United Kingdom, Chelsea Pensioners' Service Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page
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Access the records: United Kingdom, Chelsea Pensioners' Service Records 1760-1913 .
Whenever possible, FamilySearch makes images available for all users. However, ultimate rights to view images on our website are granted by the record custodians. The title collection is available to the Family History Library, FamilySearch Centers, and to members of the supporting organization, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The images can be viewed at a FamilySearch Center near you.
This collection includes Chelsea Pensioners British Army Service Records 1760-1913. These records contain information on soldiers (but not officers) pensioned out of the British Army. The original documents are available to view at the TNA (series reference WO 97). The original images are available from findmypast.co.uk. Digital images of selected files from this series are available at TNA DocumentsOnline.
Army pension records start in 1690. Pensions were awarded for length of service, disability, or wounds to most individuals who legally left army service. Sometimes the widows or children of military men received the payments. Payments to retired officers, called half-pay, were not considered pensions. Many different types of pension records covering different time periods still exist.
Naval pension records begin as early as 1617 and give the name of pensioner, reason for discharge, and sometimes next of kin, birthplace, age, and physical description.
Widow’s or children’s pension records often include marriage or baptismal certificates in support of the claim for assistance.
These records of army service are available only for those soldiers who were discharged to pension. Corresponding records for those who left the Army for reasons other than discharge were destroyed. These records vary over time and even between soldiers. They usually include attestation and discharge documents. They often contain the reason for discharge and details on age, birthplace, and trade or occupation on enlistment. They are arranged by regiment, then alphabetically by surname for the years 1760 through 1872. The records for 1873 to 1882 are alphabetically arranged by corps (cavalry, foot soldiers, artillery, guards, and so forth). From 1883 to 1914, these records are arranged in one alphabetical series.
Citation for This Collection
The following citation refers to the original source of the information published in FamilySearch.org Historical Record collections. Sources include the author, custodian, publisher and archive for the original records.
- Brightsolid. "Royal Hospital Chelsea: Soldiers Service Documents 1760-1913." http://www.findmypast.com : 2012.
Timeline and Historical context
Here are some of the major conflicts that are covered by the same period as the Chelsea Pensioners' British Army Service Records
- 1775 – American War of Independence
- 1793-1802 – British involvement in French Revolution
- 1795 – British capture of Ceylon
- 1798 – Irish Rebellion
- 1803-1815 – Napoleonic Wars, including the Battle of Waterloo in 1815
- 1854-1856 – The Crimean War
- 1857-1859 – Indian Mutiny
- 1880-1881 – The First Anglo-Boer War (also known as the "Transvaal War")
- 1899-1902 – The Second Anglo-Boer War
These records usually contain the following information:
- Full name of pensioner
- Parish, town and county in which born
- Age, occupation and marital status of pensioner
- Date and place where enlisted and by whom
- Name of Regiment
- Notes of any previous service
- Details of service rendered
- Length of service in years and days
- Physical disabilities as a result of service
- Reason for discharge
How to Use the Record
To begin your search, it would be helpful if you knew the following information:
- Name of soldier
- Approximate year of birth and place of birth
Search the Collection
For a collection that is searchable by name:
Fill in the requested information in the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about the ancestors in the list to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person.
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⇒Select the "Box Number" which will take you to the images.
Look at each image comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine which one is your ancestor. You may need to compare the information about more than one person to make this determination.
Using the Information
When you have located your ancestor’s index record, select one of the links in the image box which will take you to the original record at findmypast.co.uk.
The images are available free of charge at Family Search Centers and by members of the supporting organization, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. They are also available by subscription from findmypast.co.uk.
For tips about searching on-line collections see the on-line video at FamilySearch Search Tips.
Known Issues with This Collection
For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection see the attached Wiki article. If you encounter additional problems, please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include the full path to the link and a description of the problem in your e-mail. Your assistance will help ensure that future reworks will be considered.
- Chelsea Pensioners' Service Records 1760-1913 on Findmypast.co.uk
- British Military Genealogy - Army Museums Ogilby Trust
- Index to pensions on theshipslist.com
- Frequently Asked Questions about Chelsea Pensioners' service records
Related Wiki Articles
Contributions to This Article
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Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections
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A suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the Wiki Article: Help:How to Cite FamilySearch Collections.
Citation Example for a Record Found in This Collection
"United Kingdom, British Army Service Records, 1760-1915," database FamilySearch (https://ds.familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/V5HP-1WL: accessed 24 April 2012), entry for Robert Elliott, birthplace Monghan, 1798. United Kingdom, British Army Service Records, 1760-1915." Images courtesy of Find My Past, London, England.