Wednesday 9 November 2016

Ancestry releases Kilmainham and Chelsea pension indexes

Ancestry has released a trio of indexes to military pension collections. One relates to Dublin's Royal Hospital Kilmainham, the others to London's Royal Hospital in Chelsea. In each case, the records on Ancestry are indexes to records transcribed from original documents; images of the documents are held on Fold3, so if you want to see them, you'll need an Ancestry All Access subscription*.

Royal Hospital Kilmainham Pensioner Discharge Documents, 1724-1924:
This collection of nearly 105,000 records is made up of certificates of pensioners of the Royal Kilmainham Hospital in Dublin. The Hospital dates back to 1680 and when built housed just 20 retired soldiers. It continued to be a veterans' home for more than two and a half centuries.

For each record, details provided generally include name, age, calculated year of birth, rank, regiment, date and place of admission to pension and/or date of discharge. In some cases a place of birth is provided. Here are a few of examples of entries I found in my travels through this collection:

– Martin Tobin, a private with the 62nd Foot Regiment – Pension Admission on 30 August 1858, aged 41, in Dublin.

– Owen Tierney, born Dungannon, Co Tyrone, a private with the 3rd Regiment of Royal Veterans – Discharged on 1 June 1821, aged 38, in Dublin.

– Thomas Lonergan, born Mollough, Co Tipperary, a dragoon with the 7th or Princess Royal's Regiment of Dragoons Guards – discharged on 10 June 1792 in Dublin, aged 44.

UK, Royal Hospital Chelsea Pensioner Admissions and Discharges, 1715-1925:
This collection of some 920,000 records is made up of registers of the award of 'out-pensions' of the Royal Hospital Chelsea to soldiers discharged from the Regular Army or the Militia on account of disability. Some British Army pensioners chose to surrender their pension in order to take up residence at the Royal Hospital. Those who preferred to receive their pension allowance and live elsewhere were called 'out pensioners'.

Inevitably, there are a lot of Irishmen in this collection. Those noting birthplaces in Ireland number about 40,000, but I'm sure there are many more. Here are a few representative entries of Irishmen going through the pension process in the 18th and early-19th centuries:

– Jas Doyle, born about 1722 in Charleville, County Cork, a Sargeant with the 47th Regiment of Foot – Examination or Pension Admission Date, 4 December 1759.

– Henry Sullivan, born about 1750 in Drogheda, Co Louth, a private with the 26th Regiment of Foot – Discharged 7 June 1811.

– Dominick Gallagher, born about 1736 in Sligo, served in Major Bowen's Company – Examination or Pension Admission Date, 1 February 1802.

UK, Royal Hospital Chelsea Pensioner Soldier Service Records, 1760-1920
This collection comprises service documents of soldiers (but not officers) who either became in- or out-pensioners of the Royal Hospital Chelsea. By 1815, there were more than 36,000 out-pensioners. Documents after 1883 usually contain fuller particulars, such as next of kin and details of marriage and children. The attestation and discharge documents constitute the most detailed record of a soldier's service. These records usually give particulars of age, birthplace, service (including any decorations), information about physical description, previous occupation on enlistment and the reason given for discharge to pension. After 1883, most soldiers will appear in these records if they survived their service. In total, more than one million records are in this collection; the number of Irish-born soldiers is 46,578.

Here's an example of a search result (I've yet to unravel it):

Geremiah Santry
Age: 23
Birth Date: abt 1843
Birth Place: Tremalagne, Cork
Service Start Year: 1866
Regiment: 62 Regiment Of Foot

Obviously the name should be Jeremiah, but I've no idea where Tremalagne is (google just suggested 'travel agent cork'!!). Could be Timoleague, I suppose. That would make sense.

*Hmmm. I don't think much of that. Seems the 'Explore comprehensive military, immigration & Irish records' promised by my Premium subscription is rather less comprehensive and rather more selective.

UPDATE, 11 November:
Fold 3 is offering free access to these three new collections (and more) until 13 November. See blogpost.