The essential guide to Findmypast's global military records

3-4 minute read

By Niall Cullen | November 10, 2020

military records online

Findmypast has all the historical resources you need to trace your military ancestors and explore their remarkable life stories.

Many of us have family members who served in the armed forces. You may be aware of their military service through family stories from the two World Wars, or memorabilia and photographs. Perhaps you want to reveal more about their regiment, rank or role, or where they were active. Maybe you're looking for other ancestors with a military past. Whatever the reason behind your quest for family heroes, with millions of online military records, Findmypast is, without doubt, one of the best places you can come to find them.

This guide shows you the main family records to look for and how to use them to enhance your family tree.

What military records are online at Findmypast?

Our military service & conflict records are divided into several distinct sub-categories:

1. Regimental & service records

These records are usually very detailed and can reveal information on your ancestor that you won't find elsewhere. You can delve into millions of service records from Britain, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, United States and Canada within this category.

British Army Service Record

British Army Service Records can be extremely detailed.

2. First World War

As most families have a link to the Great War, this record collection is undoubtedly one of our most popular categories. There are over 80 separate record sets from all over the world in this collection. Highlights include America's World War 1 Draft Registration Cards, Ireland's National Roll Of Honour 1914-1921, the poignant All Australia Memorial and the fascinating WW1 Ships Lost At Sea, 1914-1919.

3. Second World War

Although many Second World War records are still inaccessible due to privacy laws, there are some resources available on Findmypast including casualty lists, US enlistments and an Army Roll Of Honour 1939-1945.


4. Service records

This category tends to contain service records from specific regiments or ranks including the Royal Navy, Royal Artillery and the Women's Army, as well records of soldiers and sailors in the American Civil War.

5. Other wars & conflicts

Our vast military collections feature records from history's most pivotal conflicts including the Korean War, Spanish Civil War, War of 1812, Falklands, Vietnam and the Napoleonic Wars.

6. Medal rolls and honours

If your military relative was awarded for their bravery, you could find them amongst Britain, Campaign, Gallantry & Long Service Medals & Awards or The London Gazette, Supplements August 1914 - January 1920.

7. Civil war & rebellion

This category includes fascinating records from Ireland's tumultuous history of rebellions including Easter Rising & Ireland Under Martial Law 1916-1921 and 1798 Claimants and Surrenders.

8. Boer Wars

You'll find military collections documenting the Anglo-Boer War 1899-1902 as well as a useful Anzac collection.

9. Government

Explore Britain, Enemy Aliens and Internees, First and Second World Wars to find out if your ancestors were suspected of being spies or interned by the British Government during either World War.

How to search military records

You can access our military records by clicking search on the blue menu on the site and selecting the 'Military service & conflict' category.

Military records search

From there, you'll be taken to the dedicated military, armed forces & conflict category search page where you can enter information about your ancestor and search the military records.

military records search

Our search page filters allow you to focus your search on a specific country or on any of the above sub-categories.

Military records search categories

For that much-needed context, why not delve into our History Hub? From the military in the 1921 Census to the Royal Navy during World War 1, there are so many fascinating stories to discover.

Findmypast's military records: FAQs

Can you look up military service records in the UK?

To trace the story of a military ancestor, you can start by searching their name within our military records collection. From medal rolls to medical paperwork, there are all manner of service records that may just shed light on the wartime experience of your forebear.

Are UK military records public?

Many service records are held by the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and Findmypast's partners, the National Archives (TNA) - these are available on request. If you're unable to find the record you're looking for within our military collection, you may be able to send off to receive a copy of a deceased person's military record from the MOD or the TNA.

What military records does Findmypast have?

Findmypast has over 51 million military and conflict records. Some of our most-used sets include British Army Service Records, Medal Rolls and Honours, British Red Cross Register of Overseas Volunteers 1914-1918, and WW1 Ships Lost at Sea, 1914-1919.

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About the author

Picture of Niall Cullen - Content Marketing LeadNiall Cullen