Military Genealogy Bookstock Collection | Birmingham Collection Resources | Microfilm Resources | Digital Resources | Archival Resources | Websites
World War One sources held in the Heritage Research Area on level 4 of the Library of Birmingham.
A question we are increasingly asked is which resources we hold for researching the histories of ancestors who were in the armed forces in the First World War. Some of the resources we hold in Archives & Collections service include:
1. Military Genealogy Bookstock Collection
In our military genealogy section located in the East mobile press you can find:
General histories of national regiments from the Famous Regiments Series
In the Men at Arms series British Battle Insignia 1914 – 1918
Registers of recipients of the Victoria and George Cross
General guides to using military records
Books on medals
RFC and RAF roll of honour 1914-1918
Airmen who died in the Great War
Prison Service Roll of Honour 1914-1918
Red Cross list of wounded and missing 1917
List of British Officers taken prisoner 1914-1918
Warwickshire Roll of Honour 1914 – 2005
National Roll of Honour, Great War
Roll of Honour, Birmingham World War One
London Gazette & Indexes 1914 – 1920 (Useful for despatches and medal citations)
Soldiers Who Died in the Great War Regimental Lists 1914 – 1919
Army List 1914 – 1920 (Officer Class only)
Navy List 1914 – 1920 (Officer Class only)
RAF List 1918 - 1920 (Officer Class only)
2. Birmingham Collection Resources
There are also a number of useful books in the Birmingham Collection relating to Birmingham Battalions and the Royal Warwickshire Regiments as well as more general books about Birmingham in the First World War. These can be found in the Birmingham History section under the reference BCOL 75 – 75.9. The following texts provide a detailed account of preparations made for the conflict plus life in the city :
1. Brazier & Sandford. Birmingham and the Great War, 1914 – 1919. Published in 1921.
2. Jones, J.T. Municipality and the War in History of the Corporation of Birmingham.
Vol. V, part 1. BCOL 31
Available in the Quick Reference section we have:
Lists of Soldiers Died in the Great War for the Worcestershire, Royal Warwickshire and South Staffordshire regiments
Birmingham City Battalions Book of Honour
Book of Honour for of Birmingham Men and Women who fell in the Great War 1914-1918
Bibliography of Regimental Histories
City of Birmingham Book of Remembrance
Some bookstock materials located in the stores need ordering in advance either in person, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 0121 242 4242. This includes our newspaper cuttings on World War One written from the 1960s onwards and newspaper cuttings relating to the Hall of Memory 1921-1981.
It also includes the Army and Navy lists (Officers only) from the mid-19th century - 2012 and the Air Force Lists (Officers only) 1918 – 2007 which cannot be found on the open access shelves in the Heritage Research Area.
3. Microform Resources
We hold a number of General Register Office indexes on microfiche:
War deaths 1914 – 1921 (divided into Officers, other ranks etc.)
Navy deaths (all ranks) 1914 – 1921
Marine deaths 1837 – 1965
Marine births 1837 – 1965
Army marriages within British lines 1914 – 1925
The Absent Voters lists for 1918-1926 are available on microfilm. To view microfilm and fiche records please come to the customer service desk located on level 4 to book a PC or alternatively email email@example.com to secure an advance booking. The Absent Voters’ List is also accessible to view in digital format free of charge in the library via Midlands Historical Data which can be found via the elibrary pages of the Library of Birmingham website and subsequently through the link to Websites for Family History & Heritage.
4. Digital Resources
Ancestry.com which is available in all Birmingham libraries has a large number of useful records which you can access by selecting Search and Military records. These include:
WWI Medal Rolls Index Cards 1914 – 1920
WWI Pension Records 1914 – 1920
UK Soldiers died in Great War 1914 – 1919
UK Citations of DC Medal 1914 – 1920
Navy Lists 1888 – 1970
UK Naval Medal and Awards Rolls 1793 – 1972
Commonwealth War Graves cemetery and memorial registers 1914 – 1921
National Roll of Great War (includes Birmingham)
Silver War Badge records (awarded to service personnel honourably discharged due to injury and sickness so that they could avoid being accused of cowardice at home)
De Ruvigny Roll of Honour 1914 – 1924 (this is also available on open access in the Military Genealogy section)
Royal Navy and Royal Marine War Graves Roll 1914 – 1919
Royal Aero Club Aviators Certificates 1910 – 1950
UK Victoria Cross Medals 1857 – 2007
GB Royal Naval Division Casualties of the Great War 1914 – 1924
UK British Officers Prisoners of War 1914 – 1918
To view Ancestry on level 4, please come to the customer service desk and a member of staff will book you onto the computer.
5. Archival Resources
Sources in the archives relating to the First World War are listed in the Source Guide available via (http://10.100.179.32/calmview/app_themes/default/images/bah-source-war-ww1.pdf) and these can be viewed by making an appointment in the Wolfson Centre for Archival research by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org .
You will require some form of identification in the search room verifying your name, address and signature; a driving licence is ideal.
In our Useful Websites List 2016, which you can pick up from the leaflet stand at the HRA desk, there is a section dedicated to researching military history. It is also available on our website - http://www.libraryofbirmingham.com/article/familyhistory/familyhistorywebsites
There is plenty of useful information on the Long Trail website http://www.1914-1918.net/ about how to research an ancestor in the army or find out about a specific battalion or a battle.
The National Archives has plenty of useful advice on researching military records -(http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/records/looking-for-subject/firstworldwar.htm) in their holdings and elsewhere and it has a dedicated portal from where you can access all of their online collections and a variety of blogs and podcasts relating to the First World War -http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/first-world-war/
The Library of Birmingham website contains a gallery of resources pertaining to the First World War stored in the building. www.libraryofbirmingham.com/firstworldwar also includes a link to the pages for the Voices of War & Peace Engagement Centre : the Great War and its legacy.
The Imperial War Museum website – www.iwm.org.uk provides access to the Lives of the First World War digital memorial - https://livesofthefirstworldwar.org/ and individuals can upload their own materials, stories and artefacts.