New resource to trace ancestors in the English Civil War


06 April 2017
Screen-Shot-2017-04-05-at-16.46.57-33601.png Oliver Cromwell
The Cromwell Association Online Directory of Parliamentarian Army Officers is a new resource that family historians tracing ancestors who fought on the side of Parliament in the English Civil War will find very useful

Years of work to create an online directory of officers who fought on the side of Parliament in the English Civil War is coming to fruition.


The Cromwell Association Online Directory of Parliamentarian Army Officers was initiated to mark the 400th anniversary in April 1999 of Oliver Cromwell’s birth. Now complete, the resource is due to be made freely available on the British History Online in partnership with the Institute of Historical Research (IHR).


British History Online is a digital library with a rich collection of primary and secondary resources for British and Irish history founded by the IHR and the History of Parliament Trust in 2003.


An event is being held in London on 17 May to celebrate the launch of the directory, which will be of great value to family historians tracing individual officers and families in the period. The resource will be added to over time as new information comes to light.


Dr Stephen K Roberts of the History of Parliament Trust, who is a vice-president of The Cromwell Association and general editor of the directory, said: ‘The resource has been in preparation for a long time by The Cromwell Association. It is a list of officers who served in the armies of Parliament during the civil war of 1642-1645, with an emphasis on the early years of the war.


'It concentrates on the army units that fought on the battlefield, rather than on the staff in the garrisons. Brief biographical and service details are provided of the officers where they are known. The resource can’t claim to be comprehensive, but it should be the first port of call for anyone seeking information on civil war army officers.’

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Officers include those of the rank of cornet, or ensign, the equivalent of a sub-lieutenant, and above. Soldiers below that rank are virtually impossible to trace in any consistent way.


The Cromwell Association has been working towards the goal of a readily available directory of parliamentarian army officers for a number of years. The research, which draws upon a wide range of sources, including substantial new archival work, has been complex. Thanks to generous grants from the Marc Fitch Foundation and the Aurelius Trust, and drawing upon The Cromwell Association’s own funds, professional researchers were employed to undertake the task.


The directory has been compiled under the general editorship of Dr Roberts, supported by Professor Peter Gaunt, president (and previously chairman) of The Cromwell Association, which is a registered charity established in 1937.


Image: © Wellcome Library, London. Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0 


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