Week 29 Military Records in 52 Weeks of Genealogical Records in 2015

29 January 2015

This personal genealogy blog challenge is to stimulate my own genealogy blogging efforts in 2014 – 2015 by focusing on a different kind of genealogical record each week. I wanted a challenge that reflected my own archival background as well as my own genealogy interests and there are probably lots of other records that I could have included. The challenge has an Australian focus but most of these records will be found just about anywhere in the genealogy world.

The 52 different types of genealogical records I finally decided on are listed in no particular order (each week will be a random surprise). Originally I planned to do this over 52 weeks in 2014 but soon realised that I have to factor in travel and illness so it is continuing into 2015 from Week 26.

Anyone is welcome to do all or part of this blogging challenge.  Let me know if you are participating and I will put a link to your post under each week’s challenge.

Links to Weeks 1-25 are here. Week 26 School Records Week 27 Census Records Week 28 Tombstones

Week 29 Military Records

This week is military records and there are lots of records that could fall under this broad heading but I will focus on the dossiers which contains lots of different information. To start there is all the biographical information contained on the enlistment form as well as a photograph in some instances (depending on the war). Then there is information on where they are sent, if they are wounded or ill, and when they come home. Sometimes there are letters from family at home seeking information on their loved one and perhaps letters from the person after their service has ended. Some of the dossiers I have are quite big while others only have a few pages.

Gordon Price

Gordon Price

On my mother’s side of the family I have dossiers on two uncles who fought in the Boer War, her father and another two uncles who fought in World War I and her four brothers who fought in World War II. On my father’s side no one fought in the Boer War but three of his mother’s uncles fought in World War I and one was a German prisoner of war. World War II saw lots of his uncles enlist including his own father.

Mum’s brother Gordon Price was a Rat of Tobruk, see his story here. My mother’s uncles Solomon and William Price have their story told here. My two grandfather’s stories are here – Henry Price was involved with WWI while Jack Gunderson was in WWII although did not see service overseas. My father’s uncles John, Robert and Denis Finn have their WWI story here. My partner had a relation Tasman Jarvis killed at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915 and his story is here.

Why have I already blogged about so many military ancestors? I have been participating in Anzac Day and Remembrance Day blog challenges over the years and gradually I have told many of their stories. I am currently trying to decide who or which family I will be doing for this Anzac Day, in its centenary year.

Front page of Robert Finn's WWI dossier

Front page of Robert Finn’s WWI dossier

It is relatively easy to see if you have family members involved with a war as the National Archives of Australia has indexed and digitised Boer War dossiers and World War 1 dossiers. You can search and view these for free. World War II dossiers have been indexed but will only be digitised if a family member has requested it. Their Discovering Anzacs website allows you to add your stories and images.

The dossiers give you the information to write your stories and you can find additional information at the Australian War Memorial or perhaps the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. The nominal rolls for the various wars are on the Department of Veteran Affairs website. Each of these sites will give you a little more detail or confirm information in the dossiers.

Why not take a look now and see if you can find some dossiers for your families? If you have no direct ancestors directly involved in a war, perhaps they had brothers (or sisters, don’t forget the doctors and nurses) who went. If they never married and had children, then there is no one to tell their stories. Military records are a fascinating subject area and we will be looking at military unit histories later in this blog challenge. Discover your military ancestors now!

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