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United Kingdom, Militia Service Records - FamilySearch Historical Records

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FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records available at
Access the records: United Kingdom, Militia Service Records, 1806-1915 .

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Image Visibility[edit | edit source]

Whenever possible, FamilySearch makes images available for all users. However, ultimate rights to view images on our website are granted by the record custodians. The United Kingdom, Militia Service Records collection is available to the Family History Library, FamilySearch Centers, and to members of the supporting organization, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The images can be viewed at a FamilySearch Center near you.

Record Description[edit | edit source]

This collection contains records for the years 1806-1915

This collection includes records of militia servicemen from the United Kingdom. The National Archives record series number is WO 96. This collection is provided in cooperation with findmypast.

Military records are of great genealogical value and may provide information not found in any other source. These records identify individuals who served or were eligible to serve in the military. Military service (other than the militia) was usually a lifetime career. Officers came from the upper classes; soldiers usually came from the poor.

The article, British Military Records contains more information about this collection.

Record Content[edit | edit source]

Service record statements may contain the following information:

  • Full name and rank of soldier, Lieutenant Colonel Charles Cooke
  • Corps in which soldier served New Jersey Volunteers
  • Period of enlistment November 1776 he was captured in December 1776, in an endeavor to raise recruits for the New Jersey Volunteers and was detained for over 3 years
  • Record of promotions, reductions and transfers  AO.13 /108 p. 217
  • Year of birth  ?
  • Place of birth Ireland
  • Age ?
  • Date of event ?
  • Occupation general merchant at Crosswick,Burlington county, N.J. [The loyalist of New Jeresy by E.Alfred Jones/ A.Van Doren Honeyman, page 48] and American loyalist Claims, Volume 1, By Peter Wilson Coldham , page 100 & 101.
  • Marital Status ?
  • Place of residence at time of registration Crosswick, Burlington County, N.J.

Attestation Records may contain the following information:

  • Name of enlistee
  • Battalion and regiment assignment
  • Parish, town and county of current residence
  • Parish, town and county of previous residence
  • Age, occupation, and marital status
  • Number of children under 14 years
  • Record of any previous service
  • Any record of penal servitude
  • Time period to serve for present enlistment

Description Records contain the following information:

  • Complete physical description including age, height and weight
  • Chest measurement, complexion, color of eyes and hair
  • Religious denomination
  • Certification by a medical examiner

How to Use the Record[edit | edit source]

To begin your search, it would be helpful if you knew the following information:

  • Ancestors name
  • Regiment
  • Ship name

Search the Collection[edit | edit source]

To search by index:
Fill in the requested information in the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about the ancestors in the list to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person. You may need to look at several images and compare the information about the individuals listed in those images to your ancestors to make this determination.

Tips to Keep in Mind[edit | edit source]

  • There may be more than one person in the records with the same name.
  • You may not be sure of your own ancestor’s name.
  • Your ancestor may have used different names or variations of their name throughout their life.
  • Check for variant spellings of the name
  • It is difficult to locate an individual’s record without knowing his ship or regiment. If you do not know this, you may find it in other types of records. Once you know the regiment or ship, consult the muster rolls, records of service, or other records available for that ship or regiment.
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Don't overlook FHL Place United States items or FHL Keyword United States items in the FamilySearch Library Catalog.

Regiment Search Strategies[edit | edit source]

Army Officers

The basic unit of the Army is the regiment under a colonel or lieutenant colonel. Regiments are usually divided into two or more Battalions. The main types of regiments which should be searched are:

  • Cavalry
  • Infantry
  • Corps (e,g, Army Service Corps; Royal Signals; Royal Engineers etc.)

Prior to 1847, English army service was usually for life. Some soldiers were discharged early for disability (liberally defined) or age (often by age 40).

Pre-1872 army records are organized by regiment. Most regiments have published histories that tell the places where they served and the battles they fought. For a bibliography of these histories, see:

Pre-1751 infantry and cavalry units were known by the names of their colonels, i.e. Sir Thomas Adams Regiment of Foot.

Post-1751 a numerical system was adopted to name the regiments, with rank in order of precedence, i.e. Queens 9th Regiment of Foot.

If your ancestor does not appear in the Army List for the right time period, consult the card index to officers, available only at the Public Record Office.

If an officer was living during 1828 or 1829, you can use the indexed returns of service. "Birth certificates" submitted with widow’s pension applications may reveal an officer’s name. If you still cannot find a record, use the search strategies for soldiers.

Royal Navy personnel

If your ancestor was in the navy after 1852, search the index to Continuous Service Engagement Books, or the Surname Index to the 1861 Census Returns of Ships.

Before 1853 the source to use depends on what you know about your ancestor. If you know:

  • The name of a ship on which he served, search the ship musters, pay lists, and ship logs for the time period he should have been aboard.
  • A port where your ancestor landed on a specific date, search the List Books, a geographically arranged list of ship locations at the Public Record Office (class ADM 8).
  • A battle or campaign in which his ship was involved, search the medal rolls.
  • The name of an officer serving with your ancestor, search the Navy List for that officer’s ship.

Since many seamen also served in the Merchant Marines during their careers, search the records described in British Merchant Marine

Known Issues with This Collection[edit | edit source]

For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection see the attached Wiki article. If you encounter additional problems, please email them to Please include the full path to the link and a description of the problem in your e-mail. Your assistance will help ensure that future reworks will be considered.

Related Websites[edit | edit source]

Related Wiki Articles[edit | edit source]

How You Can Contribute[edit | edit source]

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.

Citations for This Collection[edit | edit source]

Citing your sources makes it easy for others to find and evaluate the records you used. When you copy information from a record, list where you found that information. Here you can find citations already created for the entire collection and for each individual record or image.

Collection Citation:

"United Kingdom, Militia Service Records, 1806-1915." Database with Images. FamilySearch. : accessed 2016. Citing "Militia Service Records 1806-1915." Index and images. findmypast : Brightsolid, n.d. WO 96. The National Archives of the UK, Kew, Surrey.

Record Citation (or citation for the index entry):

When looking at a record, the citation is found below the record. You can search records in this collection by visiting the search page for United Kingdom, Militia Service Records, 1806-1915.

Image Citation:

When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen. You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for United Kingdom, Militia Service Records, 1806-1915.