How to trace family using the military records at Ancestry


08 October 2021
We explore the records on Ancestry that can help you trace and tell the stories of your military ancestors.

If you know of, or discover, a military ancestor in your family tree, it can be difficult to know what records to use to find out more about the person's military career. Our guide profiles three Ancestry collections that can help get you on the right track.

1. Comprehensive medal records

The British Army World War I Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-1920 is a massive collection of nearly 5 million medal cards. It includes all ranks, officers and soldiers and represents about 90% of those who served.

Eligibility for campaign medals and gallantry awards is recorded on each person's medal index card. You may also find details such as the place and date on which they first entered a theatre of war. 

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2. Crucial First World War records

The soldiers and non-commissioned officers British Army World War I Service Records 1914-1920 are extremely valuable for tracing First World War soldiers.

Known as the Burnt and Unburnt records, those that exist are the fortunate survivors of a fire in 1940 and are searchable on Ancestry.

3. Serving on home soil

The registers of those who served in the Home Guard in the county of Lancashire can be found in the Home Guard Records 1940-45 collection

Home address, next of kin and birth date are recorded, as are dates of enrolment, resignation and discharge. National Registration Number is included too.

Extract taken from an article on tracing family military history heroes on Ancestry, in the November 2021 issue of Family Tree magazine.