United Kingdom, Militia Service Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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United Kingdom, Militia Service Records, 1806-1915 .
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
United Kingdom
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Record Description
Record Type Militia Service
Collection years 1806-1915
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Archive
The National Archives


Image Visibility

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 United Kingdom, Militia Service Records 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.

What is in the Collection?

This collection contains records for the years 1806-1915

This collection includes records of militia servicemen from the United Kingdom. The National Archives record series number is WO 96. This collection is provided in cooperation with findmypast.

Military records are of great genealogical value and may provide information not found in any other source. These records identify individuals who served or were eligible to serve in the military. Military service (other than the militia) was usually a lifetime career. Officers came from the upper classes; soldiers usually came from the poor.

The British Military Records page contains more information about this collection.

Collection Content

This collection contains solely military records; the records themselves vary, as they contain information from militia service records, Imperial Yeomanry, soldier's documents, and records from the South African War.

What Can this Collection Tell Me?

The following lists indicate potential information given in each type of record. It must be remembered that every record may not provide all of the listed information, as record-keeping practices varied by time and location.

Service Record Statements may contain:

  • Full name and rank of soldier
  • Corps in which soldier served
  • Period of enlistment
  • Record of promotions, reductions and transfers
  • Year of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Age
  • Date of event
  • Occupation
  • Marital status
  • Place of residence at time of registration

Attestation Records may contain:

  • Name of enlistee
  • Battalion and regiment assignment
  • Parish, town and county of current residence
  • Parish, town and county of previous residence
  • Age, occupation, and marital status
  • Number of children under 14 years
  • Record of any previous service
  • Any record of penal servitude
  • Time period to serve for present enlistment

Description Records contain:

  • Detailed physical description
  • Religious denomination
  • Certification by a medical examiner

How Do I Search the Collection?

Before beginning a search in these records, it is best to know the full name of the individual in question, as well as an approximate time range for the desired record. When entered into the search engine on the Collection Page, this information provides the quickest, most reliable path to finding the correct person. Of course, other information, such as regiment or ship name, may be added or substituted as necessary.

Search by name by visiting the Collection Page:
Fill in the requested information in the initial search page to return a list of possible matches. Compare the individuals on the list with what is already known to find the correct family or person. This step may require examining multiple individuals before a match is located.

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page
⇒ Select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page
⇒ Select the appropriate box number to go to the images

Compare the information found on the images with what is already known determine if a particular record relates to the correct person. This process may require examining multiple records before the correct person is located.

What Do I Do Next?

I Found the Person I Was Looking for, What Now?

  • Make sure to fully transcribe and cite the record entry for future reference. See below for assistance in citing this collection. Save or print a copy of the image if possible.
  • If in the appropriate period, use the information which has been discovered to find the individual in civil records. Particularly useful for research in nineteenth-century England are the England Census and the England Civil Registration records.
  • If known, the soldier's ship or regiment can provide an avenue to his vital details. Once the particular unit has been identified, consult the muster rolls or records of service to discover a wealth of personal information about the individual.

I Can’t Find the Person I’m Looking for, What Now?

  • When looking for a person with a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which individual is correct. Use other information, such as place of birth, age, occupation, or names of parents, to determine which candidate is the correct person. If listed, a personal title may be a clue to property ownership or occupation, either of which might be noted in other records.
  • Check for variants of given names, surnames, and place names; transcription errors could occur in any handwritten record. Also remember that it was not uncommon for an individual be listed under a nickname or an abbreviation of their name. See Abbreviations Found in Genealogy Records for examples of common abbreviations.
  • Vary the search terms. For example, search by either the given name or surname to return broader list of possible candidates which can then be examined for matches.
  • Look at the actual image of the record to verify the information found in the online description, if possible.

Regiment Search Strategies

Army Officers

The basic unit of the Army is the regiment under a colonel or lieutenant colonel. Regiments are usually divided into two or more Battalions. The main types of regiments which should be searched are:

  • Cavalry
  • Infantry
  • Corps (e,g, Army Service Corps; Royal Signals; Royal Engineers etc.)

Prior to 1847, English army service was usually for life. Some soldiers were discharged early for disability (liberally defined) or age (often by age 40).

Pre-1872 army records are organized by regiment. Most regiments have published histories that tell the places where they served and the battles they fought. For a bibliography of these histories, see:

Pre-1751 infantry and cavalry units were known by the names of their colonels, i.e. Sir Thomas Adams Regiment of Foot.

Post-1751 a numerical system was adopted to name the regiments, with rank in order of precedence, i.e. Queens 9th Regiment of Foot.

If your ancestor does not appear in the Army List for the right time period, consult the card index to officers, available only at the Public Record Office.

If an officer was living during 1828 or 1829, you can use the indexed returns of service. "Birth certificates" submitted with widow’s pension applications may reveal an officer’s name. If you still cannot find a record, use the search strategies for soldiers.

Royal Navy personnel

If your ancestor was in the navy after 1852, search the index to Continuous Service Engagement Books, or the Surname Index to the 1861 Census Returns of Ships.

Before 1853 the source to use depends on what you know about your ancestor. If you know:

  • The name of a ship on which he served, search the ship musters, pay lists, and ship logs for the time period he should have been aboard.
  • A port where your ancestor landed on a specific date, search the List Books, a geographically arranged list of ship locations at the Public Record Office (class ADM 8).
  • A battle or campaign in which his ship was involved, search the medal rolls.
  • The name of an officer serving with your ancestor, search the Navy List for that officer’s ship.

Since many seamen also served in the Merchant Marines during their careers, search the records described in British Merchant Marine

Known Issues with This Collection

Important.png Problems with this collection?
See a list of known issues, workarounds, tips, restrictions, future fixes, news and other helpful information.

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 support@familysearch.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.


Citing this Collection

Citing sources correctly makes it easier to refer back to information that has already been discovered; proper citations are therefore indispensable to keeping track of genealogical research. Following established formulae in formatting citations also allows others to verify completed research by helping them find and examine records for themselves.

To be of use, citations must include information such as the author, custodian, publisher, and archive for the original records, if available. The following examples demonstrate how to present this information for both this particular collection as well as individual records and images within the collection:

Collection Citation:

"United Kingdom, Militia Service Records, 1806-1915." Database with Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2016. Citing "Militia Service Records 1806-1915." Index and images. findmypast .co.uk. www.findmypast.co.uk : Brightsolid, n.d. WO 96. The National Archives of the UK, Kew, Surrey.


Record Citation (or citation for the index entry):

The citation for a record is available with each record in this collection, at the bottom of the record screen. You can search records in this collection by visiting the search page for United Kingdom, Militia Service Records, 1806-1915.


Image Citation:

The image citation is available by clicking on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen. You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for United Kingdom, Militia Service Records, 1806-1915.


How You Can Contribute

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.