Discover your ancestor's military records with our handy family tree hints

3-4 minute read

By Alex Cox | February 1, 2024


If members of your family have served in the British Army, our intuitive tree builder helps you to learn more about their experience, from their attestation to any casualties that they may have suffered. Read on to learn everything you need to know about our military record tree hints.

Do you have a war hero hidden in your family tree? When you build your family tree with Findmypast, you can take advantage of hints generated from millions of records covering more than 430 years of military history in Britain, Ireland, the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Whether your 3x great-grandfather served with the Royal Navy or your grandmother was in the Women's Auxiliary Corps (WAC) during the First World War, it's never been easier to uncover tales of heroism within your very own family.

The military hints come from our unrivalled collection of service records. They cover all three branches of the British Armed Forces, US draft and enlistment records spanning the First World War and the Second World War, our exclusive Prisoner of War collection, documents from the US Civil and Revolutionary Wars, military pensions, medal indexes, casualty lists, muster rolls, and much more.

You can learn more about our extensive global military collection here.

Quickly grow your family tree with hints

To begin taking advantage of our handy military hints, you'll need a Findmypast family tree.

If you've already built your tree elsewhere, you can import it as a GEDCOM here. You may wish to consult our Help Hub.

If you're a genealogy newbie, you can build your family tree using our intuitive tree builder. Start by adding your details, and we'll help you to build out the branches of your tree back through the generations.

As your Findmypast family tree grows, our smart hints get to work in the background, unearthing clues to your past from our vast collection of trees, newspapers and records.

Hints are the quickest, easiest way to get back further in your family history. The more you add to your family tree, the more hints you’ll get, so there’s always something new to discover. Before you know it, you’ll have a flourishing family tree full of new ancestors and amazing stories.

Findmypast's military hints explained

Military service records are vital genealogical resources. Military hints - which use your ancestor's service number and other details to match the person with his or her personnel records - make it easier than ever to uncover detailed accounts of military service.

This may include physical descriptions, details of decorations, promotions or awards received, where they were stationed, and even disciplinary and medical records. Some records even include a photograph of your ancestor - this will bring your family tree to life in more vivid detail than ever.

Many records reveal important biographical details such as spouse's names, next of kin and addresses. Our extensive collections of Prisoner of War records, Casualty Lists and Honour Rolls can help you to commemorate the incredible sacrifices made by previous generations.

Viewing your military record hints

Our military record hints appear in your tree just like any other hints. You can view the hints for a particular person in your family tree by clicking on the orange bubble attached to their name within the profile view. This will open up your hints drawer. As indicated below, military hints will be among the pending hints that are displayed on the left-hand side of the screen.

From here, you can take a closer look at the records that we've matched your ancestor with. Simply follow the 'Review' button, where you'll get the chance to determine if the record is relevant, and matches the information that you already know about a person. If it does, you can accept information from the hint. This means that it will be added to the person's profile within your family tree.

Uncover the heroes in your family's past

Building a tree on Findmypast is the first step towards exploring a rich archive of billions of records from around the world, many of which aren't available anywhere else online.

In addition to armed forces personnel records, Findmypast trees also provide hints from the 1939 Register, parish births, baptisms, marriages, deaths and burials, census returns and so much more. Whether you're a total newbie to family history or a seasoned genealogy expert, our ever-evolving tree technology makes connecting with your past as easy as can be.


Are military records available online?

While all military service records are held by the Ministry of Defence at the National Archives, they are increasingly being made available to search online. Findmypast has over 57 million conflict records, easily searchable by name, date of birth and service number. To find the record you're looking for, simply sign up with Findmypast and perform a simple search of our vast military collection.

Are UK military records public?

The National Archives stores armed forces records from 1920 to the present day. If the subject of the record is deceased, members of the public can request records from the Ministry of Defence. Alternatively, you can search millions of military service records online via Findmypast. Our collection contains records from as early as 1760 and covers all the way into the 20th century.

How do I find my grandfather's military record?

The easiest way to track down and store your grandfather's records is to start a Findmypast family tree. Once you've established key details about your grandfather's life, our tree builder will scour through millions of records to find records relating to his military service. For a step-by-step guide to uncovering an ancestor's military history, check out this handy blog put together by our team of military experts.

More on this topic:

Share this article

About the author

Alex Cox FindmypastAlex Cox