FindMyPast: British Army Officers’ Widows’ pensions (1755 – 1908)

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was received from our friends at FindMyPast. I’ve added sample document to this post below the announcement.

findmypast 2017

Findmypast publishes more of The National Archives’ collection of British Army officers’ widows’ pension forms

  • British Army officers’ widows’ pension forms spanning the years 1755 – 1908 indexed online for the first time
  • Over 13,000 records, including transcripts and scanned images of original documents, now available to search

 Leading British family history website, Findmypast, today announces the publication of a new online collection of British Army Pension records held by The National Archives.

Indexed online for the first time, British Army Officers’ Widows’ Pension Forms 1755 – 1908, spans more than 150 years of British military history and contains over 13,000 transcripts and scanned images taken from The National Archives series “WO 42: War Office: Officers’ Birth Certificates, Wills and Personal Papers”.

The collection consists of bundles of original documents submitted in support of pension claims made by the widows of British Army officers. It covers the wives of officers who died in service or on half pay as well as compassionate allowances awarded to the children of both deceased and disabled officers.

The bundles include a variety of original army forms and supporting documents that enable family historians to learn more about their military ancestors’ careers while uncovering important biographical details of their wives and children.

Researchers can view the original application forms completed by widows, marriage and death details of the officers in question, as well as death certificates, marriage certificates, birth certificates and baptismal records for their wives and children.

Paul Nixon, Head of UK Data Licensing at Findmypast, said: “There has never been a better time to be a family historian and the release of this small but important collection of military records further illustrates this point.”

British Army Officers’ Widows’ Pension Forms 1755 – 1908 joins Findmypast’s growing collection of more than 30 million British and Irish military records. Covering a wide time frame, the Pension Forms complement Findmypast’s existing collection of First World War Widows’ Pension Forms, and include records for officers who served during the Seven Years War, The War of American Independence, the French Revolutionary Wars, the Napoleonic Wars, The War of 1812, The Crimean War, the Anglo-Zulu War and the Boer War.

To find out more about the collection, visit:

About Findmypast

Findmypast (previously DC Thomson Family History) is the British-owned world leader in online family history with over 18 million registered users across its family of brands, which include Findmypast, Genes Reunited, the British Newspaper Archive and Twile. Its lead brand, also called Findmypast, is the home of the world’s most comprehensive online collection of British and Irish records, including:

  • The largest online collection of UK parish records
  • Twice the number of Irish records available on any other site
  • The British Library’s vast collection of historical newspapers
  • The exclusive Catholic Heritage Archive, a ground-breaking initiative that aims to digitize the historical records of the Catholic Church in North America, Britain and Ireland for the very first time.

Findmypast is committed to making discoveries in the British Isles easier than ever before. It combines the best of British and Irish data with the knowledge of in-house experts to provide a unique family history experience that guides researchers through every step of their journey.

For more information on how Findmypast is enhancing the experiences of family historians worldwide, visit:

About The National Archives

The National Archives is one of the world’s most valuable resources for research and an independent research organisation in its own right. As the official archive and publisher for the UK government, and England and Wales they are the guardians of some of the UK’s most iconic national documents, dating back over 1,000 years. Their role is to collect and secure the future of the government record, both digital and physical, to preserve it for generations to come, and to make it as accessible and available as possible. The National Archives brings together the skills and specialisms needed to conserve some of the oldest historic documents as well as leading digital archive practices to manage and preserve government information past, present and future. /

1820 British Officers Widow Pension

IMAGE: (above)
British Army, “Required for Placing on the Pension, the Widow of an Officer Under the Rank of Major General”, Margaret Baird, widow of Andrew Baird, Royal Lanark Regiment Of Militia, filed 11 Jan 1820, FindMyPast, British Army Officers’ Widows’ Pension Forms 1755-1908, Digital Image Collection, citing The National Archives, W.O. 42/B1-60 ( : viewed 20 Apr 2018).




World War II Research and Writing Center: 2018 Course Offerings

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was received from our friend Jennifer Holik, Global Coordinator of the World War II Research & Writing Center,

17 April 2018 – Chicago ,IL & Amstelveen, Netherlands

The World War II Research and Writing Center is pleased to announce the release of three new online courses on our educational website WWII Education. Did you know that the strategies we teach also apply to World War I and Korean War research? When you take our courses, you can apply your new skills and knowledge to multiple research projects.

Finding the Answers: Starting WWII Research
Learn everything you need to know about starting WWII research in nine short lessons with nine handouts. This course presents material all at once to allow you to move through the process as quickly or slowly as you choose. Please see our website for full course information.

Finding the Answers: WWII Research Online
Are you ready to take your online research to a new level? This course, in six modules which drip every 7 days, with numerous handouts, introduces you to:

  • Reasons to research WWII service online.
    • What records may be available online.
    • Techniques to make searching easier.
  • Strategies to help you search the ‘Go-To’ websites for research.
  • A look at library and newspaper websites.
  • Explore military museums, research libraries, and social media sites.
  • An introduction to European research experts and grave adopters.
  • Information on how Americans can work with European researchers to preserve more stories.
  • Where to go to learn more.

Are you ready to start? Please see our website for full course information.

Finding the Answers in the IDPF
Course dates: May 14 – July 16, 2018
The Individual Deceased Personnel File (IDPF) is one of the most important files researchers can obtain for World War II service members who died or are still considered Missing In Action (MIA.) The details contained in these files are more than date of death, cause of death, and locations of burials. We learn about the service history, medical history, family stories and grief, decisions which had to be made by family members, family drama, the inability to recover remains, and sometimes connect with other researchers who have requested the file in the past.

This course will begin on Monday May 14 and run for 10 weeks. You will explore seven extensive modules, which include 27 downloads, case studies, and worksheets. Additionally, you will be given access to an exclusive Facebook Group during the course period plus two additional weeks, in which you can have conversations, share files, and connect with other researchers.

Please see our website for full course information.

We will offer another session this fall. Registration information will be posted in July.



AmericaGen Study Group: Call for Panel Participants

DearMYRTLE’s upcoming AmericaGen STUDY GROUP will feature panelists working to accomplish tasks normally completed by Ol’ Myrt here. What does this mean? We will be studying Researchers Guide to American Genealogy 4th Edition by Val D. Greenwood, 2017 (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co.) As such we need a dedicated group of motivated panel participants willing to read a chapter and submit homework in advance of each of our MONTHLY study group sessions. In addition panelists will rotate working in small groups collating homework into a shared .PDF file, inserting comments and moderating the chapter discussion much as DearMYRTLE has done in the past. Don’t worry. Ol’ Myrt will work closely with you until you get the hang of it. Details follow the volunteer form link below.


Researchers Guide to American Genealogy 4th Edition by Val D. Greenwood, 2017 (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co.) Available in paperback

Noon Eastern US (New York), 11am Central (Chicago), 10 am Mountain (Salt Lake City and Denver), 9am Pacific (Los Angeles)


Wednesday, January 31, 2018 Chapter 1 Understanding Genealogical Research
Wednesday, February 28, 2018 Chapter 2 Language, Terminology & Important Issues
Wednesday, March 28, 2018 Chapter 3 Surveying, Analyzing and Planning
Wednesday, April 25, 2018 Chapter 4 Evidence
Wednesday, May 23, 2018 SKIP AmericanGEN Study Group
Wednesday, June 27, 2018 Chapter 5 Libraries and the National Archives NARA
Wednesday, July 25, 2018 Chapter 6 Reference Works
Wednesday, August 22, 2018 Chapter 7 Organizing and Evaluating Your Research Findings
Wednesday, September 26, 2018 Chapter 8 Successful Correspondence
Wednesday, October 24, 2018 Chapter 9 Computer Technology and Family History
Wednesday, November 28, 2018 Chapter 10 Family History on the Internet
Wednesday, December 12, 2018 Chapter 11 Family History: Going Beyond Genealogy
Wednesday, January 23, 2019 Chapter 12 Compiled Sources & Newspapers
Wednesday, February 27, 2019 Chapter 13 Vital Records
Wednesday, March 27, 2019 Chapter 14 Census Returns
Wednesday, April 24, 2019 Chapter 15 Using Census Records in Your Research
Wednesday, May 22, 2019 Chapter 16 Understanding Probate Records & Legal Terminology
Wednesday, June 26, 2019 Chapter 17 What About Wills?
Wednesday, July 31, 2019 Chapter 18 The Intestate, Miscellaneous Probate Records and Guardianships
Wednesday, August 28, 2019 Chapter 19 Local Land Records
Wednesday, September 25, 2019 Chapter 20 Abstracting Probate and Land Records
Wednesday, October 23, 2019 Chapter 21 Abstracting Probate and Land Records
Wednesday, November 27, 2019 Chapter 22 Court Records and Family History
Wednesday, December 18, 2019 Chapter 23 Property Rights of Women as a Consideration
Wednesday, January 22, 2020 Chapter 24 Church Records and Family History
Wednesday, February 26, 2020 Chapter 25 Immigrant Origins: American Finding Aids
Wednesday, March 25, 2020 Chapter 26 Military Records: Colonial Wars and the American Revolution
Wednesday, April 22, 2020 Chapter 27 Military Records: After the Revolution
Wednesday, May 27, 2020 Chapter 28 Cemetery and Burial Records