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Invaluable insights into your military ancestors throughout the wars

3-4 minute read

By Jessie O'Hara

12 November 2021
New military records on Findmypast

Between our almost five-decade long Indian Army Service Records and the release of our more focused Greater Burnley Roll of Honour, who's to say what stories your military ancestors will tell?

The best way we can salute our military ancestors is by honouring their memory through research. With more service records and poignant Roll of Honour records now published, the scope for discovering the stories of our family that fought only ever increases. Make sure to check out what's new with Findmypast every Friday to keep up to date with our weekly releases.

These newly-released Indian Army records of service store detailed information for more than 12,000 military officers throughout the wars. From captains to conductors, colonels to cooks, these documents provide invaluable insights into the lives of those that served.

Women during the wars

Dotted throughout the Indian Army Service Records are the few female privates that served in the Women’s Auxiliary Corps, India. Formed in 1942, these women relieved service personnel in the Army, Navy, and Air Forces, providing invaluable support throughout the war. Take a look at Kathleen Mary Upson's service record, for example - this incredible woman was a commander in the Indian Army from 1945-1946.

This focused collection details those from the Greater Burnley area of Lancashire that lost their lives during the First World War.

Though most of these records specify everything from regiment to home address, some entries go as far as to note the nature of a soldier's death, or even pay homage to his honours and awards.

Uncovering history with regiment numbers

Many British Service records were destroyed over the course of the wars, which means picking apart the existing ones becomes all the more important. In this video, expert Paul Nixon explains how you can uncover your military history through understanding the system of regiment numbers and their issue dates.

British Army Regimental Numbers

With so many British Army service records destroyed by over-zealous Whitehall clerks on the one hand, and German bomber crews on the other, making the most of what does survive, takes on added importance. In this webinar, Paul will explain how the regimental numbering system was operated between 1881 and 1920 and how you can unpick your British Army ancestor's past by working out when regimental numbers were issued.

Posted by Findmypast on Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Researching military ancestors: tips and tricks

  • Make sure to browse our record collections before you search for specific names. This will help narrow down your search by pinpointing which record sets are most relevant to you. This particularly useful if you have a John Smith in the family...
  • Use the functions provided, such as name variants, and be flexible with the year you're searching. Even if you think you know all there is about your ancestor, their name could have been recorded incorrectly, or recorded under a nickname.
  • Don’t forget your own attic. Check your family home for old photographs, journals, letters, even engraved jewellery - sometimes, the most valuable information we have is in our own hands.

Hot off the press

We have added 11 new titles to our extensive newspaper archive, from Liverpool to Lincolnshire, and updated 30 of our existing ones.

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Findmypast Fridays Live

At Findmypast, we believe connecting with your ancestors from the past has potential to change the future. For this reason, all of our military records are free to view from 10:00 on Thursday 11 November to 10:00 on Monday 15 November. Make sure to tag us on social @findmypast with your discoveries.