Back in April, I held a workshop with The National Archives’ military and maritime team about British Army officer records. We looked at how we can help people find out more about individuals they might be interested in, as well as facilitating academic research on this large number of men. The idea is to concentrate on core information (mainly promotions and regiments – most of this is in the London Gazette) to which additional information can be added from record sets that are less complete, such as roles, places of service, material from newspapers and dispatches, etc.. For example, we may be able to find out place of birth, birthdays, and relations for some, and even correspondence from them in other archives.
I’ve already started a bit of work on this focusing on Waterloo officers as a text case, and some contextual research. Interesting, I wasn’t aware just how large the officer corps had got by 1815 – some 20,000. Soon, I’ll have a small team of undergraduate helpers working with me on the project for about 8 months and we’ll see what we can achieve in that time.
One important thing is what would ‘users’ want to see? What information would the public / family historians be interested in? And how would they want to find it? Ideas about this would be very welcome!
If you are interested, you can download the workshop report here.