Category Archives: First World War

My family history discovery

Last night I was very excited to email my mum to tell her about my latest family history discovery. Although I am supposed to be concentrating on downloading all my certificates and documents from Ancestry for some reason I have gone completely off track this week.

I signed up to a 7-day free trial of Find My Past in the hope I could find the marriage of my paternal great-grandparents, Mansel Young and Catherine Carroll. The site has changed a lot since I last logged in, and it feels more like Ancestry.

Anyway, I filled in a basic tree and it gave me a hint for my grandfather Henry Young during the First World War. I had always assumed that he was too young to serve in the War and I assumed that the ‘On War Service’ badge which came to me on the death of my grandmother may have belonged to him.

Henry Harper Young

Henry Young was a common name at the time but I thought I would click through the suggested First World War service records. Imagine my surprise when I saw a record for Henry Young living in Woodland Street, Portsmouth, the very same street the family were living in at the time of the 1901 census! The records were from the Burnt Records series, so very few survived – they give a great deal of information which I would dearly love to know about his brother, Alfred Young.

I carried on reading through the documents but found the age was a year out (age 19 in 1915). However, the occupation was given as outfitter at Read & Co, Osborne Road, Portsmouth which seemed familiar to me.

I did a little more digging and fact checking:

  • I checked his date of birth against the birth certificate I have – he was born 8th June 1897 so would have been 18 when he enlisted on 23rd October 1915. On 16th October the Derby scheme had come into effect, giving men their last chance to enlist voluntarily. He signed up a week later.
  • I checked the address he gave as 4 Woodland Street Portsmouth. In the 1901 census the family lived at 2 Woodland Cottage, Woodland Street at the time of the 1901 census,  13 Woodland Street on the 1911 census, 4 Woodland Street is listed in the 1921 Rate Book for Portsmouth. It seems the family moved around the same street over a period of at least 20 years.
  • I checked his occupation and found his occupation at the time of the 1911 census was errand boy for a milliners,  by the time of the 1921 census he put his occupation as tailor’s assistant at Read & Company, Portsmouth (out of work).
  • For some reason he had completed the 1911 census return and signed it, so I was also able to check his signature on the census return matched the one on the Statement to Disability form.


Then I dug out the few photos I have of my grandfather as a young man and noticed he was wearing uniform. There are only 2 photos of him, and one of his brother, I assumed they were of the same person. Although the uniform is standard now I can see that the cap badges look different.

Anyway I wrote and told my mum this and she pinged me straight back as she already knew this, and thought I knew it too!

We don’t have anything about his war service, his medals are no longer around and my mum thinks my grandmother may have given these away at some point.

So, I guess my point is never to assume anything because you are probably wrong, and also use as many documents as you have to cross check facts.

First World War Dependant’s Pension entry

Another document I came across recently was the First World War Dependant’s Pension entry for Alfred Mansel Young. He is my brick wall and I love to discover any information about him. For some reason he left the family home in Portsmouth and went to live with relatives in South Wales.

In this entry for Dependant’s Pension his address is given as his father’s home in Portsmouth, 4 Woodland Street, Kingston. His father was awarded a small pension of just 5 shillings a week between 16 January 1919 to the 12 May 1920.

WWI Dependant's Pension

First World War War Gratuity entry

It’s been a while since I’ve had any time to record recent finds. I found this entry for my Great Uncle Alfred Mansel Young. Unfortunately I didn’t record the document it came from but it shows money paid to his father Mansel Young after his death. Need to do more research on this one!

WWI Gratuity

First World War Pension ledgers

To honour Memorial Day and the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II, I was able to get free access to Fold3 last week. I hadn’t heard of this site until I was browsing Ancestry and found a record on Fold3. I wasn’t willing to pay for access, so was happy to wait and I was rewarded!

The record was for my great uncle, Alfred Mansel Young. He died in the First World War and there was a record of him in the Pension ledgers. He died on 24th July 1916 and his father, Mansel Young, made a claim. It shows his address as 6 Woodland Street, Kingston, Portsmouth. It looks like a summary rather than a full record with any correspondence, but it was still good to discover.

First World War Pension ledgers


Findmypast makes entire collection of more than 70 million world military records free for four days

Leading family history website, Findmypast, has just announced that they will be making their entire collection of military records free for four days to coincide with Remembrance Day 2016.

From 09.00 GMT, 10th November until 23.59 GMT, 13th November 2016, all 70 million records within Findmypast’s “Military, Armed Forces and Conflict” category will be completely free to search and explore, providing family historians from around the globe the opportunity to uncover the stories of the military heroes within their own family.
This will include free access to:
Over 26.4 million British military Records
Over 43 million US and Canada military records
The most comprehensive collection of British Army service records both for WW1 and pre WW1 – these multiple page documents were released in partnership with The National Archives and are packed with fascinating biographical details such as the names and addresses of next of kin, physical descriptions and character references from commanding officers.
The most comprehensive British Naval collection available online
The most comprehensive Royal Air Force collection online
Over 2.6 million POW records in our exclusive Prisoners of War 1715-1945 collection.
Over 1.1 million WW2 casualty records in our collection of British Army Casualty Lists.
Exclusive Pals battalion records covering major cities including London, Liverpool, Manchester, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Birmingham.
Soldiers Died In The Great War 1914-1919 records
Comprehensive, illustrated Victoria Cross records
Over 1.5 million medal index cards, memorial rolls and roll of honour records
Military tribunal records – the records of thousands of men who attempted to avoid conscription
Military Nurses 1856-1994 records
Over 25,000 British Red Cross records

Free Access to Military Records on Ancestry {today only}

Did you know today commemorate 100 years since British tanks were first deployed at the Battle of Flers-Courcelette during the First World War?

For one day only Ancestry is giving us free access to their UK military records, but only until midnight.

The Military records include millions of service records, medal records, casualty lists and other Army records and Navy records.