Ancestry®, the global leader in Family History, has been awarded the exclusive rights to digitise and publish more than three million Ministry of Defence Service Records by The National Archives. This will be one of the largest digitisation projects The National Archives has ever awarded to a partner and will be available to customers from 2024. The digitisation of the collection will greatly enhance peoples’ ability to identify ancestors who served in the Second World War through service records.
Ancestry won the competitive tender for this unique collection, containing an estimated three million service files, comprising an estimated 36 million unique images that cover those military personnel who were discharged from the British Army from 1921 onwards.
Hannah Wilson, Country Manager of Ancestry in the UK & Ireland said: “We know how crucial it is to connect with the military stories in our family trees so we can preserve their stories and remember their sacrifices. The digitisation of the collection will greatly enhance peoples’ ability to identify ancestors who served in the Second World War through service records. That is why we are proud to have been selected to make these records available to millions of people around the world, to discover and share their family’s military history.”
Gemma Maclagan Ram, Commercial Director at The National Archives said: ‘Widening access to records is very important to us and we are pleased that this partnership with Ancestry will allow people to look at these records in the comfort of their own homes. We know how important these records are to military groups, veterans and family genealogists and we are working with Ancestry to ensure that they are accessible online as early as possible.’
The digitisation of these valuable records will enable people access to records never publicly released on this scale before and will enhance Ancestry’s significant military collections, including more than 71 million military records from the UK and other commonwealth countries.
The first tranche of records is expected to be available on Ancestry from 2024, with the full digitisation of all records in the collection planned for completion in 2029.