Military Archive Research
by Dr. Stuart C Blank
Member of the Orders and Medals Research Society (OMRS)
Member of the Royal Air Force Historical Society (RAFHS)
Member of the Naval Historical Collectors and Research Association (NHCRA)
Member of the Nautical Archaeology Society (NAS)
Member of the International Bank Note Society (IBNS)
Member of the International Bond and Share Society (IBSS)




Review of
Tracing Your First World War Ancestors
A Guide for Family Historians
By Simon Fowler
Pen and Sword ( )
ISBN 9781781590379
RRP GBP £12.99


The centenary of the start of World War 1 is quickly approaching and there has been a huge surge of interest about this war and the personnel involved in it. If you are wishing to research a relative, male or female, who served on the land, sea or in the air then this book is an ideal companion to your library. It gives information on the records available and answers those research queries you may have. Anyone who has had a relative involved will find this volume invaluable.

The book commences with a “starting out” chapter which describes records online and at archives and useful sources of genealogical records. Then war casualties are given a whole chapter followed by Army Service Records. Also additional resources for researching land personnel is given such as War Diaries, gallantry medals, Courts Martial, PoWs and pensions.

Then the war at sea is considered and he covers topics such as the Royal Navy, the Fleet Air Arm, Coastguards, the Royal Marines and the Merchant Navy. New to the First World War was the introduction of war in the air. The Royal Flying Corps (RFC) and the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) played a vital and critical role. Eventually they were amalgamated to produce the Royal Air Force (RAF) and records of all these air services are discussed.

There is a chapter on Women and Civilians at War. This is an area which is generally overlooked and is difficult to obtain research guidance upon. Women often worked in areas such as nursing and auxiliary corps whilst civilians worked in factories and farms or charities. How to develop research into these areas is considered and useful tips are given. The book concludes with a discussion of the role of the Dominions and a number of suitable / useful Appendices.

This book is ideal for most First World War genealogists. It certainly has an excellent scope regarding the main types of World War 1 research and also some lesser known ones such as Women at war. I do feel that as a starting or general text it is perfect and fit for the purpose.

June 2013