Researching Irish Family History

May 23rd, 2009

How to Use Griffith’s Valuation in Your Irish Family Search

How to Use Griffith’s Valuation in Your Irish Family Search

Author: Stephanie Varney

Griffith’s Valuation is one of the most important record sources in any modern Irish family search. It’s helped thousands of people all over the world re-discover their Irish roots, and is often one of the first sources someone consults when doing Irish genealogical research. If you have yet to use this gold mine of information on Irish families, it’s recommended that you examine it right away, as it could contain much-needed information that you’ve been missing in your research.

Griffith’s Valuation was a survey of Ireland that was completed in 1868, making it a treasure trove of Irish family information from the 19th century. Richard John Griffith was appointed by the British government in 1825 to conduct a boundary survey of Ireland. As part of the extensive project, Griffith was supposed to mark the boundaries of every county, civil parish, and town in Ireland. This job was completed in 1844. At the same time, Griffith was also working on an Ordnance survey of Ireland, which was taken over by Sir John Ball Greene in 1868. Green oversaw annual revisions of the valuation.

The valuation that’s so important to an Irish family search today was comprised of two parts–a townland valuation and a tenement survey. The tenement survey is of most value to family historians. This valuation indexed and valued individual property for the first time, whereas only the larger estates of the gentry had been valued before. Griffith’s Valuation was essentially an every-man survey of Ireland, and records heads of households that otherwise might be lost to history today.

If you’re working on an Irish family search on ancestors who were in Ireland in the 19th century, you absolutely must examine Griffith’s Valuation. Fortunately, it isn’t difficult to access. It’s widely available on many online genealogy databases, including, so get out there and look up your ancestors in Griffith’s Valuation today!

At the forthcoming International Conference on Family History, there will be many Irish researchers in attendance as well as lectures on finding your Irish Roots.

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About the Author:

Ready to meet your Irish ancestors? Come to Irish Genealogical, the Internet’s top place for all things Irish genealogy! While you’re there, be sure to read our article on a little known source that can help you make big strides in your Irish genealogical research.

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Why Research Family History?

May 21st, 2009

Why Research Family History?Family history research is a fascinating study which once you start it will probably turn into a passion.

Many people have asked themselves where they come from, where are their roots, and these questions reflect a yearning that all of us have. Genealogy is the science of tracing your family tree. It is a kind of detective work or paper chase game. The results are often unpredictable but always fascinating.

family history researchFamily history research has recently gained a powerful tool in the internet. Now that it is possible to do a keyword or name search almost instantly, it has become much easier to trace a family tree. Easier at least than in days gone by, when a researcher had to spend a lot of time trudging around a dusty archive library, or waiting several weeks for a reply from one records office or another.

Even with the internet though, there are some parts of one’s family tree which will be impossible to reconstruct due to certain historical circumstances. One example that comes to mind is the fire that destroyed the Irish records office in Dublin in the nineteenth century.

So you have decided to try to trace your family tree. The question is, where do you start?

Probably the best starting point is to talk to members of your own family, particularly elders, and try to get them to remember as much as they can about the past, and about their relatives and forebears. This can be very useful in providing some jumping off points for further investigations. The facts they are able to give may well help you to refine and focus your search right from the start, thereby saving a lot of potentially wasted time and effort.

Talking to people about the past is something that should be done in a sensitive way, as it can often awaken memories which people would rather forget.

Next you should decide what aspect of your family history you are going to investigate. Are you interested in finding out about everything you can about everyone related to you? Or do you prefer a more narrow focus, such as tracing one particular branch? Or perhaps you will keep an open mind at first until you find something in your family tree that provokes your interest.

Some people even trace their spouse’s family. A friend of mine who is divorced nevertheless is tracing her husband’s ancestors on behalf of her children, since her ex-husband is descended from an old aristocratic family who were very powerful and influential in medieval England.

There are many different reasons for wanting to research family history, each one of them is interesting to the individual researcher, and all of them have been greatly facilitated by the arrival of the internet.

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Author: Robert Paterson

About the Author:

For more ideas, see our Genealogy blog

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Testing Your Maternal Family History Using the Most Popular Dna Test

May 14th, 2009

Testing Your Maternal Family History Using the Most Popular Dna TestFor genealogy researchers, having traced ancestors on your mother’s side, you may have a solid paper trail up to a certain point. But what do you do if the paper trail has gone cold and your family history research has come to a stop. What do you do then? How can you progress your genealogy beyond that?

DNA testing is one way to keep your genealogy research progressing forward on your maternal side. DNA testing gets more popular every year, yet many still don’t understand some of the basics of how it works. The value of any DNA test is that it can show connections where there is a missing paper trail or the trail ends. If you have a good paper trail as far back as you desire you probably don’t need DNA testing, but once the trail ends it may help you make solid connections that would not have been noticed otherwise.

At first DNA testing was used as a tool mostly for male researchers. Initially only the male Y-Chromosome test proved of any value in connecting lines, but this was only on a father’s line. Eventually a popular genealogy DNA test that females could take was perfected. Females were no longer completely left out of genealogy DNA testing. In this article we will examine a DNA test, which females can take, that might by valuable for family history research.

What is the DNA Test Females Can Take?

The most popular maternity test for genealogist is the Mitochondrial DNA test, otherwise known as the mtDNA test. This test traces DNA that is passed only through the mother’s side, from female to female. It cannot be used to track the male lines on your mother’s side. The distinctiveness of this test is that either a male or female can take it. Both sexes inherit this type of DNA through their maternal lines. Yet, only females pass it down.

As in any DNA test, if a match is found between two females, or males, who take this form of genealogy test, then those two people are indeed related on the maternal side, somewhere in history. The dilemma is figuring out exactly where on your family lines you have a common ancestor. In DNA terms we call that the Most Recent Common Ancestor or MRCA. The biggest goal of DNA testing is to get as close as possible to the MRCA for a group of people, or at least the person you want to compare with.

Mitochondrial DNA changes very slowly over time, if at all, so if you don’t exactly match another mtDNA donor it most likely means your common maternal ancestor is very far in the past. This is different than the male only Y-Chromosome test where changes can occur much more recently or quicker, in relation to time itself.

DNA Testing Benefits for Genealogy Research on the Maternal Side

dna testingThe benefit of the mtDNA test is it will tell you how far in the past, within a range, you share a common ancestor with someone else. The results may give you some idea how your family members migrated and what groups you are related to. From there you will need to find paper trails connecting each other, but you will at least have some idea where to start or where a commonality exists.

The more sets of mtDNA results you have from many participants the easier it will be to understand what the matches mean and how you may connect genealogically on your maternal side. This makes it important to get a large group of people to test mtDNA, so that you have more results to compare. Gradually matches will be found and surprises uncovered, all which will give you more clues as to your maternal ancestry. That is why this test remains popular for female and male genealogist alike.

Dr Geoff Swinfield will be lecturing on DNA and family history as part of the "Ask the Experts"  workshops run by the Society of Genealogists at the forthcoming Family History Conference in Nottingham. He has a Ph.D. in genetics and has used this training to apply genealogical research to the study of families at risk from genetic diseases. Why  not come along and have a great four day conference

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Author: Mark Jordan

About the Author:

Mark D. Jordan is a writer and genealogy researcher from Pennsylvania. A recommended genealogy website is Researching Your Family History. More family research information can be read at Family History Blog

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DNA Markers for Genealogy

May 8th, 2009

Dna Markers for Genealogy

DNA Markers for Genealogy – Mitochondrial DNA Genealogy

Who else wants to know about DNA markers for genealogy? Here is a simple scientific test to trace your ancestors. Did you know that DNA From One Generation To The Other Is Almost Conclusive Evidence. This breakthrough in genealogy research has been making headlines for the past several years with some astounding proof of kinship between some very prominent historical figures.

dna genealogyDNA testing for family tree is not only convenient, but also simple. You find a genealogy testing company either in the phone book of on the Internet. Next, make an appointment and go to the company on your assigned day, fill out the forms, pay the fee and your good to go. The DNA genealogy test starts with a mouth swab of your mouth near the cheek. Many companies give you a kit so you can do the mouth swab at home and mail in the results to the laboratory. After the laboratory tests the DNA, the results are sent back to testee.

Wide DNA Databases Compare

The company doing the genealogy DNA testing will obviously need to have access to DNA databases which they will use to make comparisons and once these comparisons show their results, the company will then send you the results regarding whom your DNA swab matched with. You should realize that each and every cell is sure to have your DNA and whether it is your sperm or egg cells or even the sex cells, you will be providing your own unique DNA for further matching.

Parents Pinpointed

dna genealogyListen closely. Genealogy DNA testing is helpful in pinpointing an individual’s parentage and it can be used extensively when you need to know who the mother is, and also in case of adoptions. Thus, it is easy to see how genealogy DNA testing can help with creating your family tree because your DNA will have been passed from one generation to the next and the information pertaining to your ancestors will be encoded therein.

The Egg The Sperm

When your sperm and also egg cell combine together, a new cell is created that will hold DNA from either parent and when genealogy DNA testing is performed in specialist laboratories, they will help provide evidence whether you are related to another person with a matching DNA. What’s more, the chances of two persons having identical DNA are very small with the exception of identical twins which are due to the fact that their DNA is identical because the fertilized egg had split and formed two fetuses obtained from a single sperm and also from the same egg.

dna testingCutting Edge Medical Science Genealogy DNA Testing

Just imagine, as DNA is passed from generation to generation there is very little change in its structure. This is amazing and is the primary reason to use DNA markers for genealogy testing to explore your ancestry. In no time at all, the link between families can be nailed down and makes the construction of a family tree that much more reliable and accurate. And new advances are being made in medical science to enhance and improve the DNA testing for family tree.

Dr Geoff Swinfield will be lecturing on DNA and family history as part of the "Ask the Experts"  workshops run by the Society of Genealogists at the forthcoming Family History Conference in Nottingham. He has a Ph.D. in genetics and has used this training to apply genealogical research to the study of families at risk from genetic diseases.

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Author: Jean Eagloy

About the Author:

Jean Eagloy is the developer of Genealogy Hookups, visit for more data .

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Use Your Irish Last Name to Discover More About Your Origins

May 5th, 2009

Sunday is Irish Day at the forthcoming Genealogical conference in Nottingham in 2009. Why not come and learn all about your Irish family history.

irish genealogyYour Irish last name can tell you far more than only that your ancestors were from Ireland. It can actually be the key you need to pinpoint the exact area in Ireland where your ancestors lived. Because many Irish families stayed in the same general location for generations, it’s not unusual for a certain surname to only be seen within a radius of a few square miles for hundreds of years. Even when surnames spread out somewhat in Irish genealogical research, they still often stay within one particular county. If you know the area in Ireland to which your surname was common, you can often break through some long-standing genealogical brick walls.

There are several databases online that provide geographical links to many an Irish last name. One of the best-organized of such databases is found at However, this website only catalogues the most common Irish surnames by location. More obscure or less common names may not be included. If this is the case for you, doing a Google search for your surname and including the phrase “Irish county” in your search terms should help you find the geographical information you’re looking for. There are also a wide variety of Irish genealogy message boards available to help you track down your surname’s county of origin.

One more important thing to remember about Irish surnames is that the name itself can give you important clues as to the history of the family. For example, surnames with O’ in front of them (such as O’Malley and O’Connor) mean “grandson of.” So, O’Malley would literally mean “grandson of Malley” and O’Connor would mean “grandson of Connor.” Surnames with “Mc” in front of them mean “son of.” Knowing this information, combined with being aware of the county of origin of your ancestors, can help you locate some of your most ancient ancestors and give you the clues you need to trace your Irish family into the present.

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Author: Stephanie Varney

About the Author:

Ready to meet your Irish ancestors? Come to Irish Genealogical, the Internet’s top place for all things Irish genealogy! While you’re there, be sure to read our article on a little known source that can help you make big strides in your Irish genealogical research.

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Ask the Experts – The Society of Genealogists at the Conference

April 30th, 2009

The Society of Genealogists, the National Library and Education Centre for Family History in the United Kingdom will be giving a series of lectures under the theme "Ask the Experts" at the conference to help your research beyond the first steps. Lecturers will include Else Churchill, the Society’s Genealogy Officer and cover a diverse range of subjects from Surname Searching through Online Birth, Marriage and Death Records to the roll of DNA in family history.

Founded in 1911 the Society of Genealogists is Britain’s premier family history society. The Society maintains a splendid genealogical library and education centre in Clerkenwell in London.

The Society’s collections are particularly valuable for research before the start of civil registration of births marriages and deaths in 1837 but there is plenty for the beginner too, including the Free Family HIstory Access area where beginners can get a taste of some of the online sources that will help them start their research.

The Society has many unique unpublished manuscript notes and printed and unpublished family histories. Its library contains Britain’s largest collection of parish register copies and many nonconformist registers. Along with registers, the library holds local histories, copies of churchyard gravestone inscriptions, poll books, trade directories, census indexes and a wealth of information about the parishes where our ancestors lived.

Normally the Society of Genealogists has a joining fee but as an exclusive special offer for the conference, if you are not a member already, the Society will waive the one off joining fee should you join during the conference.

This stream of lectures is just one of the choices available to delegates at the forthcoming genealogy conference and with an all inclusive price of just £329 (under 500 US dollars) to include the conference, accommodation, all meals and the banquet there will never be a better time to attend a family history conference in England. Why not come along, enjoy the conference , join the Society of Genealogists and spend a week in London discovering your heritage.

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Family History 3 Creative Ways to Leave Your Own Legacy

April 23rd, 2009

I am sure you are interested in create a compelling family history with all your digital memories. The chances are that you’re already doing many of the right things. You’re probably already capturing lots of good digital memories. Hopefully you’ve started converting your non-digital files to digital format. Maybe you’re even better than the average family about getting that video camera out often, and incorporating it into special events and every-day life.

Here are 3 creative methods you can use that add a whole new level to your memories and family history?

Step 1: Historical changes

Think about the world twenty years ago. So much has changed between now and then? Encapsulating this in how you record and save your memories will be fascinating not only later in your life but also for your future generations. There are many details that you can trap. The variances in your family beliefs, family habits, past times and even family sporting endeavors.

Step 2: Technological changes

Technological advancement adds a completely new element to the times of your family’s experiences. Fifteen years ago, only a few privileged people had car phones. Now, tiny little cell phones are common technology; most of the people you pass in the street are carrying them or talking on them. You can note technology advancement, use new technology for recording your life experiences even comment on the many changes in your journaling or videoing.

Step 3: Political Changes

Overarching political and historical changes can have great effects on your family’s life. These can include positive events, such as the removal of the Berlin Wall, and negative events, such as the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the US. While drastically different in consequence, these historical events have had a great impact, in many ways, on your life. You can record and save details or even your feelings or personal experiences on these outcomes.

Adding creative new elements to your digital family history with these 3 unique methods creates a whole new level of complexity and richness in your digital family legacy for the future. Not only will your family members and future generations be able to view video and photos of your life, but they’ll know about the important events and every-day life that may have been a part of your family’s reality.

There are many ways in which you can “trap” this kind if information. You can write it in a digital journal, copy it from a blog or website and save it in a relevant file that corresponds with an event in your life or you can even save news clips or videos. You could also video or audio record your thoughts, feelings and experiences for a more personal touch. There are so many digital mediums now for storing these occurrences and it really does add enormous value. Think about how it makes you “feel” when you look back and think about how your Grand Parents lived during World War II. Are you fascinated? If so your future generations will wonder the same about you and the forces that shaped your life. So why not give them a chance to see what it was really like.

Many family historians and genealogists will be attending  theInternational Family History Conference in Nottingham, England in August 2009. It is great fun meeting other poeple with like minded interests and of course attending the expert lectures from the family history, social history and miltary history world as well as experts from the Society of Genealogists

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Author: Tim Lassig

About the Author:

Tim Lassig is the creator of Treasure Chest Software, a unique software program specifically designed to preserve all your family history in a digital display to protect it for you and your future generations to admire. Tim has taken digital technology and morphed it into a life inspiring range of tools to help you create a digital legacy and family heirloom for your future. Don’t lose a single memory! Easily preserve and protect your family history today at:
Feel free to post, send this or use it in your newsletter, but only as it is.

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Medieval Genealogy

April 18th, 2009

King John of England – Short History and Accomplishments

King John is one of the medieval English kings. At the forthcoming family history conference in Nottingham, Dr Nick Barratt will be lecturing on sources for medieval and early modern genealogy, so just to get you in the mood here is a short history of one of the medieval kings.

John of England was born Christmas Eve 1167 and died October 19, 1216. He became King of England in 1199 and had a very interesting history. His succession to the throne came after his brother King Richard the First, the Lionhearted. John’s nickname was not as inspiring. He was called both “Lackland” (because he was not to inherit the land of his father, being the fifth son) and “Soft Sword” (due to his military ineptitude as a king).

king johnKids may think of King John as the character in Robin Hood, and that is who he is supposed to be. Although we have no idea if a Robin Hood existed. But historically King John is known as the signer of the Magna Carta in 1215, one of the most famous documents ever. The Magna Carta was the inspiration to our democracy today. It greatly reduced the power of the monarchy, putting more power into the people’s hands.

King John of England was the last, and 8th, child born to Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine. He was his father’s favorite and was well educated, with the ability to read fluently. His childhood was embroiled in disputes as his mother and brothers were constantly in dispute with his father Henry II. Eleanor was even imprisoned by her husband at one point. As a young boy John was being trained for and expected to enter into clerical (church) service. This was to relieve his father, King Henry II of having to give him any land.

medieval genealogyAs a child, John was promised to Alice (Alys) of Savoy, daughter of Humbert III of Savoy. It was at this same time that John was no longer designated to go into clerical service, since it seemed more important to use him for politics. John was to inherit most of Humbert’s lands over the Alps, helping to expand England’s influence. Unfortunately Alice died on her way to meet John.

John was known as a treacherous person siding back and forth, for and against, his brothers and mom, what ever benefited him the most. He was not trustworthy. In 1184 he and his brother Richard were in a bitter dispute as to who was to inherit the thrown. In 1185 John was made Ruler of Ireland, where he was despised and quickly kicked out of the country. In 1189 Richard, The Lionhearted became the King of England. By 1194 Richard had named his brother John as his successor, forgiving John of prior disputes.

When King Richard died, his brother John became King John the 1st, in 1199. However, once again it was not easy for John. He ended up in a dispute over the kingship with his nephew Arthur. King Philip II of France had favored Arthur, although he supported John eventually. King Philip II was actually John’s feudal overlord at the time for certain French territories held by John.

Later John refused some things that Philip asked of him, which was the right of a feudal lord, and war was declared between England and France. John built a modern Navy for this war and sometimes is declared the Father of the Modern Navy. The English and French war lasted past John’s death in 1216. His 9 year old son became King Henry the III. John’s life and reign was full of disputes and battles. Many consider his time the most disastrous in English history although some consider his agreement to the Magna Carta the greatest event in the history of democracy.

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Author: Mark Jordan

About the Author:

Mark Jordan is a researcher and freelance writer living near Harrisburg Pennsylvania. Other historical information can be found at Medieval Timeline and Info and Research Your Family

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Researching British Soldiers Who Served in the 1914-18 Great War

April 6th, 2009

At In the footsteps BATTLEFIELD TOURS we occasionally receive enquiries about how to trace the records of British soldiers who served in the 1914-18 Great War. We do our best to help when such a request is made, but our resources are limited and we are conscious that our best is often very slow and not always that conclusive. To help those wishing to research records of British Soldiers who served in the 1914-18 Great War we thought that it would be useful if we put together some notes on the basics of how to research this information.

During the Great War of 1914-1918 Britain’s Regular Army was tiny by European standards and was quickly supplemented initially by Reservists and the Territorials. Kitchener’s Army of volunteers were rapidly trained and sent to the front and by 1916 it was necessary to introduce Conscription to make up numbers.

The casualty lists continued to grow at an alarming rate largely because of the very nature of trench warfare. The modern military innovations and communications that we know today simply did not exist and the 1914-18 Great War had developed into one of attrition. As a consequence, the British Army sustained massive fatal casualties averaging around 450 officers and men per day.

WW1 history

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC)

The first place to begin your search is the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC). They have the most complete record of soldiers (and others) that died in the 1914-18 Great War. This record is available on-line in their ‘Debt of Honour Register’ at

The information contained in the Debt of Honour Register includes the location of the soldier’s grave (or his commemoration, if he has no known grave). It will usually give details of his service number, rank, unit, date of death (if known) and place of burial or commemoration. Other information may be available, but this is dependent on material supplied (or not supplied) by relatives during and after the war. It should also be noted that whilst the CWGC make every effort the Register is not entirely free of errors.

The 1921 Compilation – Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914-19

An excellent resource for locating those who died in the war is Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914-19. Originally published in 1921 the compilations consist of 80 volumes for the soldiers with a separate volume for officers. Each volume deals with individual Regiment or Corps, and lists those who died, giving dates, locations, army number. It is not 100% accurate, but an excellent record that was based on regimental records.

These volumes give information that the CWGC does not for example, place of birth, place of residence, place of enlistment and any former regiment being the most common.

A full set of the Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914-19 is available for the general public to reference in the Birmingham Central Library. Other Central and/or Reference Libraries may also hold copies, but check before going as they often only have the volume relating to the local regiment.

This work can also be obtained from the Imperial War Museum as a searchable CD-ROM and is also available from: The CD-ROM has the advantage that the casualties can be searched and sorted, which is a great benefit if you are researching a unit or what happened to a group of friends. Inevitably it does contain some transcription errors – but then again the originals have errors too. Overall, this is an excellent though very expensive resource. Many branches of the Western Front Association have a copy, as do some libraries – including the one at the National Archives.

Genealogy Websites the Naval & Military Press’ website for military historians and family history researchers has computerised these records, along with similar records relating to the Second World War, and offer a pay-per-view service to search them. These works are also available as a searchable CD-ROM, published by the Naval & Military Press. For further details visit:

Another pay-per-view service is provided by that has made it possible to search for soldiers who died in the 1914-18 Great War on-line. It is also possible to access the registers of war deaths via their website In addition to their pay-per-view service they operate a voucher system whereby vouchers can be purchased from UK stockists or mail order, see their website for details.

Rolls of Honour

Many businesses, organisations, schools and towns created Rolls of Honour after the war. Many of these are now available on-line and can be accessed by searching Google then clicking on the appropriate search result.

In addition to these dedicated Rolls of Honour sites is a particularly good website that is striving to list details of the various War Memorials in the UK. This also has a useful search facility that will interrogate the records they have in their databases.

WW1 soldiersSoldiers Personal Files

All British soldiers who served in the 1914-18 Great War had a personal file. Around half of these personal files were destroyed in the first German air-raid on London in the Second World War on the night of 7th/8th September 1940. The records that survived the Second World War were released to the UK National Archives: The Public Record Office at Kew in November 1996. Their website can be found at The original documents are now so fragile that only microfilm is available for inspection and whether an individual soldier’s file has survived is entirely random.

Officers’ files had a higher survival rate and about 216,000 were released to the National Archives in February 1998. The criteria for release were that the officer had served in the British Army between 1914 and 1920 and that he had left the Army before 31st March 1922. It is often possible to locate an officer’s file on line, by typing the surname into the National Archives Catalogue accompanied by a record class number. Officers’ files are mostly contained in record series WO 339 or WO 374 (especially Territorial Officers).

The Medal Index and Medal Rolls

Besides a soldier’s (or officer’s) personal file the other major source of information is the Medal Card Index, also in the National Archives. This is the most complete listing of British service personnel in the First World War. The National Archives has now completed the digitizing of the Medal Index. The on-line version is available at

Most soldiers who served with the British Army in the 1914-18 Great War qualified for campaign medals, normally the 1914 (or 1914-15) Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. The Army Medals Office recorded soldiers’ medal entitlement in lists known as rolls. The Index Card available on line provides the reference to where the soldier is listed on the Rolls, which are organised by regiment or corps. The information found on the Medal Card will include the soldier’s name, rank and serial number, his regiment or corps, sometimes his unit (e.g. battalion or Field Company RE), his date of death (if he died during the war), the campaign medals he was awarded and the reference numbers that allow the soldier to be traced on the Medal Rolls, which are not available on line.

It is important to check the actual Medal Rolls because they can give extra vital information about a soldier, such as his battalion, that allows further research to be undertaken. This is particularly true of soldiers who served in the cavalry, yeomanry and infantry, but much less so for the larger corps, such as the Royal Artillery, Royal Engineers and Army Service Corps.

Unit War Diaries

Once a soldier’s unit has been identified it is possible to find out more about it. All units from battalion level (and the battalion’s equivalent in other corps, such as a Field Artillery Brigade) upwards were required to keep War Diaries on active service. These diaries are preserved in the National Archives: The Public Record Office, Kew, in record series WO 95. War Diaries rarely mention ordinary soldiers, but they do provide a detailed account of the unit’s movements and activities.

Regimental Histories

Nearly all infantry regiments and battalions have published histories. These can usually be purchased through that Regiment’s PRI or through most reputable bookshops. On-line bookshops such as Amazon will also have these available.

We hope that the information contained within this article has been of assistance and will help you trace the records of the soldier you are interested in. If you feel that we can be of assistance please email us at and we will try to help. Please bear in mind however our opening paragraph, as our resources are limited and we are conscious that our best is often very slow and not always conclusive.

Ian R Gumm

at Willowmead

20th January 2007


If you are interested in following “in the footsteps” of an ancestor, relative or particular unit we can put together a bespoke battlefield tour proposal for your consideration. The proposal is without obligation as we do not undertake any preparatory work until an order is received.

We also offer a range of commemorative certificates that can be purchased from our website. These decorative certificates are designed to commemorate the military service of service personnel in a readily displayable format, they are not meant to be facsimiles of official documents.

Professor Richard Holmes, celebrated miltary historian will be a guest speaker at the frthcoming conference on family, local, miltary and social history in Nottingham. For details of the conference see the conference website

This article is brought to you by In the footsteps BATTLEFIELD TOURS
Visit our website at In the footsteps BATTLEFIELD TOURS for further details.

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Author: Ian R Gumm

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Free Genealogy Database: A Great Way to Find Out About Your Ancestors

April 3rd, 2009

Today, more and more people are now considering finding out about their family’s past. Besides, this kind of activity is an activity that the whole family can enjoy. Finding out about your  will hold a lot of mysteries and surprises. For example, in politics, genealogists have found that President George W. Bush is a very distant cousin of his political rival, John Kerry. It’s quite a surprise and quite funny when you think about it; two cousins battling it out to get the most powerful position in the United States of America.

As you can see, you will find out a lot of interesting and usually surprising things if you research about your family’s genealogy. However, you also have to consider that hiring genealogists can be very expensive and will take a lot of time to provide you with a decent family tree that will contain information about your family’s relatives.

However, the internet today is a very useful and a much cheaper way to find out about your family’s genealogy. In fact, there are some genealogy websites that offer their services for free. All you need to do is type in your complete name, your birth date, and also the country where you live in and click on search. You will find out about your family tree almost instantly. However, free genealogy database websites are sometimes unreliable and produce inaccurate results. You have to consider that it takes a lot of work to get a single family database done. Imagine building millions of family database. It’s quite a difficult task even for a seasoned genealogist.

However, if you are just starting out finding about your family’s genealogy, free genealogy database websites are the websites you should first visit. Here, you will obtain different kinds of information about your family where you can later use for a more comprehensive and accurate search. You will also save money on obtaining important documents, such as birth, death, marriage, and immigration records.

free genealogy

It is important to consider that free genealogy database search are basic and will only give you limited information about certain people whom you are related with. If you want a more comprehensive search, you should prepare paying for it as information can be hard to obtain.

When you are already progressing on your search in the free genealogy database website and encountered a dead end, you can search further by looking at public records, and looking at old newspaper obituaries.

These are some of the things you have to consider when using a free genealogy database. Always remember that the information usually provide in free genealogy database websites are basic. Once you encountered a dead end on your quest for your family’s genealogy, you should consider taking it one step further by either looking at the public library or by hiring an expert and reputable genealogist to do the work for you. Provide your genealogist with all the documents you accumulated during your preliminary search and inform them on how far back you want to search. They will know all about documents and they will know where to search for it.


Of course you have to know where the websites are located and this is difficult to do without the knowledge of experts and other family historians. At the  forthcoming International Genealogy Conference to be held in Nottingham there will be many family historians with expert genealogical knowledge as well as speakers from the Society of Genealogists who will be lecturing on where to find free genealogy on the Internet

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