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My Battle with the Army – Another search method

Discussion in 'Search tips - discussion' started by Tomb, Mar 13, 2015.

  1. Tomb

    Tomb LostCousins Member

    I come from a family with a strong military tradition, comprising, prior to WWI, nine NCOs in the Corps of Royal Engineers and a Captain 1st Regiment of Foot. The terms of service spanned the years 1815 – 1912. Then there was an Army School Teacher (Lieutenant) 1898-1922. All served in Britain’s far fling colonies including The Cape of Good Hope, Mauritius, Gibraltar, India, Jamaica, Malta and two of them saw service in the Crimea war. There was also a Royal Flying Corp officer (prior to formation of RAF) who was a prisoner of war in Germany 1917-18. He wrote a diary during his internment which is of great value

    Over a period of 14 years with increasing records released I have managed to download 9 Army Service Records which are so valuable for the information they contain. It has not been easy, as searching the mass of surnames is often a lucky dip. In the main, full credit to Find My Past’s Military archives. However my Army School Teacher (Which later became the Royal Army Education Corps) may be a lost cause due to records lost in bomb damage during WWII. That left the Captain John Alexander Chrystie 1st Regiment of Foot still outstanding.

    It was time for a new approach and recently I took advantage of Find My Past’s free access weekend. I blitzkrieged their Military Records but still no success. I then turned to their Newspaper Records 1710-1953 and Voila! I had found a secret weapon. I discovered that Army lists were published advising personnel promotions. Under 1st Regiment of Foot in different publications I found the following notices:

    Lloyd's Weekly Newspaper 04 July 1847 - John Alexander Chrystie Gent – To be Ensign by purchase.

    Edinburgh Evening Courant 21 August 1851 – Ensign John Alexander Chrystie - To be Lieutenant without purchase, vice, Pugh deceased.

    Inverness Courier 18 January 1855 – Lieutenant John Alexander Chrystie – To be Captain by Purchase, vice J.A.G.Campbell who retires.

    I was so thrilled to find these Army references but more was to come!

    1858 – Captain John Alexander Chrystie - Recipient of Order of Medjidie, Awarded by Sultan Abdülmecid as a reward for distinguished service to Officers of the British Army who came to Turkey's aid during Crimea War.

    The trap of looking in these old newspapers is to avoid being waylaid by all the news of the day, truly a window into the life and times of our ancestors. As a footnote John Alexander Chrystie married in 1859 only to die 5 years later at the age of 33.
    • Thanks! Thanks! x 2
  2. Margery

    Margery LostCousins Member

    It happens to me with our newspaper archive, Trove (a wonderful Australian resource)!
    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. Gillian

    Gillian LostCousins Star

    Trove certainly is just that - a treasure trove. I've found newspaper articles there about relatives all over the world; not just Australia.
  4. Margery

    Margery LostCousins Member

    And some of these have been most revealing. Nothing is secret now....particularly the criminal past of my husband's great uncle:(!!
  5. Gillian

    Gillian LostCousins Star

    A revealing titbit I learned from a newspaper article (courtesy the British Newspaper Archive, not Trove this time) was the mode of death of one of my great great grandfathers. The article reported that he was a corpulent gentleman and often used to get up at night and sit in a chair. One night his wife found him lying on the floor. As reported in the paper: "She thought that perhaps this night he'd preferred the floor, however, on speaking to him she discovered he was in a state of insensibility." This was quite a blow as I'd always imagined him cutting a very dashing figure!
  6. Tomb

    Tomb LostCousins Member

    While searching for an entirely different reference in the Portsmouth Evening News 6/10/1903, I could not help but notice in another column the heading, 'Tradesman killed by a lift'. The man met a grisly end when he was unloading a Goods lift. This was in the days of lifts operated by rope pulleys and apparently the lift was overloaded. He had stuck his head into the lift space and suddenly it came down so rapidly that he was hurled to the floor and his head was crushed between the lift and the edge of the well, death ensuing in a few minutes. The awful truth I was to discover was that it was my very own great grandfather. Family lore was that he died in a work accident but no other details had been passed on. The article had given his name which rang alarm bells in my heightened interest because surely it could only be him ??? Further searching turned up a coroners report which firmly established that he was indeed my great grandfather.

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