Family Research tips
If you want to find out more about how to research personal stories you might find these tips useful
- Don’t overlook the most obvious source - ask the whole family to track down photographs, medals, letters – they are invaluable if you are researching a family member
- Another obvious thing to do is simply do an online search for that person/regiment – it is amazing how many people there out there actively researching and you might find a link to a blog or forum where your person is discussed
- There are a wide range of websites and services that will help you build family trees and search records of individuals to build up life stories. Many of these will help you access a limited amount of Military Service records. Most are subscription-based, so have a look at this comparison site for genealogy websites - find out more
- It is also worth trying the totally free genealogy websites – for example www.freeukgenealogy.org.uk but you pay for what you get and the subscription based ones seem much easier and more powerful… Most popular are Find my past, Ancestry, my heritage and genes reunited – if you narrow down what you are looking for, look out for free trials and spend an intensive day or two to take full advantage of it!
- Forces War records costs under £10 a month or £50 a year and will give you access to millions of records many of which are unique to them – they do have a limited free service too
- You can apply to the government for war records of a relative or someone you are researching – however it can take a year! See www.gov.uk/get-copy-military-service-records
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission website is excellent if you are trying to trace someone who lost their life – by the way, the Armed Forces Memorial roll of honour for post war research is great too!
The National Archives is an incredible resource whatever your field of interest is – go to the discovery search function www.discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk. Our most fruitful research has resulted from taking time to visit the Archive in Kew as most documents are not available online – we simply used a phone camera to take copies of material we couldn’t read on the day. A visit there is a great experience especially if you can narrow down what you want to see and pre-order it to be available – More
If you have other tips and advice, please share them by contacting us