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Sharron
11-03-2006, 8:27 AM
My ggg grandfather, Israel Wilkes appears on the 1851 census, and then disappears until 1881 when he is described as an army pensioner. By this time, he is married with five children. His children were born in Ireland, Gibraltar, Malta (x2) and Hong Kong.

How on earth do I go about finding his military record? I appreciate I'm going to have to heave myself out of this chair and go to London eventually, but is there anything I can do prior to that?

Any answers will be gratefully received, even if they don't apply to grandpa himself. I'm sure others are in a similar position, and will appreciate any help Geoffers can give|bowdown|;)

Geoffers
11-03-2006, 8:43 AM
My ggg grandfather, Israel Wilkes appears on the 1851 census, and then disappears until 1881 when he is described as an army pensioner.
First place to look is TNA's web-site. Try the research guides:
http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/catalogue/researchguidesindex.asp
scroll down to 'B' and click on the links for British Army - useful sources, British Army - pension records and British Army - Discharge Papers. this will give you an idea of the scope of records.

To locate the correct service record in the Soldiers' Documents (WO97) up to 1872, you will need to know his regiment. You have the birthplaces of children, which suggests places where he served. If you don't know his regiment I suggest getting a birth certificate for one of his kids - this should record rank, number and regiment.

You can locate births of serving soldiers in either the Army Registers of Births 1761-1924 - or Army Chaplains' returns of births 1796-1880. Both indexes are available in overseas records of 1837online and certificates can be ordered from the GRO.

Geoffers

Sharron
11-03-2006, 8:48 AM
Cheers Geoffers! You must get so tired of repeating yourself sometimes, as I'm sure you've given out the same information before. Incidentally, I've just spotted a similar situation with his father in law, so doubly helpful.

Thanks again:)

Geoffers
11-03-2006, 9:13 AM
I've just spotted a similar situation with his father in law, so doubly helpful.
If the father-in-law was in the army, try searching the catalogue on TNA's web-site
http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/catalogue/search.asp
enter a surname in the word or phrase field (if a common surname, enter his forename too), and in the last field enter WO97.

The records up to about 1854-ish are individually indexed and if you find your chap, you can order his record from TNA through their web-site.

Geoffers