Salute your ancestor's service this Remembrance with new and exclusive military records
4-5 minute read
By Jessie O'Hara
Honour your First World War ancestors like never before.
In a Findmypast first, we've released 56 sound recordings of servicemen in German prison camps in the First World War, in partnership with the British Library.
These men all recite the Parable of the Prodigal Son. This was an attempt by the Germans to understand and record regional dialects, so the men are from all across the country and are of all different backgrounds. The oldest man in the collection is 59 and served with the Merchant Navy - the youngest, a private with the 1st Gordon Highlanders, was only 20 years of age.
Each record will include a link to the audio recording on the British Library website, as well as additional detail on the serviceman. You may find notes on their trade, family life, religion, place of origin and the date they were captured. This could help you search through our vast collection of military records, parish records, or even our newspaper archive to track them down and discover more about them.
One of the men listed in this collection, Norfolk-born Walter Chapman, can also be found in our Britain, Merchant Seaman, 1918-1941 collection. Alongside his service record is a photo. With his voice, his portrait, and details of his service, we can fit the puzzle pieces together and now build a multi-dimensional picture of who Walter was. It really doesn't get much more moving than that.
Have you found an ancestor's voice in this collection? We'd love to hear about it. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or tag us on social media @findmypast to let us know.
If you've located ancestors that were captured and imprisoned in German camps, then don't miss this collection.
It offers a fascinating glimpse into the hardships of prisoner of war camps in Germany. Comprised of official government documents, reports, and even personal letters from loved ones, the context given in these records helps add some nuance and detail to the struggle of captured servicemen. Many of these records describe concern over the conditions of the camps, as well as some first-hand accounts of imprisonment.
There are a few named individuals in this collection too, so it's definitely worth a search to see what you can find.
We've released an additional 251 records from Coventry to this collection.
The information you'll find record to record will vary, but often you'll get their birth year, details of their previous occupation, and more information on their time serving in the military. Some records, like the one above, also include photos, making this another poignant collection to dive into this Remembrance.
So much of global history has been touched by the First and Second World Wars, and millions of families across the globe were affected. This Remembrance, we want you to share your family stories of wartime heroes with us, so we can help honour them for the generations to come.
All you need to do is upload a short video of you sharing your ancestor's story, and you could be in with a chance of winning a 12-month Pro subscription amongst other prizes. Why not have a browse through other members' stories while you're there? Let's salute their service together this weekend.
Amongst 18 brand-new titles from all across England and Scotland, we've released specialist title, the War Pictures Weekly and the London Illustrated Weekly.
First published in 1914, the beginning of the Great War, the paper proclaimed its purpose:
'The long-foretold Great War has come at last... We intend to describe fully every picture, and to give a short and comprehensive résumé of the week’s doings, but not to burden our Readers with lengthy repetitions of what they have probably already read in their daily papers.'
It featured an array of illustrations from the First World War, ranging from German infantry, fighting that took place across land, sea, and air, to depictions of food riots on the Home Front. Its prose was short and pithy, often quite sardonic at the state of the nation during the war.
Perhaps most unnerving is its predictions of how the Great War would be perceived for years to come. In some instances, it recommends its readers keep copies of the newspaper to pass down to their children, as in its own words:
'The present War will be the greatest ever known.'
Once you've gotten lost in the pages of this title, it's difficult to pull yourself out. Don't end your research there, though - we have another 17 new titles and 89 updated titles for you this week, so here's a full list for you to browse.
- Ayrshire World, 1996
- Bolton Advertiser, 1889
- Canterbury Times, 1997
- Chester Chronicle (Frodsham & Helsby edition), 1995-1996
- Dunstable on Sunday, 1997
- East Hull Advertiser, 1995-1996
- Exeter Leader, 1997
- Feltham Chronicle, 1996
- Lanark & Carluke Advertiser, 1996
- Million, 1892-1895
- North Tyneside herald & post, 1997
- Nottingham & Long Eaton Topper, 1997
- Pals, 1895
- Shropshire News, 1868
- Walton & Weybridge Leader, 1995
- War Pictures Weekly and the London Illustrated Weekly, 1914-1916
- West Hull Advertiser, 1996
- Woking Informer, 1996
- Accrington Observer and Times, 1996
- Anfield & Walton Star, 1995
- Ashby Mail, 1996
- Bebington News, 1996-1997
- Bedfordshire on Sunday, 1993
- Beverley Advertiser, 1996
- Birkenhead News, 1997
- Birmingham Weekly Mercury, 1960
- Blairgowrie Advertiser, 1995
- Bootle Times, 1997
- Boston Target, 1996
- Brent Leader, 1996
- Brentwood Gazette, 1996-1997
- Bristol Evening Post, 1962, 1970
- Burntwood Mercury, 1997
- Burntwood Post, 1997
- Burton Trader, 1996-1997
- Cannock Chase Post, 1996-1997
- Caterham Mirror, 1995
- Cheltenham News, 1996
- Chester Chronicle, 1901-1905, 1907-1909, 1911-1913, 1919-1921, 1925-1926, 1929-1930, 1937, 1946, 1949, 1973-1975, 1977
- Clyde Weekly News, 1996-1997
- Crosby Herald, 1997
- Croydon Advertiser and East Surrey Reporter, 1955
- Devizes and Wiltshire Gazette, 1885
- Dumfries and Galloway Standard, 1998
- Ealing & Southall Informer, 1997
- East Grinstead Observer, 1997
- East Kent Gazette, 1997
- Ely Town Crier, 1996
- Evening Despatch, 1905-1906
- Faversham Times and Mercury and North-East Kent Journal, 1996-1997
- Folkestone, Hythe, Sandgate & Cheriton Herald, 1996-1997
- Gainsborough Target, 1997
- Grimsby Daily Telegraph, 1998
- Haltemprice & East Yorkshire Advertiser, 1996
- Haverhill Echo, 1978, 1980
- Hinckley Herald & Journal, 1997
- Holderness Advertiser, 1997
- Horley & Gatwick Mirror, 1997
- Horncastle Target, 1995, 1997
- Ilkeston Express, 1998
- Irvine Herald, 1997
- Isle of Thanet Gazette and Thanet Times, 1998
- Kent & Sussex Courier, 1996
- Leatherhead Advertiser, 1995
- Leek Post & Times and Cheadle News & Times and Moorland Advertiser, 1996
- Lincoln Target, 1997
- Medway News, 1997
- Middlesbrough Herald & Post, 1996
- North Wales Weekly News, 1996
- Northampton Herald & Post, 1996
- Nottingham Evening Post, 1974-1976, 1978
- Nottingham Guardian, 1963
- Nottingham Recorder, 1997-1998
- Oadby & Wigston Mail, 1996
- Oldham Advertiser, 1996-1997
- Plymouth Extra, 1996
- Port Talbot Guardian, 1998-1999
- Potteries Advertiser, 1997
- Prescot Reporter, 1883
- Ripley Express, 1993
- Ruislip & Northwood Gazette, 1998
- Scunthorpe Evening Telegraph, 1941, 1945, 1980, 1990, 1992, 1996-1997
- Sevenoaks Chronicle and Kentish Advertiser, 1997
- Skelmersdale Advertiser, 1997
- Southport Visiter, 1997
- Stafford Post, 1996-1997
- Staines Leader, 1996
- Stanmore Observer, 1997
- Stockport Times, 1997
- Stockton & Billingham Herald & Post, 1996
- Sunbury & Shepperton Herald, 1996
- Surrey Herald, 1996
- Surrey-Hants Star, 1996-1997
- Sutton Coldfield News, 1996
- Sutton Coldfield Observer, 1996-1997
- Thanet Times, 1997
- Torbay Express and South Devon Echo, 1934, 1938
- Uckfield Courier, 1996-1997
- Uxbridge Informer, 1997
- Wembley Leader, 1995