Worldwide Army Index1861
About the 1861 Worldwide Army IndexThe 1861 Worldwide Army Index (or The 1861 Worldwide Soldier Index) entailed the extraction of some 245,000 serving soldiers listed in the National Archives April-June quarter Paylists held in WO 10 (Royal Artillery), WO 11 (Royal Engineers) and WO 12 (Cavalry, Guards, Infantry and other units) series War Office records. It includes records not only of other ranks of soldiers serving in Britain, but also men serving in Queen Victoria's Army far-flung empire outposts. For this reason, it can be an exceptionally useful source in identifying men missing from the 1861 census returns.
The index provides the names, ranks, army numbers and regiments of about 98% of other ranks subjects serving in the British Army. A small number, estimated at about 5000 men, are not included because the Paylists listing their names have not survived.
If a man aged 14-18 years or older cannot be found in the 1861 census, or the findmypast.co.uk collection in British Army Service Records 1760-1915, then consulting the 1861 Worldwide Army Index is essential. Once candidates have been located they can then be further researched in National Archives records. Whilst soldiers listed in the 1861 Worldwide Army Index will only be seen to be serving in one quarter of 1861, they may nevertheless have been serving as early as 1840 or might have continued in service up to as late as 1882.
The image shows a Crimean War veteran and his family.
Begin with the basics
The name of the person you are searching for may not be recorded in the way you expect. Henry John Davies, for example, may have been recorded as Henry Davies, Henry J Davies, H Davies, or even H J Davies. We suggest that you initially search using the person’s last name only. If you receive too many results, you can then add a first name to narrow them down.
First name and last name variations
If you don’t find the result you want first time, it is worth trying every possible variation in the first and last name fields.
Your ancestor might have used a different first name in everyday life from the one that appears on official records. For example, your great-uncle Jack’s birth name might have been John. Last names can often be spelled in many different ways, for example, Smith, Smyth or Smythe.
We’ve added an ‘Include variants’ tickbox next to both fields to allow for common differences in spelling or incorrect spelling. If you can’t find someone recorded under the name you expect, try ticking the ‘Include variants’ boxes to include variations of the name in your results.