Publishes Over Half a Million British Militia Records

Thursday, July 14, 2011

LONDON, July 15, 2011 -, the leading family history website, has
published the records of over half a million men who served in the
British militia, the precursor to the UK’s Territorial Army. The
Militia Attestation Papers, covering 1806 to 1915, were made
available online for the first time to coincide with British Armed
Forces Day
on 25 June 2011.

The records colourfully portray what the British militia looked
like, detailing the height, weight, chest size, complexion, eye
colour, hair colour and distinctive marks of each recruit. Arthur
distinguishing marks included an acrobat and dots tattooed
on his left forearm. Similarly, Albert Smith, born in India, was
recorded as having teeth that were ‘defective but enough for

Debra Chatfield, marketing manager at,
commented: “These records provide rich insight into our past and
show how the everyday man, such as your local shopkeeper, found
himself fighting for his country. In the absence of photographs,
these records can help you imagine what your ancestors looked like,
containing details which are largely unavailable elsewhere. Our
easy to use website means you can unearth even more fascinating and
detailed information about your ancestors at the click of a

Like today’s Territorial Army, the militia was made up of men
who held everyday jobs, but took part in military exercises and on
occasions fought for their country. In the 19th and early 20th
centuries, these typically included shoemakers, woodchoppers,
butchers, bakers, coal miners and millers.

The Militia Attestation Papers are the only set of their kind
available online and have been published in association with The
National Archives and in partnership with FamilySearch. The records
show that the soldiers who made up the militia during that period
hailed not only from the UK itself, but also from around the world.
Some recruits had been born in Italy, Ceylon, South Africa and even
as far away as Australia and New Zealand.

David Rencher, chief genealogy officer at FamilySearch, added:
“The publication of the Militia Attestation Papers fills another
critical gap in the family historian’s toolkit. The digitisation
and indexing of this rich collection will make it easy to find the
regiment an ancestor served with and also when and where he was
born. Family historians will quickly realise the value of this
information, particularly when the record of an ancestor’s birth
has been elusive or impossible to find elsewhere.”



Leading UK family history website (formerly was the first company to make the complete birth,
marriage and death indexes for England & Wales available online
in April 2003.

Following the transcription, scanning and indexing of over two
million images, the company launched the first website to allow the
public easy and fast access to the complete indexes, which until
then had only been available on microfiche film in specialist
archives and libraries. The launch was instrumental in creating the
widespread and growing interest in genealogy seen in the UK
today. has subsequently digitised many more href="">family history records and
now offers access to over 750 million records dating as far back as
1200. This allows family historians and novice genealogists to
search for their ancestors among comprehensive collections of href="">military
records, census, migration, occupation directories, and current
electoral roll data, as well as the original comprehensive birth,
marriage and death records, which can help them build an accurate

PR contact:

Lauren Hunt-Morgan
Lansons Communications
24a St John Street


will not be displayed