Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Ancestry launches World War One Medal Cards archive

Ancestry has just announced that it has uploaded 14 million World War One Medal Index card records onto its site, for soldiers (British and colonial) who served in the army from 1914 to 1922. The cards, held by the Western Front Assoiciation, were previously accessible at the National Archives website (Kew), but were in black and white, with only the front scanned. Now they are in colour, and both sides have been digitised.

"A testament to the bravery of 5.5 million soldiers and including many famous names such Academy Award winning actor Noel Coward, father of the last Viceroy of India Lord Mountbatten, and Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackelton, as well as that of the last surviving ‘Tommy’, Harry Patch, these records form the most comprehensive WW1 British and Colonial military collection still intact. In all, the collection contains the records for more than 14 million commendations."

For more information, read the full press release at http://ancestry.co.uk.mediaroom.com/index.php?s=43&item=68

Chris

UPDATE:
Ancestry have omitted one tiny piece of useful information from their press release folks! From the Western Front Association website, it is clear that this is in fact a phased release:

"The W.F.A. and Ancestry.com are please to announce that the Great War Medal Index Cards are now available online... Over the coming months we will be providing full access to the Medal Index Cards on the WFA website, along with access to the complete and full archive. At the present time there is a limited access to the cards via the Ancestry website."

So if you can't find your relative yet, it is probably because the card has not been uploaded yet.

4 comments:

Scott said...

Hi Chris,

I'm assuming this new addition isn't fully complete. I've had a look for several relatives, all of who have medal cards listed on the PRO website, but have turned up blanks on them all. Do you think they will be rolling this out gradually, like the 'burnt' series of WWI records?

Cheers,

Scott

Chris Paton said...

Hi Scott,

I'm afraid I don't know, but like you, I have had mixed fortunes on this site so far. When I searched for my great uncle Charles MacFarlane, I found a beautifully digitised copy of his card almsot instantly, which had additional info on the back that I had not found from the TNA equivalent; however, when I searched for my great uncle William Paton, in the RAMC at Gallipoli, there was no sign of him. The online site at TNA lists 29 people with the surname Paton, including two William Patons in the RAMC, whereas the Ancestry site only has four Patons in total.

So either the releases are incomplete, or, considering Ancestry's reputation on this front, possibly bad transcription errors again. Either way, I hope they sort it soon - I have an Ancestry subscription and so am loathe to be forking out more money at the TNA!

Chris

Chris Paton said...

Hi Scott - see the update on my original post!

Chris

Scott said...

Cheers Chris,

A bit naughty of them not to mention this in their release! Although I have PDF's of the cards I'm interested in from the National Archives website, it will be nice to see them in full colour.

Very best,

Scott