United Kingdom, World War I Service Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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United Kingdom, World War I Service Records, 1914-1920 .
This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
United Kingdom
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Flag of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
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Location of United Kingdom
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Record Description
Record Type World War I Service
Collection years 1914-1920
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
The National Archives

Image Visiblity

Whenever possible, Family Search makes images available for all users. However, ultimate rights to view images on our website are granted by the record Custodians, The National Archives. The United Kingdom, World War I Service Records, 1914-1920 collection is available to the Family History Library, FamilySearch Centers, and to members of the supporting organization(s). The images can be viewed at a FamilySearch Center near you.

To Browse This Collection

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for United Kingdom, World War I Service Records, 1914-1920.

What Is in the Collection?

This collection will include records from 1914-1920 It contains records from two publications in the National Archives:

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 National Archives at Kew in the London area is the caretaker of most of the military records. It is important to understand the "fonds" or the way records are grouped. There is a Department code (ADM for admiralty, WO for War Office, etc) and a series number.

These records are the service files of soldiers who were discharged from the British army between 1914 and 1920. They are a collection known as the "unburned documents." They represent about 8 percent of the soldiers who served during those years.

The article British Military Records has more information about these records.

Collection Contents

Service records may contain the following information:

  • Name of Soldier
  • Place of birth
  • Age
  • Occupation
  • Marital Status
  • Date of marriage (If married)
  • Wife’s maiden name
  • Military rank
  • Date of enlistment
  • Place of enlistment
  • Religion

How Do I Search the Collection?

To begin your search, it would be helpful if you knew the name of soldier you're looking for. As you are searching it is helpful to know some identifying information such as residence, age, estimated birth year, and family relationships as well.

Search the Collection

To search this collection by name:
To search the collection you will need to follow this series of links:
⇒Select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page
⇒Select the appropriate "Name Range - First Letter"
⇒Select the appropriate "Name Range - First Two Letters"
⇒Select the appropriate "Name Range - Surname" which takes you to the images.

Search the collection by image comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine if the image relates to them. You may need to look at several images and compare the information about the individuals listed in those images to your ancestors to make this determination.

What Do I Do Next?

  • Use the age to calculate the approximate birth year.
  • Use the place of birth and calculated birth year to search for a birth record.
  • Use the spouse's name to search for a marriage record.
  • Use the soldier's age and location of the military unit to find his family in census, church, and land records.

Tips to Keep in Mind

  • When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.
  • Remember that there may be more than one person in the records with the same name as your ancestor and that your ancestor may have used nicknames or different names at different times.
  • Titles may be clues to property ownership, occupations, rank, or status within the community.
  • Continue to search the index and records to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives who may have served in the same unit or a nearby unit.
  • Check for variant spellings of the names.
  • Look for an index. There are often indexes at the beginning of each volume. In addition local genealogical and historical societies often have indexes to local records.
  • Search the records of nearby military units.

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.

How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?

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.

Citing This Collection

Citing your sources makes it easy for others to find and evaluate the records you used. When you copy information from a record, list where you found that information. Here you can find citations already created for the entire collection and for each individual record or image.

Collection Citation:

"United Kingdom, World War I Service Records, 1914-1920". Database with Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2017. Citing The National Archives, 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, World War I Service Records, 1914-1920.

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, World War I Service Records, 1914-1920.