Thursday, October 28, 2010

FindMyPast: 2nd Boer War Records

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was just received from our friends at FindMyPast. Please address all inquiries to Debra Chatfield


  • Boer War Deaths 1899-1902 now available to search on
  • Details of over 260,000 names of the men and women who served the British Empire forces
  • Includes the most up to date casualty list of 59,000 casualties with more background than ever before

Leading family history website has published online the Register of the Second Anglo-Boer War 1899-1902, recording individual servicemen, nurses and civilians who served with the British Imperial Forces during the Second Anglo-Boer War.

This register includes very rare and out of print documents, creating a single record for each participant in the war, making it the most unique database of its kind for amateur genealogists, military historians and medal collectors to research. The database includes 260,000 entries, including the casualty roll with details of over 59,000 individuals.

This is the first time that these records have come together in one place, making it easy to find ancestors who took part, with only a surname needed to begin the search. The published casualty records that previously existed were often imprecise, due to lack of familiarity with the Afrikaans language, use of names that have passed out of usage and the location of the records. For example, many of the casualties of the Battle of Biddulsphberg are shown in the casualty roll as Senekal; this is the place where the troops retired to and where the casualty roll was prepared rather than where they actually fought.

This new online version can help you:
. Find the unit with which your ancestor served
. Quickly research a medal before you buy or bid for it
. Find the many units with which a soldier served
. Learn about the place they became a casualty
. Find the medal roll reference and for some records the clasp entitlement
. Locate which war memorial they appear on
. Learn about a mention in a book
. Find what honours and awards they received

In the course of consulting various sources to compile this new register, many errors and conflicting information were discovered, demonstrating the need for a comprehensive database such as this Register. The database has a huge advantage over the printed source, as the information can be refined, corrected and represented to the researcher instantly.

Boer War research can be confusing as there were two Boer Wars. The First Boer War was fought from 1880 to 1881, whereas the Second Boer War lasted longer, from 1899 to 1902*. The Register released today focuses on the second Boer War and brings together information from over 330 sources.

The main sources used to build the Register are the Official Casualty Rolls**, A Gazetteer of the Second Anglo-Boer War 1899-1902, Medal Rolls, Anglo-Boer War Memorials Project, Winifred Scott's Anglo-Boer War Index and Kevin Asplin's rolls for the British cavalry, Imperial Yeomanry, Imperial Yeomanry Hospital, and the Lovat's Scouts and Scottish Horse records.

The Gazetteer is the biggest innovation in regard to the documents used. The location of many casualties is linked to the gazetteer entry that provides information on the geographical location and the military context to that casualty. The work on the revised casualty roll has introduced a further 300 entries and this now makes the gazetteer contained within this database the most comprehensive ever for the Anglo-Boer War.

Debra Chatfield, Marketing Manager at, said: "By hosting this unique Register of the Second Anglo-Boer War, is the only place where people can come and easily search these records online. A great amount of work has been put into creating this Register, by people who live and breathe the Boer War, so we are very pleased that they want to share it with us and our members, making it easier than ever before to find those who took part."

Meurig Jones, creator of The Register commented: "The Register adds real value to research by using powerful technology. For the researcher The Register will save time by combining information from many varied sources at the click of a button." was the first company in the world to put the complete Birth, Marriage and Death indexes (BMDs) for England and Wales online in 1 April 2003. Previously these were only available offline on microfiche or in registry books, at a selected number of locations. This landmark achievement was recognised in 2007, when won the Queen's Award for Innovation.

For more information log on to

* The First Boer War began when farmers of the Transvaal Republic fired upon a British army garrison which they perceived to be invading their territory. The war escalated with further attacks being made on British credits stationed throughout the Transvaal.

Due to the stealth of the Boers and their unconventional rifles, combined with the easily identified bright red uniforms of the British soldiers, the Boers retained the upper hand throughout. William Gladstone, then Britain's prime minister, signed a treaty allowing the Boers to self-govern the Transvaal.

The Second Boer War followed a heavy influx of foreign gold prospectors to the Transvaal and the determination of Britain to gain control of the region.

The Boers in the Transvaal joined forces with the Orange Free State and the war lasted for two and a half years, leaving 75,000 casualties in its wake. The Transvaal and Orange Free State were both annexed into the British Empire and the Union of South Africa was formally created in 1910.
Of those killed in the Second Boer War, around 22,000 were British soldiers, either having perished in battle or died from disease.

** The Official Casualty Rolls are published in two sets: The Natal Field Force (NFF) (October 1899 to October 1900) and the South African Field Force (SAFF) (October 1899 to May 1902). Neither is easy to use, both are arranged by unit and SAFF is divided into six sections by date.

Leading UK family history website (formerly was the first company to make the complete birth, marriage and death indexes for England & Wales available online in April 2003.

Following the transcription, scanning and indexing of over two million images, the company launched the first website to allow the public easy and fast access to the complete indexes, which until then had only been available on microfiche film in specialist archives and libraries. The launch was instrumental in creating the widespread and growing interest in genealogy seen in the UK today. has subsequently digitised many more family history records and now offers access to over 750 million records dating as far back as 1538. This allows family historians and novice genealogists to search for their ancestors among comprehensive collections of military records, census, migration, occupation directories, and current electoral roll data, as well as the original comprehensive birth, marriage and death records.

In November 2006 launched the microsite in association with The National Archives to publish outbound passenger lists for long-distance voyages departing all British ports between 1890 and 1960.

As well as providing access to historical records, is also developing a range of online tools to help people discover and share their family history more easily, beginning with the launch of Family Tree Explorer in July 2007.

In April 2007,'s then parent company Title Research Group received the prestigious Queen's Award for Enterprise: Innovation 2007 in recognition of their achievement. was acquired in December 2007 by brightsolid, the company who were awarded The National Archives' contract to publish online the 1911 census, which it launched in January 2009.

1 comment:

  1. This is a great place to look for ancestors who are mysteriously absent from the 1901 census back in the UK. The Chelsea Pensioners' records that were recently completed by Findmypast also contain details of many men who served in both Boer Wars, and despite the title, they are not all pensioners