Category Archives: England and Wales

Summary of WWI records available online

Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal
Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal

Since Remembrance Sunday is tomorrow, now seems a good time to pull together a summary of the World War One records that are available online.

Medal Roll Index Cards

These were generated by the Army and list a man’s entitlement to campaign medals. There are over 5 million cards and they are the nearest approximation to a nominal roll of those who served in the army in WWI. Generally everyone who served overseas was entitled to a campaign medal. The rolls include RAF personnel who, before 1918, were members of the Royal Flying Corps. Royal Navy and Royal Naval Air Service personnel are not included.

Available online from (pay-per-view) and from (subscription or pay-per-view).

Descriptions of the various formats & abbreviations used at

A small proportion of cards have additional information on the back. This can only be viewed at

Service Records


  • About 60% of the service records of those soldiers (not officers) who served in the army during WWI were destroyed by bombing during WWII. The remaining records have been digitised and are available at
  • Pension records for soldiers who claimed a disability pension for service in WWI are also available at They are unlikely to include records for soldiers who had no dependants or who re-enlisted for service in WWII.
  • Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps
  • Service records for more than 7,000 women who joined the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (1917-1918), later Queen Mary’s Army Auxiliary Corps (1918-1920) are available at


  • Royal Marines Service Records
    Service records of those who joined the Royal Marines, 1842 -1936.
  • Registers of Seamen’s Services
    Service registers of more than 600,000 seamen in the Royal Navy, 1853 -1923.
  • Royal Naval Division service records
    Service records of more than 50,000 officers and men who joined the RND, 1914 -1919.
  • Royal Naval Officers’ Service Records
    Service records of officers who joined the Royal Navy, 1756 -1917.
  • Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve Service Records from WW1
    Service records of those who served in the RNVR during the First World War.
  • Women’s Royal Naval Service
    Service records of more than 7,000 women who joined the WRNS (1917-1919).

These are all available from


  • Royal Air Force Officers’ Service Records
    Service records of officers who served in the RAF during the First World War.
  • Women’s Royal Air Force
    Service records of women who joined the WRAF, 1914-1919.

These are all available from


Other records

  • Selected First World War and Army of Occupation War Diaries
    Selected War Diaries of British and colonial units serving in theatres of operations between 1914- 22.
  • Prisoner of War interviews and reports, First World War
    Interviews and reports of over 3000 individuals from the papers of the Committee on the Treatment of British Prisoners of War.
  • The Victoria Cross Registers
    The Victoria Cross was instituted by Royal Warrant on 29 January 1856 for award to members of the Royal Navy and the Army who ‘shall have performed some signal act of valour…’
  • Aliens Registration Cards
    Aliens registration cards of those living in the London area from 1914.

These are all available from

Gallantry awards and officers’ promotions

The award of a gallantry award, an honour and the promotion of military officers was gazetted, or listed, in the London Gazette. It’s also possible to trace an officer’s career in the armed forces through promotions listings. Once you’ve found the relevant service number it’s easier to search using that rather than the name of the officer. Available from (free).

I’ve tried to cover all the major sources for the British armed forces which give details of large numbers of men rather than individuals, but I’m sure to have missed some. If you know of other sources, do add them in the comments.


Census street indexes for England and Wales

Anyone who used to search the census returns for England and Wales at the old Family Records Centre in London before its closure in 2008 would have been used to the large binders of street indexes to the 1841-1891 census returns which were such a valuable finding aid.

The old Family Records Centre in Myddelton Street
The old Family Records Centre in Myddelton Street

Although we’re now all familiar with the various digitised versions of the census returns available online, it can still be almost impossible to find the people we’re looking for in the place we’re expecting to find them.

In the “good old days”, one possible solution was to check the census street index to find the folios covering a family’s last known address and then use that information to scroll through the relevant microfilmed census pages in the hope that the family had been mis-indexed or omitted from the index.

Until now, the only way to replicate this online was if you already knew the folio numbers concerned as only some of the online census providers allow address searches.

You can now search these census street indexes online. On 2 November, the Historical Streets Project from the Your Archives strand of The National Archives’ website added the street indexes for the 1841, 1851 and 1871 censuses.

There are limitations to these indexes:

only the larger towns are covered

the indexes are organised by Registration District – which doesn’t always equate to the parish or county where we would normally expect to find the street.

Go to to read more and try it out for yourself.


Some record offices to get free access to 1911 census

The National Archives (TNA) has just announced that seven record offices across England and Wales will get free access to the 1911 census for England and Wales.

The record offices are in:
  • Birmingham
  • Exeter
  • Aberystwyth
  • Manchester
  • Norwich
  • Nottingham
  • Newcastle upon Tyne

See for the full story.

The full 1911 census is available on a pay-per-view basis through
Still no news about when the 1911 records will be added to the site though.

London Metropolitan Archives’ records start to go online at Ancestry

Indexes to, and digital images of, the records held by London Metropolitan Archives have started to appear online at Ancestry.

The whole collection spans over 400 years from the 1500s to the 1900s and covers parish baptism and marriage registers, burial registers, Bishops’ Transcripts, Non-conformist baptisms, marriages and burials, poor law Board of Guardians records, school admissions and discharge registers, electoral registers and poll books, land tax documents, Surrey marriage bonds and allegations, wills, transportation records from the Middlesex Sessions of the Peace, Diocesan marriage bonds and allegations, Diocesan divorce exhibita and City of London Freedoms. The full collection is due to appear gradually over the next year.

At the moment the online data covers the poor law Board of Guardians Births and Baptisms 1834-1934 and the poor law Board of Guardians Deaths and Burials collection 1834-1906. The London boroughs covered are:

Tower Hamlets

You will need either a premium or worldwide subscription to view the data.

See the full details at


New Year ….. New Data

London is currently shivering under a thick layer of snow

which, according to the news, is the heaviest for 18 years. So this seems like a good time for an update on some of the new data that’s appeared online since Christmas.

First of all was the addition of Counties Antrim, Down and Kerry to the 1911 census for Ireland at which were added to the existing records for Dublin on 23 December 2008.

Next came the annual upload of new data on Scotlandspeople. We can now view the images of the registers of births for 1855-1908, marriages 1855-1933 and deaths 1855-1958 at

The current big excitement is the 1911 census for England and Wales which went live on 14 January at They have gradually added to the number of counties available and currently the whole of England except for Cumberland, Westmorland, Northumberland, Durham and the North and East Ridings of Yorkshire are available. Wales has still to be added. To check on progress and find out about enhancements to the search facilities as they are added, read the blog at

A less well publicised launch was the addition of the civil registration indexes for Ireland which are available on the Familysearch Record Search pilot site at Irish civil registration indexes begin in 1845 for Protestant marriages. Civil registration indexes for births, deaths and all marriages begin in 1864. The available indexes cover all of Ireland from 1845/1864 to 1922 and the Republic of Ireland from 1923-1958. As the General Register Office for Northern Ireland has an online certificate ordering facility at and the General Register office for Ireland has downloadable order forms at ordering Irish certificates has now become much easier.