War Records, New Additions and Free Access for a Limited Time

War Grave Records Family HistoryAncestry is offering free access to some of their WW1 records between 9 and 12 November. To view these records you will need to register for free with Ancestry.co.uk with your name and email address.

Ancestry has also added Commonwealth War Grave Records 1914 – 1947 which give information on the location of grave, service imagenumber and names of next of kin of the deceased. Plus the other addition is British Officer Prisoners of War 1914 – 1918 which provides the ranks, regiments and dates of capture and release for more than 8,000 officers.


Online Military Library

Forces War Records

Just received a press release from Dominic Hayhoe of Forces War Records about the launch of a their new digital library of historic documents, books, newspapers and magazines, some more than a hundred years old.

Dominic Hayhoe from Forces War Records said “Whilst we’ve been adding records as fast as we can to the main site, we’ve collated a huge amount of books, newspapers and magazines that although they don’t have name records in, are invaluable for research purposes with details about regiments, battles, medals, individual daring escapades and general interest stories.

Some of these magazines alone are almost a hundred clip_image002years old and not only did we feel our members would love to read them, but that they were also a national treasure that shouldn’t be lost. Now we have digitised them, they will be available for ever more”.

He went on to say “In addition, as ever, we haven’t just added these to our site, but we have also automatically crossed matched them with all our other data, so if you perform a search for a relative on the site who say served in The Royal Tank Regiment, our system will automatically look to see if we have any articles related to the regiment your ancestor served in as well.”


Home Guard Records now on Forces War Records

http://www.forces-war-records.co.uk/What exciting news ….. Forces War Records have just put online 40,000+ Home Guard Officers Records. People of a “certain age” will remember fondly the tv programme Dad’s Army with Captain Mainwaring, Sergeant Jones and “stupid boy”!! However recent research has shown that the Home Guard was made up of a larger number of young men than first thought. These Home Guard were either too young, in reserved occupations or not fit enough for active service. The men, young and old, who made up the Home Guard were a valuable asset to the defence of the United Kingdom, if there had been an invasion they would have been called upon to undertake dangerous operations to repel the enemy. We may have enjoyed the humour of Captain Mainwaring and his platoon, but in reality it was a serious business.

The Home Guard records are usually enrolment forms, award recommendations and cabinet papers and date from 1940 – 1944. These records have been transcribed and indexed so are easy to search and use. This particular dataset is for Officers only, but hopefully it will be followed for the lower ranks. When researching ancestors who might have been in the Home Guard bear in mind that initially they were known as the LDV, Local Defence Volunteers.

A typical entry will give Queen & Home Guard

  • Name
  • Rank
  • Unit
  • Nationality
  • Gallantry Awards
  • Duty Location
  • Resided Town & County
  • When joined Home Guard

Forces War Records is the only website to offer this dataset and I am sure it will generate a lot of interest amongst genealogists. I must say that the more I look at Forces War Records the more I find to like about the site. It’s easy to use and the cross matching with information about Regiments, Bases and Ships adds valuable background history. The site has records dating back to 1350.


Copyright ©2012: Linda Elliott www.madaboutgenealogy.com

Forces War Records Improved Search Facility

Forces War Records Genealogy

The Forces War Records website is now offering an improved search facility, the new search engine means that searches can be undertaken by service number, specific years, nationality & type of service. Then there are filters that can be used depending on whether the person died in active service, were issued a gallantry award, or mentioned in despatches. This makes searching for military ancestors so much more efficient.

Forces War Records offers 4.5+ million records comprising service records, regimental/unit data, information on specific battles, medals, veteran contacts plus military tutorials specific to genealogy

A site worth considering when searching for your military ancestors.


Image Wikimedia – British soldiers in World War I at Kilkis, Greece

Home Guard records digitised at National Archives

Durham Home Guard Records now online.

The National Archives have released online a new set of genealogy records, the personnel documents for WW2 Home Guard volunteers for the county of Durham. This section of the defence force became immortalised in the TV programme “Dad’s Army”, anyone of a certain generation will remember Captain Mainwaring and his platoon!! However the digitising of these records have revealed that many of the Home Guard were too young to enlist rather than too old.

The records comprise 40,000+ personnel records and cover the time period 1940 – 1945.  It should be noted that the records of people born less than 100 years ago are closed which means that although you can find them listed on the index you can not download and view them. However if you can prove the person is deceased then there is a specific form to fill in requested access.


The record series reference is WO 409 and contains the enrolment forms which were completed by the men as they joined the service. They generally contain

  • Name
  • Date of Birth
  • Place of Birth
  • Address
  • Date of Enlistment in Home Guard
  • Promotions
  • Previous Military Service
  • Date of leaving Home Guard

It can be seen that this set of records contain very useful family history information which could lead onto military, census, civil registration and other records. It would be wonderful if The National Archives decided to either digitise the records for the whole of the Britain or enter into a partnership with either Ancestry or Find My Past.

If you have family in the county of Durham then this is a document set that is well worth searching, if not then we can only sit and hope that these valuable records are soon online for the rest of Britain. The National Archives, Ancestry and Find My Past often put out surveys about their services and one of the questions is which records you would like to see digitised, now we can ask for Home Guard records and then keep our fingers crossed !


Image – Wikimedia -photograph H1896 from the IWM collection.