Saturday, 9 July 2016

New military releases on Findmypast

Findmypast has recently made some major changes to its military collection.

For a start, the two service record collections which were previously known as British Army Service Records 1760-1915 and British Army Service Records 1914-1920 have now been merged into a single collection called simply British Army Service Records. This is a great improvement a) because the British Army Service Records 1914-1920 collection contained records going back a good way before 1914 anyway, and b) because it is now possible to see men who have files in more than one WO category.

Furthermore, Findmypast has also added to its store of WO records. New releases launched at the same time include the following series:

WO 76 - Regimental records of officers' services 1775-1914
Information varies but usually contains brief details of service. I found this particularly useful when I was looking at officers who had served in the Scottish Rifles.

WO 339 - Officers' services, First World War, regular army and emergency reserve officers 
This series is presented on Findmypast as index-only. The transcripts were created from records and correspondence related to officers in the regular army and the emergency reserve during the First World War. These records have not yet been digitised but can be viewed in their original state at The National Archives, Kew, London.

WO 374 - Officers' services, First World War, personal files 
This is an index of men who served as officers in the British Army during the First World War. Original papers for these men can be viewed in their original state at The National Archives, Kew, London. 
WO 400 - The Household Cavalry 1801-1919 
The Household Cavalry comprised the 1st Life Guards, 2nd Life Guards and the Royal Horse Guards. During the First World War, a fourth regiment, The Household Battalion, was also raised, and this collection contains the service records of non-commissioned officers and men who served with all four regiments. 

Findmypast also has also indexed WO 363 and WO 364 more comprehensively than Ancestry, although you'll still need Ancestry for medal index cards, medal rolls, soldiers effects register and war diaries (if you can find what you are looking for on their perplexing index, I might add).

I say it again and again, but there probably has never been a better time to be a family (or military) historian - and next week will probably be better still. And to think I used to have to trek up to Kew thirty years ago. The youngsters today, they don't know they were born!

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