The guide to researching your family history.

Catherine Meades BSc DipGen QG
Cameo Family History

A series to lead you through the process of discovering your family’s story in simple steps, with some tips and tricks to help you through, round or over brick walls.

Part 11 – World War I Ancestors

World War I lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918 and impacted the lives of everyone in the UK, whether or not they actually fought in the war.

Records of soldiers, other servicemen and other people involved in war work are mostly held at The National Archives (TNA) in Kew. However, this is not a major obstacle to researching your wartime ancestors as many of these records are now online either on one of the subscription sites or via TNA’s Discovery site. Also, following the recent activities related to the centenary of WWI, a lot of research has already been done based on names and places.

For example, check out the Durham at War website ( to see if there is already information on your ancestor. If there isn’t, perhaps you will want to add your findings at the conclusion of your research.

Often the starting point for researching a WWI ancestor is an item of memorabilia such as a medal, photograph or letter. Alternately, you may have a family story which you wish to learn more about. Each of these items provides its own set of clues towards identifying key pieces of information for researching a military ancestor – name, unit with which they served and, ideally, a service number.

More information on using these clues to search WWI records, together with previous articles in this series, is available on the Cameo Family History Website:

Next month: Directories

Tel: 07855 556 384
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Catherine Meades
My name is Catherine Anne Meades and Cameo Family History is the result of my love of telling the stories of ordinary people from the past. I have a degree in Chemistry and a career of over 35 years in the chemical information and chemical regulations sectors. I have been involved with online data searching since its earliest, pre-internet, days and I have massive experience in research across a range of subjects which I am now bringing to the field of genealogy. Following attending a five-week family history course at my local library in 2008, I discovered a passion for the subject and the process of finding out about people in the past which grows as I learn more about the subject and which led me to found Cameo Family History. I also have experience in presenting and training and, as my friends and family will testify, I love nothing more that talking about family history research and the discoveries I have made. Believing that proper training is the basis of professionalism, I have completed the Correspondence Course in Genealogy of the Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies and have achieved the Higher Certificate in Genealogy. I am an Associate of AGRA, the Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives. ( ) I am a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG, )


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