Friday, 26 March 2010

More on WO 97

The screen above shows the search screen that users are presented with if they wish to search the British Army Service Records 1760-1913 on Find My Past.

Searching this category is NOT AVAILABLE as part of the trumpeted FREE Trial. So if you were hoping to have a fortnight's freebie (as I was) forget it.

At first glance there doesn't appear to be the facility to search by regiment. However, it is there, it's lurking behind the advanced search tab (above). Click on the regiment and you're presented with drop-down options. Some regiments though, are missing. Where, for instance is the South Yorkshire Regiment, the predecessor of the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry?

I ran a search on men who'd joined the The Scots Guards in 1882. The results (below) are useful in that they show where the men were born - and therefore give some indication (for the most part) where men were recruited. However, the omission of the man's number is a serious flaw. I'm a number cruncher. I like army numbers - see my Army Service Numbers blog - and not being able to see these here makes it unlikely that I'll use the service.

Also, as far as value for money is concerned, Ancestry wins hands down. Find my Past will sell you a bundle of 60 credits for seven pounds. That will buy you access to a measly ten records or so. That's probably enough for an occasional researcher but a serious military historian is going to have to cough up 150 quid for a year's subscription (or ninety-five pounds for six months).

Nevertheless, WO 97 is a fantastic military resource, and a real feather in the FMP cap.

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