Findmypast.co.uk have released a fabulous family history resource -  the index and images of  WO96 militia records for 1806-1915. The Findmypast wesbite is available for free at the Society of Genealogists Library

 

The WO 96 Militia Records are a valuable resources for genealogy research-

  • Over half a million records covering 100 years of the militia – the forerunner of The British Territorial Army – published online
  • Records provide unique descriptions of what your ancestors actually looked like
  • Everyday workers including butchers and bakers fighting for their country
  • The British militia was recruited from all over the world

Leading family history website, findmypast.co.uk has published the records of over half a million men who served in the British militia, the precursor to the UK’s Territorial Army. The Militia Service Records, covering 1806 to 1915, have been made available online for the first time to coincide with British Armed Forces Day on Saturday.

The records colourfully portray what the British militia looked like, detailing the height, weight, chest size, complexion, eye colour, hair colour and distinctive marks of each recruit. Arthur Wilson’s distinguishing marks included an acrobat and dots tattooed on his left forearm. Similarly, Albert Smith, born in India, was recorded as having teeth that were ‘defective but enough for mastication’.

Debra Chatfield, Marketing Manager at findmypast.co.uk comments: “These records provide rich insight into our past and show how the everyday man, such as your local shopkeeper, found himself fighting for his country. In the absence of photographs, these records can help you imagine what your ancestors looked like, containing details which are largely unavailable elsewhere. Our easy to use website means you can unearth even more fascinating and detailed information about your ancestors at the click of a mouse.”

Like today’s Territorial Army, the militia was made up of men who held everyday jobs, but took part in military exercises and on occasions fought for their country. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, these typically included shoemakers, woodchoppers, butchers, bakers, coal miners and millers.

Charles Godfrey, for example, was a butcher for a Mr Debron in Oxford. Born in the Parish of Botley, Berkshire, Godfrey volunteered for the militia on 25th July 1887 aged 18. Charles served with the 3rd Battalion Royal Berkshire Regiment and was recorded as being five feet four inches tall with steel grey eyes. 

 

William Spencer, Principal Military Records Specialist at The National Archives, commented: “It took a certain kind of individual to leave a day job as a blacksmith, labourer or barman and enlist as a part time soldier in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Although the majority never left British shores, many saw active service with the regular army in places such as South Africa during the Second Boer War. Like its modern equivalent, the Territorial Army, the pre-WWI militia offered a way for former soldiers to continue serving their country and civilians a chance to leave humdrum jobs, earn extra money and enjoy the comradeship such services had to offer.”

The Militia Service Records are the only set of their kind available online and have been published in association with The National Archives and in partnership with FamilySearch. The records show that the soldiers who made up the militia during that period hailed not only from the UK itself, but also from around the world. Some recruits had been born in Italy, Ceylon, South Africa and even as far away as Australia and New Zealand.

David Rencher, Chief Genealogy Officer at FamilySearch added: “The publication of the Militia Service Records fills another critical gap in the family historian’s toolkit. The digitisation and indexing of this rich collection will make it easy to find the regiment an ancestor served with and also when and where he was born. Family historians will quickly realise the value of this information, particularly when the record of an ancestor’s birth has been elusive or impossible to find elsewhere.”

ENDS 

For further information or examples of the records, please contact:

Amy Sell

amy.sell@findmypast.co.uk

or

Lauren Hunt-Morgan

0207 566 9729

laurenhm@lansons.com

 

Notes to editors

Armed Forces Day

The release coincides with Armed Forces Day which is taking place on Saturday, 25 June 2011.

The day aims to raise public awareness of the contribution made to our country by those who serve and have served in Her Majesty’s Armed Forces, It also gives the nation an opportunity to show support for the men and women who make up the Armed Forces community: from currently serving troops to Service families and from veterans to cadets. In 2011 the National Event will be held in Edinburgh, but there are many more events up and down the country being held in support of Armed Forces Day.

 

Full list of places of birth as recorded in the Militia Service Records:

Africa

Australia

Canada

Channel Islands

East Indies

England

Spain

France

Germany

Gibraltar

Greece

India

Isle of Man

Ireland

Italy

Ceylon

Malta

New Zealand

Russia

South America

Scotland

At sea

West Indies

Wales

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The first meeting of The National Archives’ User Advisory Group is on 22 June, then four times a year thereafter.

If anyone has any issues or points they wish to raise about TNA please do not hesitate to contact Else by email genealogy@sog.org.uk, or through the comments facility on this page. Alternatively you can comment via the Society of Genealogists’ Facebook page or follow Else on twitter @SoGGenealogist

TNA has drafted the Terms of Reference for The National Archives’ User Advisory Group

The role of the User Advisory Group is to:

 Provide an opportunity for users of The National Archives to get involved in the organisations planning and decision making process at an early stage and a strategic level.

Provide an opportunity for The National Archives to seek structured advice and feedback from our user communities on specific developments and decisions, via a formal closed group, which actively represents the diverse interests, concerns and agendas of our user communities. Provide balanced and holistic representation from the diverse sections of our user community and an opportunity for dialogue between representatives of these groups. Act as a two way communications channel between The National Archives and our user communities.

Provide a voice, through representation, for users who may not be able to make use of the other engagement channels provided by The National Archives.
 

The role of the User Advisory Group is distinct from:

The role of the User Forum which is an open forum held regularly on site at The National Archives. However, it is likely that there will be links and communication channels between the 2 groups, in both directions.

Executive responsibility of The National Archives’ formal governance structure, including all of its constituent parts.
Any other consultative or advisory group or body not listed above.

Method of engagement

The User Advisory Group consists of invited delegates who represent the following sections of our user community:
On site, personal interest researchers
Independent (paid) researchers
Academic researchers
Researchers based primarily in the Map and Large Document Reading Room
Researchers interested in the diversity / inclusion / access agenda
County / external archives
Genealogy / family history societies
Online users (Initially, on site users will be represented by a member of The National Archives’ staff. During 2011 – 2012, we will be running a formal work stream to improve opportunities for engagement with online users).

The National Archives commits to:

Manage and Chair the meetings effectively, to promote productive communication and discussion.
Set the dates of the meetings in advance and communicate these effectively so as to allow delegates to plan their attendance.
Circulate agendas and minutes of the meetings in a timely manner. Communicate effectively with delegates interregnum, as appropriate.

Delegates should commit to:


Respect the roles and opinions of the other delegates, the Chair and other staff in attendance.
Make every effort to attend the meetings and act as a representative for a minimum of one year (4 meetings).
Make every effort to effectively represent, feed back to and communicate with their user community; to include the publication of their names and contact details.
Show discretion in communicating what is discussed at the meetings and maintain confidentiality where instructed by the Chair or other staff members.

Constitution of the User Advisory Group
The User Advisory Group will meet 4 times a year with:
The Director of Operations and Services (co-chair) The Director of Customer and Business Development (co-chair) The Customer Intelligence Manager The Customer Research manager The Customer Intelligence Officer (online user representative)
Additional members of staff will be made available depending upon agenda topics.
Agendas for meetings will be published in advance of, and full minutes will be published following the meetings.

Resources
We will make limited resources available to support the User Advisory Group:
Publicise the dates of the meetings and the contact details of delegates, online, onsite and in publications where appropriate.
Provide meeting space, refreshments and facilities for the meetings, as required.
Where appropriate, provide reasonable resources to allow delegates to communicate and meet with members of the communities they represent (to include space on our notice boards and meeting rooms where available).

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The schedule for the New England Historic Genealogical  Society English Family History Tour 25 September-2 October 2011 has been published on the American Ancestors Website


The Society of Genealogists will host this week long study day in its library in London. The programme includes presentations and workshops with SoG and NEHGS staff and experts; orientations and use of the Society’s extensive genealogical library and collections and visits to The National Archives and British LibrarySoGBuildingPhotoGMcover2010web thumb American Ancestors (NEHGS) English Family History Tour hosted by Society of Genealogists

The Society of Genealogists is situated on the edge of the historic City of London and part of the tour will include a fascinating walk from the SoG through the City to St Pauls Cathedral taking in City Churches, Postman’s Park, the Guildhall Library and other places of interests.

Booking for the tour is through the American Ancestors Website

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Findmypast gets first UK product placement TV deal for genealogy programme

Guardian Media has reported that the UK genealogy website Findmypast has signed a deal with UKTV – channel Yesterday.


The pay-TV broadcaster has struck the product placement deal with Brightsolid, the DC Thomson-owned company that is home to online genealogy tools including Find My Past and Genes Reunited, to launch a genealogy show on factual channel Yesterday.

 In UKTV’s biggest advertiser-funded programming deal to date, Brightsolid will pay for a new 10-part one-hour series called Find My Past. In return the company gets brand exposure in the titles, end credits and all marketing associated with the new series.

 Each week the show, which is being made by independent producer Lion Television, will use the findmypast.co.uk website to focus on a famous moment – such as Dunkirk or the Jack the Ripper attacks – to connect “three seemingly unrelated members of the public”.

 UKTV, which is jointly owned by the BBC and Virgin Media, will broadcast the show this winter on Freeview channel Yesterday.

 ”Findmypast.co.uk already has a strong commercial association with us as Yesterday’s main sponsor, so finding and developing a fresh genealogy TV format to co-fund has been a natural next step,” said Sally Quick, head of commercial partnerships at UKTV.

Much of the Society of Genealogists online data is also hosted on Findmypast so the Society is delighted that there will be another TV opporunity to focus on rich online  genealogy source materal.

for more information on the report on thisTV programme visit the Guardian Media website

with thanks to Chris M Paton and UK-TV press department for bringing this to our attention

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Are you stuck for an idea for a Fathers Day Gift for July 19th? Then buy him something that will captivate his interest in genealogy and provide an entertaning hobby for years to come.  Membership of the Society of Genealogists allows free access to the Society’s remarkable library; on line data on our wesite and discounts on our books, events and courses.

The Society of Genealogists Gift Certfificate for one year’s membership can be ordered direct from the Society’s online shop

This is a great  gift for a family historian. You will receive a gift certificate, application form and membership pack to pass onto the lucky recipient. To activate the membership, the recipient will need to complete the application form and return it to the Society of Genealogists by post or upon their first visit to the society.

Membership of the Society of Genealogists costs just £45 a year  for the UK (£43 by diret debit) and £27 a year for overseas members.  There is a one-off joining admin fee of £10 in the first year.

More details of SoG membership benefits and information about the Society’s remarkable library can be found on the Society’s website

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