Discover your Waterloo heritage with Findmypast

Discover your Waterloo heritage with Findmypast

This year marks the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo. Together with Waterloo 200, we’re inviting you to explore our records and explore the role your family played in the battle which ended two decades of bloodshed and determined the fate of Europe. Are you a descendant of Waterloo? Discover your personal connection to the Napoleonic wars and share your story.

My Ancestor George Rose, The Escaped Slave Who Became A Waterloo Hero

My Ancestor George Rose, The Escaped Slave Who Became A Waterloo Hero
The tree beginning with George: Joanne has managed to trace her lineage back to a Waterloo hero

On the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, we’re delighted to share Joanne Murphy’s storyThanks to her family history research, Joanne found that not only did she have an ancestor who fought at Waterloo, Sergeant George Rose, but that he was an escaped Jamaican slave who went on to be the highest-ranking black soldier in a British regiment.

"Records hold such a wealth of information and even death certificates have parents' names. It intrigued me to find my great great great great grandfather, George Rose, was a Methodist minister. It was an early time for Methodism in Scotland so I set about using search engines to see if the internet could offer me any information.

I knew his children were born in Gibraltar and I wondered if he could have been there to 'spread the word of God' so to speak. What I found was more amazing than what I could have wished for.

Up came pages and pages of information on George. From Findmypast to the National Archives, from the National Army Museum to research studies. It turned out I was not the first to realise quite how amazing his life was.

An escaped slave, Waterloo hero, highest ranked black British soldier on discharge and then Methodist minister. It seems George was born a pioneer and was unable to see life pass him by.

Every time I open the family tree I have to pinch myself, for I have found what everyone hopes they will find... a true hero."

Waterloo in 200 seconds

Waterloo in 200 seconds Waterloo in 200 seconds

Want to get the background of the Battle of Waterloo and how to begin tracing your Waterloo ancestors, but on a tight schedule? We've put together a video summary that takes you through both in under 200 seconds, including a run down of our useful Napoleonic era record sets and a summary of the main events on the day.

Waterloo in 200 Words

Waterloo in 200 Words

The Battle of Waterloo was the most significant event of the Napoleonic era. The 7th Coalition defeated Napoleonic France once and for all, stabilising Europe for almost 100 years. Wellington had one goal: to hold until the Prussians arrived. Napoleon had another, to drive the British into the sea.... .... Discover what happened next (in fewer than 150 words!) on our blog.

Related Record Sets

How To Find Your Waterloo Ancestors

How To Find Your Waterloo Ancestors How To Find Your Waterloo Ancestors

In this video, Findmypast family history expert Paul Nixon takes you through the process of researching your relatives who may have been at the Battle of Waterloo. The Battle of Waterloo was one of the most decisive the world has ever seen. It’s estimated that between one and two million people worldwide are descended from the soldiers who fought on 18 June 1815. Yet for the vast majority of the population, what happened at Waterloo, and why it was of such vital significance to how the world was shaped thereafter, remains a mystery. Now, 200 years later, you can finally discover the part your ancestors plated in this war which shaped the modern world. Were they fighting on the front lines in Brussels, or surviving on the tumultuous home front? With this video from Findmypast military history expert Paul Nixon, you can start the journey of tracing your Waterloo ancestors

Start Your Waterloo Journey

Start Your Waterloo Journey

Want to find out whether your ancestor fought at the Battle of Waterloo? Here are a few tips to help you find out!

Life on the home front

Life on the home front

Discover what was life like for your ancestors on the home front in Britain during the long Napoleonic Wars.

Waterloo In Historic Newspapers

Waterloo In Historic Newspapers

Read all about the Battle of Waterloo in fascinating contemporary newspaper accounts from our collection.

Charles Ewart, The Waterloo Hero Who Captured The French Imperial Eagle

Charles Ewart, The Waterloo Hero Who Captured The French Imperial Eagle

We’ve discovered this fantastic mention in our Waterloo Roll Call of Charles Ewart, the lowly Scottish soldier who captured the French Imperial Eagle.

Off The Record: Military Records From Around The World

Off The Record: Military Records From Around The World

It's 200 years since The Battle of Waterloo, so in this installment of Off The Record we’re looking at military collections from around the world.

Napoleon Defeated! The Race To Deliver Wellington’s Despatch

Napoleon Defeated! The Race To Deliver Wellington’s Despatch

After his Waterloo victory, Wellington composed a despatch to inform London of the great news as quickly as possible. Major Henry Percy, a tall, handsome and charming Officer, was selected to deliver it.

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