of army officers were kept as early as 1702. These lists named the
officer, their regiment, and usually the date they received their
current commission and when they retired. The first official Army
list was published in 1740 and since 1754 they have been published
regularly as annual lists (1754-1879) and quarterly lists (1879-1922).
Since 1939 they have been classified and not available to the public.
An outline of an officer's career is usually fairly easy to discover
from official army lists.
The most important information is usually organised by regiment,
so if you need to trace a military ancestor, you aren't going to
get very far without their regiment details. An army list can give
you much more detail, and can usually provide the key to accessing
a soldier's various documents relating to their appointment and
service. (These documents can then be accessed via the Public
The Navy List is an official list of naval officers, their ranks
and seniority, the ships which they command or to which they are
appointed, etc., that is published by the government or naval authorities
of a country.
These records are useful for tracing an ancestor in the Navy -
most Navy lists include a person's name, date when rank was aquired,
rank, and whether active/retired.
Navy battleship sinking after striking a mine.
Below: In the trenches: Infantry with gas masks, Ypres,
World War I and World War II Records & Information
World War I, also known as the Great War, was a global military
conflict which took place primarily in Europe between 1914 and 1918.
More than nine million soldiers and civilians died.
World War II (abbreviated WWII), or the Second World War, was a
worldwide conflict which lasted from 1939 to 1945. Spanning much
of the globe, World War II resulted in the deaths of over 60 million
people, making it the deadliest conflict in human history.
These records are for tracing an ancestor who died or fought during
the war. You can find out about heroic officers, overseas deaths,
and even read the original magazine that was printed weekly during
the second world war, giving you an fascinating insight into how
your ancestors lived during that period.
Tips & Things to Remember
- Consider spelling variants, wrong names, and the possibility
that it was never recorded.
Where Can I Search a Military Record?
- For Army Lists, go to ArmyLists.org.uk
- this is full of information.
- You should first try S&N
Genealogy Supplies, as they have one of the largest selections
of records on CD-ROM.
- Also try TheGenealogist.co.uk
- there are a number of specialist records available to search
online, including crew lists, landowner records, army lists, and