These records are of men pensioned out of the British Army from 1760 through 1913. It is not limited to residents of The Royal Hospital at Chelsea. The records are referred to as the ‘Chelsea Pensioners’ because the office that administered the pensions was located in The Royal Hospital at Chelsea. That office kept the records for Chelsea Hospital residents (referred to as "in-pensioners") and non-residents (or "out-pensioners") alike. The great majority of pensioned soldiers were out-pensioners and did not reside at the Hospital itself.
The records are free to search, like all the records on findmypast.co.uk. If you find a record of interest, you do have to pay a fee to view the image of the original document. Even if you don’t think that any of your ancestors could have been Chelsea Pensioners, give searching the records a go. Your ancestor may have only served in the army for a short time before they were pensioned out.
Most of the records provide the soldier’s name, place of birth, regiment(s), year of discharge and dates of service within the British Army. They also contain detailed descriptions of a soldier’s physical appearance and any distinguishing features, such as tattoos or scars. The records are the next best thing to looking at a photograph of your ancestor; there are usually six or seven records for each soldier.
The Chelsea Pensioner records contain information about pensioned soldiers but not for sailors.
FindMyPast.co.uk will be adding another 5.6 million records to the Chelsea Pensioner Collection over the next fourteen months.
You might like to watch the video featuring Debra Chatfield and Caroline Kimball below that describes the collection.
You can start your search at http://www.findmypast.co.uk/chelsea-pensioners-service-records-collection-search-start.action