It’s the 200th anniversary of The Battle of Waterloo tomorrow, so in this installment of Off The Record we’re looking at military collections from around the world. So many of us have ancestors who served in the army, and chances are that if they did, they may have played a part in some of the most significant events in our history.

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1871 Worldwide British Army Index: British Army Other Ranks & Locations

Was your ancestor serving in the army at the time of the 1871 England and Wales Census? If so, this is the place to look for them. Whether they were officers, men of the Cavalry, Royal Artillery, Royal Engineers, Guards, Infantry or Colonial Units, they were noted in this index.

The collection covers more than 200,000 soldiers serving both in Britain and elsewhere in the British Isles. Each record is a transcript of the original source, and while the information included varies in each case, it may include the soldier’s name, service number, rank, regiment, location, a National Archives reference, and additional notes.

British Army Pensioners, Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Ireland, 1783-1822

This wonderful collection includes images of discharge documents for nearly 20,000 men. Soldiers were eligible for a pension after 12 years’ service, so even the relatively young could be pensioned out of the army. These records cover the period of major conflicts including The American War of Independence, the French Revolution, the British capture of Ceylon, the Irish Rebellion, and the Napoleonic Wars, including the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.

This collection is rich in detail, with many soldiers boasting several pages apiece (and some hundreds!). Records include a breadth of information, including biographical notes, details about a soldier’s appearance, and service history, including campaigns fought in, medals awarded, medical background, and conduct or character observations. These records cover men discharged to pension from English, Scottish and Welsh units, as well as Irish regiments.

General Correspondence of the Record and Pension Office, 1889-1904

This collection of almost 800,000 records represents the correspondence of veterans with the US government. The Record and Pension office was a branch of the War Department which maintained service records for decades, including those for veterans of the Civil War, Indian War, and the Spanish American War. You can discover all sorts on new details about your ancestors using these records, which may even reveal unknown relatives making applications on their behalf.

The records usually include your ancestor’s first and last name, their rank, unit name, company and NARA publication number.

New South Wales Roll of Honour

The New South Wales Honour Roll is comprised of names of service personnel from honour rolls in schools, public halls, clubs, and war memorials in dozens of New South Wales locations. Quality photographs of many of these honour rolls and war memorials may be obtained for a nominal fee by contacting the Richmond-Tweed Family History Society