Recommendation for Military Honours & Awards 1935-1990 Ancestry Web Search

Ancestry Web SearchApologises to MadAboutGenealogy readers for my not posting last week I was putting the last touches to my presentations for the Unlock the Past cruise plus I had a host of non-genealogy events and there just wasn’t enough hours in the day to do everything that needed to be done!!

Anyway I’m back Smile have added a new feature to their site, it could be viewed as a crafty way to add content at no cost to them, but let’s be charitable and say that they are simply alerting us all to what else is on the internet which might of help to family historians.

I am talking about the Web Search feature, basically it is a search engine link which searches non Ancestry databases and if a match comes up it connects through to the external website which holds the information.

The first offering is the “Recommendation for Military Honours & Awards 1935-1990” which is held by The National Archives.

I entered the name Pottinger to see how the system worked. It came up with 2 entries and I chose the one for Frederick Pottinger and clicked on the View Record button. The usual Ancestry page came up with the following information …

Name Frederick Pottinger
Publication Date 27 July 1944
Rank Corporal
Service Number 2047371
Regiment or Unit 1 Battalion The Northamptonshire Regiment
Theatre of Combat Burma
Award Military Medal
Date of Action or Award 1944

A link to the National Archives website is at the end of the details. Clicking on this brings up a warning that you are leaving Ancestry for an external site, getting rid of this pop-up takes you to the TNA site.

The National Archives site gives you the same info that Ancestry has, but with the opportunity to purchase a copy of recommendation document in this case 2 pages. A fee of £3.36 if charged for this, but the document can be downloaded immediately the payment has gone through.

All in all quite a handy feature as it will alert researchers to other documents that might be of help in tracing your ancestors. It will be interesting what other archives are added in the future.



The Times of India BMD Announcements 1920

clip_image002The Families in British India Society has just put online Births, Marriage & Death announcements from The Times of India newspaper for the year 1920. The members of this society work very hard to bring to the web an amazing array of material concerning families who lived in India.

Karachi 1866

Many of us will have ancestors who spent time in India and the FBIS website should be your first port of call if you think that some of your family may have travel to Indian subcontinent.

The FBIS website offers visitors to the website access to a database of over one million names plus a wiki of background information. New recruits to the society are always welcome and have access to additional resources and fellow member interests.

As always the genealogists friend Wikipedia has a good article on the British Raj 1858 – 1947.

London Livery Companies 1400 – 1900

The Institute of Historical Studies have placed online a searchable database of Apprentices and Freemen in the City of London Livery Companies between 1400 and 1900. The database is a work in progress and is a collaboration between The Centre for The Records of London's Livery Companies Online (ROLLCO).Metropolitan History, The Clothworkers’ Company, The Drapers’ Company, The Goldsmiths’ Company and The Mercers’ Company.

The database at the time of this post contains information from The Clothworkers’ Company 1545 – 1908 and The Drapers’ Company 1400 – 1900 and a sample of the data from the The Goldsmiths’ Company 1600 – 1700. More data will be added this later year.

A search for the name Pottinger in the records of the Clothworkers’ Company yielded 32 results. As an example one of the entries in the list of Pottingers gave the following information.

Year of event 1736
Name Eliza Pottinger
Gender Female
Occupation Sawyer
Location Facing The Vine Tavern, Holborn
Company Archive Clothworker
Event Apprenticeship
Role Master
Status Widow

As can be seen quite a lot of useful information can be found just from the index. No doubt further details can be found on application to the Livery Company Archives.

FindMyPast has an Index of Apprenticeship Taxes that has been compiled by the Society of Genealogists. It’s not all that easy to use, be prepared to work through several pages before you hit the surname you require. Below is an example of what you can expect to find.

58/191 – 1772 POTTINGER, Geo to Jn Morbey of Banbury, Oxon tay £5

The original taxation documents are held at the National Archives.

It is worth running a surname search through the A2A website as some Apprenticeship papers show up there with details of where the originals can be found. The index alone gives quite a lot of useful information. An example

Apprenticeship agreement between John Hill of Stratford upon Avon and William George Morris of Stratford upon Avon, scrivener, for a term of 5 years. 1801. The agreement also attests that John Rowden Westbury [the guardian of John Hill] shall provide clothes and wearing apparel.

Ancestry has the Freedom of the City of Londonclip_image002[5] Admission Papers, 1681-1925 which would be worth searching as many apprenticeship papers are included in the collection plus many apprentices went onto become Freeman of the City. The information that can be found is

  • Surname
  • Date of indenture
  • Parent or guardian’s name
  • County of residence
  • Master’s name

\With this collection you get to see a scan of the original papers which is always preferable to an index or transcript.

Finally should you find an apprentice or master in one of the databases it is always worth looking at their websites, some links below. The sites usually give excellent histories of the company as well as insights into their present work.

Do search for Apprentices and Masters in your genealogy, the results can be most rewarding!




New Military Records Online

Sample record for Imperial Yeomanry, soldiers documents, South African War 1899-1902 (WO128) on has added some new records to their Military Collection. Militia Service Records 1806 – 1915 and Chelsea Pensioners Service Records 1760 – 1913 have been available for some while and very useful they have been to my research. Now there are new additions which should add  to my family history as I think my grandfather was in the Imperial Yeomanry.

  • Royal Hospital, Chelsea: pensioners’ discharge documents 1760-1887
  • Royal Hospital, Chelsea: pensioners’ discharge documents, foreign regiments 1816-1817
  • War Office: Imperial Yeomanry, soldiers’ documents, South African War 1899-1902
  • Royal Hospital, Chelsea: documents of soldiers awarded deferred pensions 1838-1896

If you do find one of your ancestors featuring in this new set of documents you should be able to inspect the Attestation Form and also the Discharge Papers, these are the forms that were filled in at the beginning and end of their term in the army.

Name, age, previous occupation, next of kin, marriage, children and appearance are some of the personal details the army collected about their soldiers. There is also details of their service, rank, campaigns fought, medal, medical history and conduct. Often army records hold details not found anywhere else or at least not easily found ………  such as my grandfather had a wife and two sons elsewhere that no-one ever knew about !!

Navy Lists 1888 – 1970

Navy Lists 1888 -1970


The Navy List is the officially published list of Royal Navy Officers, publication started in 1819. Those who were officers (commissioned and warrant) in the Royal Navy, Royal Naval Reserves including the New Zealand branch, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, Royal Naval College of Music, Royal Marines, Queen Alexandra’s Royal Nursing Services, Coast Guard and other branches of the senior service will be listed here.

Details that will be found in this dataset will be –

  • Name
  • Rank
  • Seniority
  • Decorations & Awards

The data is grouped in a variety of ways, by –

  • Rank
  • Ship
  • Pensioners
  • Retired Officers

Additional information on Royal Humane Society medal awards, Naval Regulations, Members of Boards, Vessels for sale and much more.

The data is indexed and may also be browsed by year of publication. A very useful database for those with ancestors who heeded the call of the sea.