Tuesday, August 4, 2009

English Soldiers of the 14th and 15th Centuries

Sure, anyone can search back in time a hundred years or so. But how often do you get the chance to search family history dating to the 1300's?

A new online genealogy resource, The Soldier in Later Medieval England, let's you do exactly that. The system, covering the years 1369-1453, currently has almost 250,000 records in three distinct databases: historic muster rolls, garrison database, and something known as the protection database. The whole thing is supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) in the UK.

The records, from the UK National Archives, include military campaigns and duties like the King's Remembrancer Expedition to Brittany in 1375, or the Standing Force of the King's Bodyguard, in 1398.

Searching here is easy, by first or last name, or with other parameters such as year, military rank, commanding officer, and so on. Just remember that things weren't spelled quite the same way back then as we might expect today, so be creative. Still, if your family has any roots in England, and perhaps a knight or two in the woodwork, this is a database to have fun with.

Don't forget to check for your family history at Ancestry.com and NewspaperArchive.com. Yes, these are subscription databases, but they are also among the most powerful research tools available for looking into family roots.

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