Tag Archives: the national archives

British Army Service Records 1760-1913 on Findmypast.co.uk

16 Mar

The first chunk of Chelsea Pensioners British Army Service Records 1760 to 1913 have been released on Findmypast.co.uk today. The records released today are a small part of the whole collection, covering men discharged in the period between 1883 and 1900.

Findmypast.co.uk have provided some useful resources for understanding these records, which is just as well. Even the words "Chelsea Pensioners" are a bit misleading, they were not necessarily residents of The Royal Hospital at Chelsea, but received a pension that was administered by the hospital.

Like any database it is important to know what is and isn’t included, why would a soldier be in this collection? For example, according to the website it "doesn’t contain the records of soldiers who died in service or who took an early discharge because they didn’t receive a pension."

Having used these records in their paper form I can safely say that they are real goldmines of information, of course the contents do vary from soldier to soldier, but they contain detailed descriptions of soldiers along with relationship information (next of kin), not just details of their army service.

The records are not that different from the WW1 Service Records (1914-1920) previously released on Ancestry.co.uk, expect of course the condition and the fact that the vast majority have survived.

For my own research I know there will be several relations contained within this release, although I am in no rush to get their details yet. It is another database that I will need to check regularly as I go through my family history, like I already do with the WW1 Service Records. I am sure lots of previously unknown soldiers will turn up, filling in some gaps in my database.

Coming to you live from The National Archives, Kew

8 Aug

I am writing this post sitting in the cyber cafe at The National Archives in Kew. I fell slightly guilty because it is lovely outside and I really ought to be out walking, enjoying the summer sun, but the chance to head to the archives was too good an opportunity to miss.

I have just stopped for lunch after a surprisingly productive morning, mostly spent looking at original documents, and mostly working on the GASSON side of the family. Clearing some old to-do items from my list!

The best discovery so far was a tiny snippet of information on my 3x great grandfather Thomas GASSON. I have found when he was dismissed from the Metropolitan Police, it was in 1861 and the reason, drunk on duty. At least I now have found one end of his police career, but I suspect I am unlikely to find much more.

I have also found the military service record for Thomas’ son Alfred GASSON. I think he is the only professional soldier I have found in my research, all the others only serving in times of war when they were called upon.

I have lots on images on my digital camera, and hopefully they will be readable on the big screen. I have made a note of the most important details just in case, like the fact that Alfred served in South Africa and got a campaign medal for it. I wonder where that is now?

I have about two and a half hours left before I have to make my way back to the railway station, make that two hours because I need to allow plenty of time to browse the bookshop before I go. This afternoon is probably going to be devoted to Wybrants KINGHORN and his criminal career, but I might try and find out about Alfred’s campaign medal as well while I am here.


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