Records of UK Civil Internment in WWII

Last night I attended a webinar held by The National Archives on civil internment during World War 2.  Recently, in collaboration with FindmyPast, the archives have digitised and released their collection so it is much easier to discover more about any relatives that may be involved.  133,908 people from World War Two are included.

Enemy Aliens were people who were born in or had family connections to those countries that were allied against Britain in World War 2.  These included people from Germany, Italy, Japan, Austria, Finland, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, and more.  British women who had married men from these countries were also classed as enemy aliens.

120 tribunals took place across the UK, with 11 in North West London alone.  They were usually headed by judges, magistrates or other prominent members of the community.  Individuals were interviewed and then classed as one of three categories:

Category A                They would be interned in a camp

Category B                They would not be interned but special restrictions would be placed.

Category C                No internment and no restrictions.

The typical tribunal index card produced for enemy aliens contains the following information:

Full name

Place and date of birth

Nationality

Police card reg. number.  All aliens had to register with their local police force and were issued a card.  Many do not survive but if they do they will be held at local records offices or police archives.  TNA has cards for the London Metropolitan area.

Home Office reference number.  This can be really important as it will link to their Home Office file which has more information on the individual.  If you have a reference then type it into in the National Archives catalogue search and any records surviving will be listed.

Address

Occupation

Name and address of employer

Decision of tribunal and date

The back of the card explains reasons for the decision, which camp they were sent too and other details such as family background.  This is usually closed until 100 years after they were discharged as enemy aliens.  This can be as late as 1959.  If the person is deceased, you can however make a Freedom of Information request to have it opened.


Using UK Historical Directories for Family History

Did you know that a Herring Curer operated in Herefordshire in 1913?  Or that in St. Owen’s street Hereford you could find an artificial arm & leg manufacturer in 1890?  Fascinating details like this can be found in historical directories which as well as helping to identify individuals can also give a context to the life of your ancestor.

Historical directories comprise of two distinct types of publication: Trade directories and postal directories.  As the 19th century progressed these types of directories became identical in format but there are significant differences especially when the first trade directories were produced.

The first directory of London merchants was published in 1677 and London directories were published annually from 1734.[1]  A directory for Birmingham was produced in 1763 and the first county directory (for Hampshire) was published in 1784.[2]

Early directories were usually aimed at commercial travellers and typically contained general descriptions of a city, town or village and its communications (stagecoach and later, railway connections).  An entry for a place then listed its churches, inns, prominent residents, farmers, shopkeepers and other traders.  These trade directories included only the wealthier (or notable) residents.  Research has shown that a typical early 19th century trade directory contained only about 6% of the population of the area.[3]  As the 19th century progressed trade directories began to include more names and addresses of private residents whether or not they were wealthy.

The names in many early directories were obtained by personal visits or through local agents paid for the task.[4]  Those involved were often local printers and booksellers, tax and post office officials and agents for insurance companies.[5]  The number of directories increased greatly in the 19th century due to the abolition of the paper tax and a rise in general literacy, covering a county, a range of counties or a city.

Directories with names and addresses of private citizens also helped with the addressing of post and Kelly & Co started to produce Post Office directories of provincial towns and counties in 1845.[6]  The publication of these directories carried on until the 1970s when they were superseded by telephone directories.[7]

 

Directories and the Census Returns

Directories were published more frequently than the census and so they can be used to complement census information.  Information that can be found includes:

  • Confirmation of a person’s address
  • Additional details relating to craftsmen, traders and businessmen who had set up a business on their own account
  • The fortunes of an individual family through several generations
  • Lists of secondary occupations of male householders, such as part-time or seasonal work
  • Relatively comprehensive records of male householders in directories from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries
  • A series of directories can show changes in the name of the business, perhaps when it was formed and indeed when it was dissolved. This could lead onto a search in the London or Edinburgh Gazette for either bankruptcy or dissolution of a partnership.
  • An advert in a directory may give details about the actual business, sometimes even picturing the premises and examples of its products
  • A directory’s description of cities, towns or large villages can provide context for the lives of your ancestors. It can provide details about local industries, population, charities, postal deliveries, transport links and schools.[8]

By 1850 the directories were becoming larger and larger and were usually divided into the following sections:[9]

  • Alphabetical lists for particular trades or businesses.
  • Lists of tradesmen and residents arranged by streets.
  • Listing local government and court officials or dignitaries.

Otherwise the entries are usually listed alphabetically by name of settlement.

Beware!

It would be wrong to think of directories as either precise or wholly accurate.  Directories could be out of date usually by about a year by the time they were published.[10]  Added to this some publishers reprinted information from the previous year’s directory without checking it first.  Some even found their entries from other firm’s directories so mistakes could be compounded over time.

In the early directories the general introduction to each town is then followed by listings of the local bigwigs – landowners and gentry; clergy; doctors and lawyers and possibly their widows.  Only then do you get the lists of people in trade.  Unless your ancestors fit into one of these categories their names are unlikely to appear in the early directories, as they don’t include any labourers, servants, shop assistants, clerks or other employees.  As you move through the 19th century however, directories start to include street directories and surname listings for heads of households and so gradually included a much wider section of the population.

Villages and hamlets also had limited coverage in early directories, often receiving only a brief mention with one or two names, attached to the entry for the nearest sizeable town.

 

Accessing Directories

Herefordshire libraries have a range of directories both to borrow and to use as reference.  These range from the beginning of the 19th century to approximately the end of the 1930’s and can include Herefordshire as its own volume or as a combination with other counties such as Shropshire and Gloucestershire.  Ledbury library also has a range of Tilley’s almanacs that were produced just for Ledbury and its surroundings.  Herefordshire Archive and Record centre also has a good range of directories on its open shelves that can be accessed freely.

Online

Although the University of Leicester’s wonderful Historical Directories website was withdrawn in March 2014, the information is still available for free as part of their Special Collections online. The directories cover England and Wales from the 1760s to the 1910s and although a little cumbersome to use, are still a great resource.  The directories can be browsed by location and either viewed online one page at a time or downloaded and accessed via a PDF viewer such as Adobe Reader.  You can also search the directories for  names, towns, villages and occupations but if you are looking for a common name it is much easier to look at the actual directories themselves.

Ancestry also has a number of City and County Directories available from 1766 – 1946 including a limited number from the Channel Islands, Wales and Scotland.  Individual Herefordshire directories on Ancestry begin in 1830 and are available at regular intervals until 1913.  There is also a 1934 directory available.  However caution must be used when searching these directories as the index was created using text recognition software. i.e. the records were not transcribed.  This can sometimes give interesting returns to a search especially on some of the earlier directories.

Scottish Post Office directories

Scottish Post Office directories are available for free from the National Library of Scotland’s website.    Online you can now access 694 directories for the period 1773 to 1911, covering 28 of Scotland’s towns and counties.

In each directory you can:

  • View page by page
  • View a PDF of the complete book
  • Search the full PDF text
  • Download files for free within our copyright regulations

Irish Post Office Directories

Street directories for Ulster begin to appear in the early 19th century and are available to search and browse for free on the website of the PRONI (http://www.proni.gov.uk).

FindmyPast has a wide range of Irish directories for the other provinces from the early 19th century onwards.

 

[1] Herber, Mark. ( 2004) Ancestral Trails. P.159. Sutton Publishing.

[2] Ibid. P.163.

[3] Ibid.. P.159

[4] FamilySearch. Directories in England & Wales. https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/Directories_in_England_and_Wales

[5] Ibid.

[6] Herber, Mark. ( 2004) Ancestral Trails. P.163. Sutton Publishing.

[7] Ibid. P.159.

[8] Ibid. P.165.

[9] Herber, Mark. ( 2004) Ancestral Trails. P.160. Sutton Publishing.

[10] Ibid. P.163.


Futurelearn course on Irish history

I have just completed a free online course facilitated by Trinity College Dublin on Irish lives in War and Revolution: exploring Irish history 1912-23.

Using video tutorials , newsreels, articles, posters, diaries and songs, it takes you through the material that is availble on this period which is fascinating especially for those with Irish ancestry.  I have discovered many more sources of information that I will use to try and find out more on the O’Gradys.

Futurelearn do all kinds of courses for free including one on genealogy.  To find out more go to their website.


Alfred Watkins Collection of Historic Photographs

Have you ever heard of Alfred Watkins?  If not then you are missing out on some wonderful historical photographs of Herefordshire and its people.

Alfred Watkins (27th January 1855 – 15th April 1935) was a Herefordian businessman, photographer, author, self-taught amateur archaeologist, antiquarian and authority on beekeeping as well as founder member of the Woolhope Naturalist Field Club. He is famous for his work on ley lines.

He travelled extensively around Herefordshire, and took over 3000 photographs of rural life and surroundings.  At the moment there are 919 images aviable to view for free online.

http://www.herefordshirehistory.org.uk/archive/alfred-watkins-collection/alfred-watkins-images


Herefordshire Newspapers Online

I have just discovered this great free resource online.

http://www.herefordshirehistory.org.uk/archive/herefordshire-newspapers

Herefordshire newspapers from around the county from the year 1832 where available.

Titles include:

  • Hereford Times
  • Hereford Journal
  • Kington Reporter
  • Kington Times
  • Ledbury Guardian
  • Leominster News
  • Ross Gazette

They are not searchable at the moment but are fascinating to broswe through – you can easily lose a day!


Using Description of Prisoners Books

For the greater part of the 19th century it was in some cases impossible to identify new prisoners with any certainty just from the prison registers[i] but one of the measures used was the Description of Prisoners book. Prison staff took physical descriptions for each prisoner as they arrived at the gaol and recorded them in books that are arranged in alphabetcial order by surname.

The 1902 Convict Prison Standing Orders gave detailed instructions on how to measure convicts and how to record their physical condition and items such as tattoos, birthmarks and moles.[ii]

The Description of Prisoners Books for Dorset available online through Ancestry range from 1858 – 1879 and are fascinating reading.   When the entries were completed they included stature, complexion, hair, eyes, remarks (i.e. tattoos etc.) and number of children. These details, especially occupation and parish can help to confirm the identity of the prisoner listed in the prison registers.  Later books also included photographs of teh offender.

32439_b079070-00003

A page from a Dorset Description of Prisoners book courtesy of http://www.ancestry.co.uk

 

Unfortunately, for some reason, in the Dorset books women are listed but the columns are left blank. Also, if a man was convicted more than once during this period his details would only be entered on the first conviction but usually this is indicted in subsequent entries.

Findmypast and Ancestry hold some books but the majority are to be found in local archives.  There is also a good range of Australian books available.

[i] Priestley, Phillip. (1985) Victorian Prison Lives. London: Methuen. P. 121.

 

[ii] Ibid. P. 12.

 


Using English Prison Registers

Prior to the 1877 nationalisation of prisons in England and Wales, local prisons kept their own registers and as a result they vary between county and indeed between individual gaol. The number and time-span of registers available also varies from place to place as well as the number of registers that have been digitised. Normally, local prison registers are kept by the corresponding local records centre and are not indexed so you would need to have a very good idea of when your ancestor was convicted before you start searching.

In the case of Dorset, each volume is then sub-divided into type of conviction so again a knowledge of the type of crime committed would be useful. One of the main advantages of digitisation is that on the whole, prison registers are indexed and therefore searchable by name and by date.

Information given in prison registers from the 1850s onwards include the offender’s name and age, the crime they were accused of, place of offence,  where and when they were tried, sentence, religion and degree of education.

Earlier registers will also give a description of the prisoner. The information given by the prison registers on their own is useful but limited. There are no details of the offence itself and if the prisoner has a common name, they are lacking identifiers such as occupation and place of residence that will confirm that you have the right person. The next stage in the research process will be the description of prisoners book which will be the subject of my next blog.

Ancestry has a wide range of criminal records but sometimes this just involves a name, date, offence and sentence.  Findmypast also has a wide range including Home Office calendars of prisoners 1868-1929, after-trial calendars of prisoners 1855-1931 and  Irish prison registers.  Several indexes of prisoners at individual gaols are available at Black sheep ancestry

 


Using Irish Catholic Parish Registers online

Church registers of marriage and baptism are considered to be the single most important source for family history researchers before the 1901 census. The National Library of Ireland has made available on –line their complete collection of Irish Catholic parish registers from1740s to the 1880s.

They are available for free which is wonderful but there a few things you need to know when starting your research:

  • The records are categorised by parish and there is no name index. This means that you find the parish you are looking for and then have to scroll through to find the record you want. To make things easier it is useful to have a fair idea of the date/place you are looking for but overall time and patience is needed. The website does provides a parish map which is essential especially for those not based in Ireland.

 

  • Some parishes are better served than others and it is very unlikely that you will come across a parish with complete records. If your research is like mine, then some of the events you are looking for fall in the gaps between registers. Most rural parishes begin their registers in the 1820s.

 

  • Do not dismiss differences in surnames. My family changed from Grady to O’Grady in the late 19th century and there was a gradual hibernisation of names in certain areas so keep your mind open!

 

  • Some registers provide more information than you are expecting. Next to my great-uncle’s baptism is a handwritten note that records his marriage in Chicago, the name of the bride and the date.

 

  • The majority of registers record Baptisms and Marriages. There are few Burial registers. Prior to 1880, only 214 Irish Catholic parishes recorded burials compared to 1042 that recorded records of baptisms.[1]

Baptisms

So what do baptism records contain? They are the most useful of the parish registers and especially later ones can tell you:

  • the date of baptism
  • the names of the child
  • the father, the mother (including maiden surname, although not always included on earlier records)
  • the sponsors or godparents. Sponsors or godparents were often related to the child
  • the child’s birth date
  • the family’s place of residence

Marriages

Marriage records do not contain as much useful information as baptismal ones but can tell you:

  • the date of the marriage
  • the names of the bride and groom
  • the names of the witnesses.

 Burials

If you do find a burial register, they can give you:

  • the name of the deceased
  • date of burial
  • sometimes an occupation or residence (townland)

 

[1] FamilySearch. (2015) Ireland Catholic Church Records. https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/Ireland_Catholic_Church_Records


Researching WW1 UK Air Services

The Royal Air Force (RAF) was formed in 1918 by the amalgamation of the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) which was formed in 1912 and the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) which was established in 1918.[1] What is not widely known is that the WRAF was founded in 1918 and had over 25 000 servicewomen by the armistice.[2] Disbanded in 1920 they were brought back in 1939 for WWII.

The titles and ranks of air force personnel are different to that of other armed forces. Since 1914 the air services have been organised into squadrons, which were grouped into wings. By late 1918 the RAF had 188 squadrons with over 22 000 aircraft, 27 000 officers and 264 000 other ranks.[3] These statistics highlight the fact that although your ancestor may have been serving in the air force, they were more likely to be involved in ground work such as engineering rather than being pilots themselves.

RFC and RNAS Officers

Before the formation of the RAF in 1918, RFC and RNAS officers were included in the army and navy lists. The names of officers serving in the RFC are given in the monthly Army List, which is held by the Royal Air Force Museum, TNA and the Imperial War Museum.[4] RNAS officers appear in the Navy List (held at TNA), and RAF officers are in the Air Force List, which is held by the Royal Air Force Museum, TNA and the Imperial War Museum.[5] The service medal rolls at TNA can be used to confirm the rank and dates of service of a member of the RFC or RNAS.

NCOs and airmen in RFC and RNAS

RFC (discharged or died before 1 April 1918): Many of these records were destroyed during the Second World War. The surviving records are available at TNA in the WO 364 class.[6]

RNAS: Records of all ratings who served in the RNAS at any point are at TNA in class ADM 188.

Royal Aero Club Aviator’s Certificates

Early RFC and RNAS pilots who learned to fly at civilian schools obtained an Aviator’s Certificate from the Royal Aero Club.   These are available on Ancestry. The index cards consist of a front and back of a 3×5 card. There is one card per pilot. On the front side of the card is listed information about the pilot, including:

  • Name
  • Birth date
  • Birthplace
  • Nationality
  • Rank, regiment, or profession
  • Date and place of certificate
  • Certificate number

On the back side of the index card, if anything, is usually a photograph of the pilot. The Royal Air Force Museum also can provide copies of the Certificate Record Cards, which give the pilot’s rank or profession, and frequently also a photograph.

Brief biographies of the over 1,400 NCOs and other ranks who joined the RFC before the outbreak of war, some of whom later became pilots, are given in: I McInnes & J V Webb, A Contemptible Little Flying Corps (London Stamp Exchange, 1991).

RAF Officers

Service records of officers who served in the RAF during the First World War are in the series AIR 76 at The National Archives and consist of the records of over 99,000 men.[7] The records were created from the inception of the RAF in April 1918. However, they also include retrospective details of earlier service in the Royal Flying Corps or Royal Naval Air Service, where appropriate. The records can be downloaded (for a fee) from the TNA website.

The records usually provide the following information:

  • full name
  • date and place of birth
  • next of kin
  • occupation
  • date of commission
  • subsequent promotion(s)
  • the units the officer served in (including the dates he joined and left the units)
  • the date the officer relinquished his commission, his date of death or his retirement date

The records may also contain the following information:

  • details of specialist courses attended
  • information about the type of aircraft flown
  • details of any honours and awards and the dates they were announced in the London Gazette
  • next of kin (although the relationship may not always be specified)

The Fleet Air Arm Museum also holds copies of records similar to AIR 76 and ADM 273.

Other RAF servicemen

Service records for other airmen of the RAF who served during the First World War are available in AIR 79 which is available through Findmypast. However some of the records in this collection are not available as the individual was either commissioned as an officer, in which case his service record will probably not survive (look for him in the records of officers AIR 76), or because the record is still kept by the Ministry of Defence.

The amount of information listed varies, but the records can include:

  • First name(s)
  • Last name
  • Attestation year
  • Attestation date
  • Attestation age
  • Birth year
  • Birth date
  • Birth parish
  • Birth town
  • Birth county
  • Occupation
  • Spouse’s first name
  • Marriage year
  • Marriage date
  • Children’s name(s)
  • Children’s birth year(s)
  • Children’s birth date(s)
  • Age
  • Religious denomination
  • Next of kin details
  • Physical description
  • Trade classification
  • Special qualifications
  • Awards or decorations
  • Details of former service
  • Will particulars
  • Military training
  • Details of promotions, reductions, and casualties
  • Details of injuries attained during service
  • Results of medical examinations

 

WRAF records 1918-1920

AIR 80 at TNA are the service records of around 30,000 airwomen who served with the Women’s Royal Air Force (WRAF) between 1918 and 1920 [8] and can be downloaded for a fee. These records include volunteers from the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps, Women’s Legion drivers and the Women’s Civilian Subordinates.

The women were based in Britain at first, performing roles such as drivers, mechanics, cooks or office clerks. Later around 500 women served in France and Germany.[9]

Information on the service record can include the following:

  • age
  • address
  • religion
  • marital status
  • dependants
  • details of next of kin
  • statement of services and promotions
  • transfers
  • trade or profession
  • physical description
  • discharge details

A service record can contain one or more of the following:

  • an enrolment form
  • a certificate of discharge on demobilisation
  • a casualty form for active service

You might also find a statement for the services form.

Royal Air Force Museum

The collection of the Royal Air Force Museum comprises several hundred thousand objects ranging in size from aircraft to lapel badges. The Museum’s library and archives collections include items such as First World War Casualty Cards, Aircrew Logbooks, fine art, medals and uniforms, film and sound, memoirs, RAF Historical Society Journals Personal papers, casualty cards and aircraft records.

Researchers wishing to view material held in the Royal Air Force Museum’s library and archives should make an appointment by telephone, fax or e-mail with the Department of Research and Information Services well in advance of their proposed visit. Enquiries should be made in writing (enclosing an SAE) and should contain as much detail as is already known, in particular the individual’s name, service number, rank and approximate dates of service, also mentioning any sources which have already been consulted.

Department of Research & Information Services, Royal Air Force Museum, Grahame Park Way, Hendon, London NW9 5LL. Tel: 020 8205 2266 Fax: 020 8200 1751

website: http://www.rafmuseum.org

 

First World War Casualty Cards

The RAF Museum holds an extensive set of record cards relating to deaths, injuries and illness suffered by Royal Flying Corps and Royal Air Force personnel (and ex-Royal Naval Air Service after 1 April 1918). The collection can be searched online at http://www.rafmuseumstoryvault.org.uk/.[10]

The records start at about 1915 (although earlier losses were recorded retrospectively) and run up to approximately 1928. They cover all theatres of operations for that period.

The records are not complete but a variable amount of information can be gleaned from them. Some cards record the movements of prisoners of war or give summaries of Courts of Inquiry for accidents occurring in the United Kingdom. Details recorded for other ranks are usually much briefer than those for officers. Serial numbers and types of aircraft are sometimes given.[11]

Other sources of casualty information include the weekly Rolls of Honour in the London Gazette (held by TNA, the Guildhall Library and the British Library) and the magazines Flight and The Aeroplane (both held by the Royal Air Force Museum). [12]The Imperial War Museum holds copies of the Rolls of Honour of many schools, businesses and other organisations.

Information on place of burial or commemoration can be obtained from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website. They can also supply some military and personal details.

 

Further Reading:

Imperial War Museum website

Austerberry, B. (1999) Gazetted Awards to NCOs and other ranks of the aerial forces, 1914-1924. Jade Publishing.

Hobson, C M. (1995) Airmen Died in the Great War. J B Hayward & Son:

McInnes, I. & Webb, J.V. (1991) A Contemptible Little Flying Corps: Being a Definitive and Previously Non-Existent Roll of Those Warrant Officers, N.C.O.s and Airmen Who Served in the Royal Flying Corps Prior to the Outbreak of the First World War. London Stamp Exchange.

Spencer, William. (2008) Air Force Records for Family Historians. The National Archives.

Tomaselli, Phil. (2007) Tracing Your Air Force Ancestors.

Williamson, H.J. (1992) The Roll of Honour: Royal Flying Corps and Royal Air Force for the Great War 1914-1918. Naval & Military Press.

 

[1] Herber, Mark. (2004) Ancestral trails. P. 432. Sutton Publishing.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Royal Airforce Museum. (2008) Information Sheet No.1: Personnel Records, First World War, RFC, RNAS, RAF, WRAF.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

[7] The National Archives. Royal Air Force officers’ service records 1918-1919. http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/help-with-your-research/research-guides/raf-officers-service-records-1918-1919/

[8] The National Archives. Women’s Royal Air Force Service Records 1918-1920. http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/help-with-your-research/research-guides/womens-royal-air-force-service-records-1918-1920/

[9] Ibid.

[10] Royal Airforce Museum. (2008) Information Sheet No.1: Personnel Records, First World War, RFC, RNAS, RAF, WRAF.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Royal Airforce Museum. (2008) Information Sheet No.1: Personnel Records, First World War, RFC, RNAS, RAF, WRAF.


Using gazettes for official records

The London Gazette, The Edinburgh Gazette and The Belfast Gazette are published in the United Kingdom and their archives are a useful source of information for finding out about your family history. The website https://www.thegazette.co.uk is free to use and is searchable by name as well as being available to browse through.

The London Gazette is the official newspaper of record for the United Kingdom and was first published in 1665 in the reign of Charles II. For 350 years the Gazette has disseminated Government news, regulatory and legal information, and trade and business news. It ceased to be a newspaper many years ago, but exists as the prime source of official notices. Furthermore, if has been joined by two sister publications – the Edinburgh Gazette and the Belfast Gazette – which fulfil a similar function to the London Gazette in Scotland and Northern Ireland respectively.

The Edinburgh Gazette and The Belfast Gazette do not date from as early as The London Gazette. The Edinburgh Gazette first published in 1699, but with several breaks, has been published continuously from 1793 to the present day. The Belfast Gazette from 1921. Its forerunner was The Dublin Gazette, first published in 1706, and from 1922 published under the title Iris Oifigiuil.

All of the Gazettes are now published under the auspices of The Stationery Office, and contain a great range of official announcements such as

  • Announcements of appointments in the armed forces. The promotions of navy, army (both regular army and militia) and air force officers usually can be found. An officer’s commission was not considered official until he was “gazetted” – meaning that he was listed in the London Gazette. A list of officers killed and wounded at Waterloo appeared as a supplement to the Gazette on 1 July 1815 but other ranks did not normally appear until about the time of the Crimean War when full lists of casualties were given. Lists of money due to their dependents were also publicised there, as they were in the First World War.
  • Bankruptcies.  From almost its earliest days notices about bankruptcies began to be published in the London Gazette and in the course of the 18th century it became standard practice to publish a formal statement there, showing the name, address and occupation of the bankrupt. In 1785 some 500 were listed; by 1850 the number had grown to about 2,000 a year.
  • Captains, Mates and Civil Servants. With the introduction of certificates of Competency for Masters and Mates of merchant vessels in 1845, they were published in the London Gazette and the entries there show the date and place of birth of the master or mate, his ticket number, class of certificate, his present or last previous service, and the date and place of the examination. They are last shown in 1850. In a similar manner, those who passed the Civil Service examinations were also listed when these were introduced in 1855. These lists, which only show the name of the candidate, continued for many years.
  • Court announcements.
  • Changes of Name. Royal Licences and private Acts of Parliament authorising people to change their surnames have been published in the London Gazette from early times. The more usual deeds poll of change of name have been enrolled (since 1903) on the Enrolment Books
    Recorded in The Gazette (London Gazette). Issue 38614. P. 2439. 17 May 1949.

    Recorded in The Gazette (London Gazette). Issue 38614. P. 2439. 17 May 1949.

    of the Supreme Court (in J18 at The National Archives, Kew), but since 1914 more detailed regulations have required their advertisement in the London Gazette. Some other declarations of change of name without a deed poll are also advertised there. In many instances the forenames as well as the surnames are changed. I was lucky enough to find my great uncle’s change of name when he was in his 40s.

  • Dissolution of Partnerships. Although there was never any legal requirement to do so, from about 1750 it became customary to list dissolutions of business partnerships in the London Gazette, and by 1850 about 1,500 a year were appearing. The listings, not being obligatory, are not so complete as those of bankrupts.
  • Gallantry awards. Those mentioned in dispatches are also listed, and from 1843 these include other ranks. From 1914 all recipients of honours and awards have been listed.
  • Liquidation notices.
  • Naturalisation.  Prior to 1844 some Letters Patent of denization were published in the Gazette and since 1886 those who receive naturalization certificates have been listed there.
  • Royal Warrant Holders are published annually; these are the tradesmen who supply the various Royal Households and have received a Warrant entitling them to use the appropriate Royal Arms.
  • Probate notices.
  • Planning notices.

Further readingl

Familysearch have a really useful wiki on the gazettes.