Saturday 14 December 2019

Ancestry adds UK Officer Service Records 1764-1932 database

The election's over, back to business again!

Ancestry ( has released the following collection:

UK, Officer Service Records, 1764-1932
Source WO76, National Archives, England

Here's the blurb:

The British military can be divided into two clear tiers - officers and other ranks. Officers hold the positions of command and authority within the military and are often in a different uniform to other ranks servicemen. Officer ranks include all commissioned positions from Lance Corporal up to General and Field Marshar l.

This Collection

This collection comprises service papers for officers in the British military for the years 1764-1932. Records often include information about the officer's family and details of his service history.

The following information can be found, where available:

Name of relative(s)
Relationship to serviceman
Place and date of birth
Place and date of death
Place and date of enlistment
Place and date of discharge
Marital Status
Regiment and unit
Service rank
Service number
Marriage date

Sadly, the original record images cannot be consulted on Ancestry, only some basic details from the records - yet again they are redirecting folk to a second site Fold3 ( to see the originals, for which you will need a separate subscription.

How many subscriptions does a person need to view a record? Ho ho ho...


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  1. I completely agree about the doubling up of subscriptions. Several years ago I obtained the UK Army service record for my wife's grandfather from Ancestry. More recently, in going back to that file, I found I could not access it directly but only through Fold 3. What a ripoff! The UK version, Forces War Records is no better though. they did not even have the man listed, in spite of the fact that he served for over 20 years, from 1885. Nor could I find any of his descendants. Unless you have unlimited funds, or the ability to travel to libraries and family history centres to use their subscriptions, you are pretty much out of luck these days in accessing all the records that may be relevant to your own family research.

  2. To quote someone or other.... "I don't belieeeeve it".

    1. "Officer ranks include all commissioned positions from Lance Corporal up to General and Field Marshal"
    No. The fact that a Lance Corporal is generally known as a NON-Commissioned Officer should have alerted Ancestry to the nonsense in that statement.

    2. So far as I can see, you don't need to worry about paying for a Fold3 subs for this lot. WO76 images appears to be free to download from TNA Discovery - the catalog entry for WO76 includes: "Records within this series are available to download free of charge as part of the Digital Microfilm project." Needless to say, I haven't checked them all!