Friday 19 December 2014

FindMyPast adds 1871 worldwide British Army index 1871 worldwide British Army Index has joined FindMyPast's World and Britain collections. Estimates suggest that at least a third of the British Army in the mid-19th century was made up of Irishmen, so this Index has good potential for Irish family historians.

It comprises nearly 209,000 entries recording the whereabouts of officers and other ranks serving in Britain and elsewhere in the Empire on 2nd April 1871. At least, that is what was intended. In practice, it includes details for slightly longer, sometimes up to December. It also includes many civilians attached to the military.

Each record is a transcript of original source material extracted from the War Office army pay lists, held by the National Archives in Kew, London.

The information provided varies but usually includes name, service number, rank or description, regiment or unit, location of regimental headquarters, National Arcchives reference, date of the record. Some 36,000 records include additional notes, and these can be very illuminating. Below are three sample entries pulled from the records.
  • Cornelius Bartlett, Service number 1487, Private with the 97th (Earl of Ulster's) Regiment of Foot, HQ location: Mullingar, Ireland.
  • Neill Wynne, Service number 1407, Private with the 1st Bn 18th (The Royal Irish) Regiment of Foot, HQ location: Curragh Camp, Ireland. Notes: Deserted. Discharged on 6 May 1871 at Curragh, Ireland. Butcher. Born Dublin, Ireland. Mother Anne, 18 Barnard St, Dublin, Ireland
  • John Driscoll, Service number 1449, Private with the 2nd Bn 18th (The Royal Irish ) Regiment of Foot, HQ location: Devonport (England). Notes: In civil confinement from 1 April to 24 June 1871. Location not indicated. Bad character. Discharged on 24 June 1871 at Devonport. Born Cork.
I'd recommend you read this indepth Introduction to the 1871 Index which provides historical context and a useful explanation of how the record set was compiled.

Three other record sets also joined FindMyPast today:

Deaths & Burials from England, 1538-1991
Deaths & Burials from Wales, 1586-1885
Minute Books from Bexley Asylum in Kent.