New Online Resources from TNA Available Free at the SoG

In this week of Remembrance The National Archives have published  datasets for RAF Officers and Soldiers of the First World War. Both these datasets can be viewed free of charge on the Society of Genealogists Library.


 
The National Archives has made 99,000 RAF officers’ service records available online through its Documents Online pay per view service for the first time. These records are easily searchable by first name, last name and date of birth, and were previously only accessible to visitors at the Kew site. The courageous aviators of the early Royal Air Force (RAF) played a crucial role in Britain’s victory in the First World War. Among the service records available are some of the country’s most celebrated and famous pilots – known as ‘Aces’ for having shot down five or more enemy aircraft. Documents Online is available free of charge at the SoG Library

In addition and in partnership with The National Archives, Ancestry.co.uk has now made available online the entire collection of British Army World War One Service Records, 1914-1920, detailing the full military careers of more than two million soldiers who served during World War One. Ancesry.co.uk is available free of charge at the SoG library

Service records contain a variety of information concerning all aspects of the army careers of those who completed their duty were killed in action or executed. They include the soldier’s name, date and place of birth, address, next-of-kin, former occupation, marital status, medical records, service history, regiment number, locations of service and discharge papers.

The files were chosen for digitisation because they are one of the most popular resources accessed at The National Archives and, prior to now, only available in microfilm format. Digitising the microfilm records makes these valuable records easier to search and more accessible to a wider audience.

Approximately 60 per cent of the paper originals of the service records were destroyed by fire when the War Office (in London) was struck by a bomb in 1940 during an air raid. The surviving 32.5 million records became known as the ‘Burnt Documents’.

Together, the service and pension records form the definitive source of information in existence on more than three million ordinary soldiers who fought in the British Army during World War One. The sheer volume of material has meant that the collection has been digitised in stages. The final tranche of digitised files comprised of those records from O to Z.  The process has taken three years to complete.

Among the surviving service records are those of a number of both brave soldiers and celebrities, including :

Basil Rathbone – the British actor, best known for the portrayal of Sherlock Holmes in 14 movies between 1939 and 1946, enlisted in the London Scottish Regiment in 1916. The discharge papers within his service record describe his eyes and hair as ‘dark’ and his complexion as ‘fresh’.

George Peachment – George’s service record reveals he was awarded the Victoria Cross – an accolade he received for his bravery in saving the life of an officer near Hulluch, France, where he was later killed in action. His record also features a letter from his mother requesting his personal effects after his death and a journalist requesting a photograph of him.

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325,499 names in 163 Data Sets available online in the SoG Members’ Area

 

The Society of Genealogists is happy to announce that there are now some 325,499 names in 163 Data Sets available for Members of the Society to search in the SoG Members’ Area  of the Society of Genealogists Website. For the first time the Society is now able to make its prestigious journal  the Genealogists’ Magazine available online as these Data Sets include PDFs of the first 4 volumes from 1925 and the contemporary indexes.


 

Further information about the contents of each of the datasets can be found on the  SoG Website 

Non-members may search the  indexes for free but full entries are only available to SoG members

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New Online Military Records on Ancestry & Family Relatives are Free in SoG Library

A number of new military databases have been published and are avalable to view free of charge in the Society of Genealogists Library

In partnership with The National Archives, Ancestry.co.uk has now made available online the entire collection of British Army World War One Service Records, 1914-1920, detailing the full military careers of more than two million soldiers who served during World War One.

The following are now available to search on Family Relatives:
Anzac Roll of Honour 1914-1919
Artist Rifles
Commissioned Sea Officers of the Royal Navy 1660-1815
New Zealand Roll of Honour
Waterloo Roll Call
British Naval Biographical Dictionary, 1849
Royal Air Force List – 1920
Royal Air Force List – 1922
Royal Air Force List – 1929
Charterhouse Register 1872-1910 NEW DATABASE!
Tasmanian Nurse’s War Record 1914-1918 NEW DATABASE!
Tasmanian War Record 1914-1918 – Roll of Honour NEW DATABASE!
Indian Army List 1939 NEW DATABASE!
Peninsula Medal Roll 1793-1814 NEW DATABASE!
De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour 1914-1918 NEW DATABASE!
List of the University of Cambridge 1914-1918 NEW DATABASE!
Army Lists NEW DATABASE!
Army List 1798 NEW DATABASE!
Army List 1810 NEW DATABASE!
Army List 1819 NEW DATABASE!
Army List 1824 NEW DATABASE!
Army List 1827 NEW DATABASE!
Army List 1831 NEW DATABASE!
Army List 1836 NEW DATABASE!
Army List 1840 NEW DATABASE!
Army List 1842 NEW DATABASE!
Army List 1846 NEW DATABASE!
Harts Army List 1850 NEW DATABASE!
Harts Army List & Militia List 1857 NEW DATABASE!
Harts Army List & Militia List 1858 NEW DATABASE!
Harts Army List & Militia List 1865 NEW DATABASE!
Harts Army List & Militia List 1868 NEW DATABASE!
Harts Army List & Militia List 1868 Version 2 NEW DATABASE!
Harts Army List, Militia List & Indian Civil Service List 1879 NEW DATABASE!
Harts Army List, Militia List, Yeomanry Cavalry List & Indian Civil Service List 1888 NEW DATABASE!
Official Army List 1888 NEW DATABASE!
Officers of the Army and Marines 1816 NEW DATABASE!

Military Records World War I

Army
Royal Navy
Soldiers who died in the Great War
Military Records World War II
Royal Air Force

Both Ancestry and Family Relatives can be searched for free at the SoG library

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It’s always worth checking what research has been done before on the family history you are researching.

The SoG collects printed and published family histories as well as unpublished material in typescript or manuscript form. Family histories and pedigrees can be found all over the library and here are some top tips and guideance to help you search in the Society of Genealogists Library.


Search SoGCAT (the Society of Genealogists’ Library Catalogue) www.sog.org.uk

Use the browse & subject search facility eg SMITH (SURNAME) Double click OR tick box and click view. You should now have a list of all the Society’s holdings for published printed or bound material related to the name along with the references you will need to find the items in the Library.

Please note we have not catalogued all surnames names in every book in the library, only those with at least three generations of narrative family history are listed. Information on families will of course be located in sources for the places where they lived or what they did. You will also need to search other materials in the library as outlined below.

The Catalogue lists the printed and bound works on the Family History Shelves in the Upper Library
The Society of Genealogists library has an extraordinary amount of family history research notes within its collections. Thousands of bound family histories and biographies have been deposited on the Family History Shelves in the Upper Library. These are arranged largely in alphabetical order and cross referenced  by surname on the catalogue.

Check bibliographies listing what’s been published
There are major bibliographies which list printed or published family histories – often in periodicals and topographical works as well as dedicated genealogical publications. These bibliographies can be found on the quick reference shelves at the Middle Library Enquiry Counter and are listed in the reading list below. The Society will have many of the works cited in these works.

Further reading. Some of thes titles have been published in facsimile form in CD ROM or may be found on Google Books)

The Genealogist’s Guide by G W Marshall
A Genealogical Guide by J B Whitmore
The Genealogist’s Guide by G B Barrow
A Catalogue of British Family Histories by T R Thomson
Scottish Family History by M Stuart
Scottish Family A Histories held in Scottish Public Libraries by J P S Ferguson
Bibliography of Irish Family History and Genealogy B de Breffny
Bibliography of Irish Family History by E MacLysaght

Look at the Society’s Manuscript Research Notes in the Lower Library
The Document Collection contains thousands of unique miscellaneous manuscript research notes arranged by surname. These are available in the archive section of the Lower Library where you will find a list of all the surnames represented. This list of the surname represented in the Document collections is also on the Society’s website  (not the catalogue). The Special Collections also contain notes on families including thousands of roll pedigrees. All the Special Collections are listed and indexed in the card index in the Lower Library. The surnames in the roll pedigrees (but not all the other collections) are also listed in the SoG’s website. The collections themselves are also in the archive area but some have been filmed.

Birth Briefs and Members Interests
SoG members can submit birth briefs showing their ancestry back to their 32 great, great grandparents. The bound birth briefs and an index are in the Upper Library. Members can submit slips showing the names they are researching. The slips are in the Upper Library. The surnames represented are listed on the Society’s website

One Name Studies
Some genealogists try to trace everyone with a particular surname. The Family History shelves contain many listings of entries from the Civil Registration Indexes to birth, death and marriage records. and these can be found through the SoG Library Catalogue The Register of the Guild of One Name Studies (GOONS) can be found at the Middle Library Enquiry Counter and online on the Guild’s website.

Peerage and Royalty and Biography
Titled families are listed in Burke’s Family Index and in Frank Leeson’s Directory of British Peerages. Pedigrees of European royalty and nobility are listed in F R Price’s Guide to European Genealogies Exclusive of the British Isles. These titles can be found on the Peerage and Royalty shelves in the Upper Library along with standard reference works on the Peerage, Landed Gentry and other biographical works.

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Society of Genealogists Special Collections – Coleman’s Catalogues and Index

The Society of Genealogists Special Collections contain a variety of interesting resources for family historians. Amongst the treasures in the Society’s Library are the Coleman’s catalogues and index

 
 
James Coleman was an heraldic and genealogical bookseller and publisher in London in the second half of the 19th century.  He aimed to obtain a constant supply of documents and books from various sources which were listed for sale in his catalogue which was produced on a regular basis between 1859 and 1911. He also published Coleman’s general index to printed pedigrees (1866).
 
As a second hand dealer he sold marriage settlements, wills, rent rolls, peerage claims, private and local Acts of Parliament, appeal cases, pedigrees, deeds, autograph letters, maps etc. as well as new and second hand books on heraldry, topography and biography.  His catalogues give brief details of the items for sale.
 
The Society has bound copies of his catalogues which were given to us in 1915 as part of the Snell Collection. The catalogues come under the heading of “printed ephemera” and it is rare for such a long and complete run to survive.  A card index of nearly 50,000 names appearing in the catalogue descriptive entries was compiled in 1936. Taking that as a starting point the Society, through its volunteers, is now undertaking to expand the index to include, where stated, the year, the county and sometimes the parish or place where the person lived. This could prove most useful for placing a family in a particular area and time.  It has, however, to be borne in mind that the original documents  listed in the catalogues are now unfortunately either no longer in existence or are in private hands.

The illustration here is of the front cover of a catalogue for 1865.

Colemans cat4 653x1024 Society of Genealogists Special Collections   Colemans Catalogues and Index

Coleman's Catalogues at the Society of Genealogists

Coincidentally, the item offered at the bottom of the page – the original burial register of Mr Roger’s Meeting House, Collier’s Rents, White Street, Southwark – was given to the Society in 1993 by one of our members. Having been photocopied and transcribed, the original was donated to the Southwark Local Studies Library. Also illustrated is a sample page from one of the catalogues.

David Horwill & Sue Gibbons, 2009

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