of war

Great Britain, Royal Naval Division Casualties of The Great War, 1914-1924 (National Archives & ancestry-paid subscription)
This database is a register of the deaths of Royal Navy servicemen who served in the Royal Naval Division (RND) in World War I (WWI). It was compiled from original service records and all other sources listing RND casualties.

Historical Background:
The RND was a unique formation in WWI, raised by the Admiralty to serve in their then traditional role as Infantrymen fighting ‘shoulder to shoulder’ alongside their Army comrades in an emergency. The RND originally consisted of three Infantry Brigades (two Naval and one Royal Marine) of twelve Battalions (eight Naval and four Royal Marine). As the war progressed, casualties and a lack of recruits forced the RND to steadily reduce their Naval personnel establishment. Two Naval Battalions were disbanded in June 1915; the Royal Marine Brigade and two Royal Marine Battalions were disbanded in August 1915. Two more Naval Battalions were disbanded in February 1918 and one Royal Marine Battalion in April 1918. At the war’s end the RND’s Naval strength maintained only two Brigades of five Battalions (four Naval and one Royal Marine Battalion). The Army supplied the shortfall in Battalions & Brigades to the establishment of the Division from July 1916 onwards.

The following is a list of all the branches of the Royal Navy that served in the RND:
•Royal Fleet Reserve (RFR)

•Royal Marine or Royal Marines (RM)

•Royal Marine Artillery (RMA)

•Royal Marine Band (RMB)

•Royal Marine Labour Corps (RMLC)

•Royal Marine Light Infantry (RMLI)

•Royal Navy (RN)

•Royal Naval Reserve (RNR)

•Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (RNVR)

•Royal Naval Auxiliary Sick Berth Reserve (RNASBR)

Individuals listed in this database include:
•All Naval servicemen who died in RND service, 1914-1919

•All Naval servicemen who died after leaving the RND, aboard ship, ashore, or after discharge from Naval service up to 1926, with special dispensation in individual cases up to 1942

•Army troops who died while serving in an otherwise exclusive Naval Battalion or unit

•Ex-Naval/RND personnel who transferred from service in the Army or Air Force

•Army officers drafted to the RND for service, often in a senior capacity, with Naval and Royal Marine Battalions

Royal Navy ratings' service records 1853-1923 (National Archives online fee payable)
Available here are over 600,000 Royal Navy service records for ratings who joined the service between 1853 and 1923. Some of the records cover periods of service up to 1928.

The original records are in two series at The National Archives:
•continuous service engagement books from 1853 to 1872, in series ADM 139
•registers of seamen's services from 1873 to 1923, in series ADM 188

Royal Marines' service records 1842-1925 (National Archives online fee payable)
These are the service registers of around 110,000 men who joined the Royal Marines between 1842 and 1925. These records, in series ADM 159, were originally created in 1884 but include records created retrospectively for anyone who had joined earlier and was still serving in 1884.

To view records of commissioned officers of the Royal Marines, see Royal Naval officers' service records.

What information do the records contain?

The information in these records typically includes:
•date and place of birth
•occupation
•religion
•date and place of enlistment
•physical description
•names of ships and shore stations served on
•details of conduct or promotion
•medal entitlement

CWGC
Commemorate the 1,700,000 men and women of the Commonwealth forces who died in the two world wars. Our cemeteries, burial plots and memorials are a lasting tribute to those who died in some 153 countries across the world. Our Register records details of Commonwealth war dead so that graves or names on memorials can be located.

Website links:
http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_National_Archives_(UK) (information only)
http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/CWGC (information only)
http://www.cwgc.org
http://www.ancestry.com (paid subscription)
http://www.findmypast.co.uk (Paid subscription/pay as you go vouchers)
http://www.forces-war-records.co.uk (paid subscription)
http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk (documents can be viewed for free at the National Archives or ordered-fee payable)
http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documentsonline (documents can be viewed online-fee payable)


Please note other websites may also offer military records, the ones listed are only for reference and not a recommendation
apowell
 
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