RESEARCHING 19TH CENTURY BRITISH ARMY ANCESTORS (General)

by sidtoomey01 @, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, Saturday, March 07, 2020, 03:05 (26 days ago)

For anyone who is interested in researching the above field in detail to get a better understanding of an Ancestors Army life, the following may be of interest.
Army service records are the best start but the locations recorded where a soldier served, as far as i have been able to note, are only for overseas service. i.e. any service in England, Wales, Scotland or Ireland is not recorded in their Service Records.
One of the record series which i have found helpful for both cross checking other information and for extracting new information is the Harts Annual Army Lists available free of charge on the National Library of Scotland site as well as other sites. These were published each year and record details of each Army regiment as well as Militia and East India Civil Service in some years (although I haven't researched the Civil Service one). They would be especially useful for any research in to an officer.
It pays to check also the year after the one you are really interested in as say for example in 1861 some of the entries for a regiment might be provisional only with the following year correcting some details.
To give an example of what is possible, take 1861 and the 2nd Battalion (East Suffolk) Regiment of Foot as an example.
( The screen you should see once you are in to the body of the publication will have a heading "select a page". This page number is not the same as the page number of the publication as i don't think advertisements in the publication counted. In this example I will use the "search the page" number.
Page numbers 276 and 277 relate to the 12th Regiment of foot. On page 276 we see the following :-
(a) The 1st Battalion was in Tasmania and the 2nd Battalion was in Plymouth.
(b) A comprehensive list of officers including their years service, full pay or half pay, when they were promoted or purchased their rank, whether in 1st or 2nd Battalion, Details of their War Service.
Page 277 continues with more officers, adjutants, paymasters and medical officers.
(c) The 1st Battalion originally embarked for Australia on 1st August 1834. Its Depot was at Walmer.
The 2nd Battalion returned from the Cape of Good Hope in September 1858. Depot not listed.

Using the 2nd Battalion Surgeon Dudley Clifton Wodsworth (14) as an example for an Officer we see the following :-
He became assistant surgeon 10th January 1851
Surgeon 26th June 1858
Had 10 years service on full pay, none on half pay.
(14) records that he served in the Kaffir War, Crimea with the 12th Lancers, suppressing the Indian Mutiny, etc, etc, Also lists campaigns which included medals.

There is an index towards the end which lists officers by name and gives locations in the book where they might be found.
Another thing i have noticed is that sometimes an officer wrote afterwards of his career and life and had it published. In my search the 2nd Battalion (Royal) Regiment of Foot had two officers at least who wrote of their time in the Regiment in detail. Reading their books provided me with much detail and amusement which had a personal connection for me. which i would not otherwise have found. Combining the information from both led me to discover two children born and baptised in Army Garrison Chapels which i did not know about and which weren't found on Paid sites like Ancestry etc.

Rather than bore everyone further, i also know of a couple of other avenues for research which have proved fruitful to me. I am quite willing to offer suggestions to anyone with a particular query or roadblock. However i still consider myself an amateur researcher especially after reading some other writings.

Sid Toomey


Complete thread:

 RSS Feed of thread

powered by my little forum