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  1. #1

    Default Understanding Muster Rolls of 1st Foot Guards

    I’m researching the history of my 4x Great-Grandfather, a Private James Cotton, who served in 3/1st Foot Guards from 1803-1818 and saw active service both in the Peninsula, and then at Waterloo. I started with his discharge record, and then have subsequently built up a record of his activities from the muster rolls at the National Archives.

    I find the muster rolls very useful, but I am struggling to fully understand them and I can’t find any relevant information online about how to interpret/read some of the details. I have the following questions, and would be grateful if anyone could provide some insight, or point me in the direction of places where I could find answers to these questions ?


    A muster is for a period of six months, but I think the muster record itself is simply telling you what the soldier was doing on the date of muster itself. Is that right ? If so, and they have had a variety of different situations during the period of the muster, is this ignored, or would it be described elsewhere ? What happened for example if they were not eligible for pay for part of the muster period ? How would this be recorded and calculated ?

    The muster is always for a period of six months from 25th June – 24th Dec or from 25th Dec – 24th June, but the place of muster always has a later date, usually a few months after the end of the muster period, but sometimes more than one year later. Furthermore, the officers certificate is then usually signed a few days after the muster place is dated. How do we interpret these different dates and places ?

    Often, many of the soldiers are on “duty” or “command”, but other soldiers simply have a blank next to their name. What does a blank entry signify, and what do on “Duty” and on “Command” mean ?

    If a soldier shows as being on “furlough” I assume this means that he was taking a break from the company with permission of his superiors ? Under what sort of circumstances would this happen ?

    Any insight would be gratefully received.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator christanel's Avatar
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    I really don't know the answers to your questions but did find this webinar on the TNA site.
    Haven't watched it so don't know if it will be of any help
    https://media.nationalarchives.gov.u...just-accounts/
    Christina
    Sometimes paranoia is just having all the facts.
    William Burroughs

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by christanel View Post
    I really don't know the answers to your questions but did find this webinar on the TNA site.
    Haven't watched it so don't know if it will be of any help
    https://media.nationalarchives.gov.u...just-accounts/
    Christina
    Thanks Christina. Yes I have seen that before and it is useful - unfortunately the 1st foot guards musters are different in that they are every 6 months (not quarterly) and hold information in quite a different way. However, I have emailed the National Archives to ask them.

    thanks again

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