Are you researching an ancestor who served in the First World War? Do you want to know more about the contribution your community made to the war effort? 

If you want to find out more about the role your relatives played in the war, or about the effect the war had on your community, there are a number of resources available to help you.

You can download our Research Guide here.

How to research online

  • Somerset Heritage Centre has catalogues for the archive holdings held at the Heritage Centre, along with research guides and details on visiting the Centre. The library catalogue is available via Galaxy on Libraries West.
  • The National Archives formerly the Public Record Office, TNA holds the records of central government. Use the Discovery catalogue to search their holdings and view many of their records online.
  • Ancestry is a genealogy website, which includes records of births, marriages and burials, census records and military service records. This is a subscription site, but can be accessed for free at the Heritage Centre or at libraries throughout Somerset.
  • Find My Past is a genealogy website, which includes records of births, marriages and burials, census records and some military records. This is a subscription service.
  • Military Genealogy is a genealogy website dedicated to military research, with searchable databases of Prisoners of War, Rolls of Honour, Citation records and lists of Naval casualties. This is a pay-per-view/subscription service.
  • The London Gazette has a searchable database of the British Government’s official newspaper, which details Officer’s commissions, promotions and awards for gallantry.
  • Commonwealth War Graves Commission maintains a searchable database of military personnel who lost their lives in the two World War, providing details on the location of their grave or citation on a monument to the missing.
  • International Committee of the Red Cross has an online catalogue to their holdings, which include records for Prisoners of War, Civilian Internees and Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) nurses. The First World War records are being digitised, for release during 2014.
  • Imperial War Museum has online guides and catalogues for researching all aspects of military conflict during the First World War.
  • National Army Museum is one of the key places for researching the British Army, they hold a vast library of regimental histories, along with published Army Lists and numerous small personnel collections.
  • Fleet Air Arm Museum is a Museum covering British aviation history. The Museum holds the service records of the Royal Naval, Royal Marines and Royal Naval Air.
  • The Great War Forum is a good place to share research and ask questions to the First World War research community.
  • The Long Long Trail provides details on the British Army during the First World War and further advice on research.
  • Army Museums Ogilby Trust hold records and histories of units that fought in the First World War. Contact them for further information on the history of a particular battalion, individual or unit.
  • Historic Environment Records include details of war memorials and buildings which had an important use during the conflict. They are available on the following websites:

– Somerset (excluding Exmoor National Park)
– North Somerset 
Bath and North East Somerset 
– Exmoor National Park