Over the past 200 years, New Zealanders have bravely fought in many wars, on many different battlefields around the world. This long-standing history of military involvement on the world stage has left its mark on New Zealand society; the nation has suffered great human loss while helping to shape New Zealand’s identity and relationship with the rest of the world.
Starting Friday November 9 until 1.59AM Monday November 12, 2012, Ancestry.com.au, the world’s largest online family history resource, will make over 9.4 million New Zealand, Australian, Canadian and UK military records free to search this Remembrance Day to encourage more Kiwis to start exploring their family’s military history. Tragically, many young soldiers who are killed in action do not leave any descendants behind and are often forgotten despite having made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
Ancestry.com.au is also inviting New Zealanders to honour military heroes by posting a tribute on its Facebook Tribute Wall Facebook.com/ancestry.com.au.
Over 30,000 New Zealanders have been killed in the many wars and conflicts that this country has been involved with since first settlement. Over eight or nine times that number have served this country abroad. Millions of New Zealanders have had a relative who served or was affected by war. With the 100 year anniversary of the beginning of World War I looming, and the centenary commemoration of the ANZAC landings on the Gallipoli starting to edge closer, this is a time to reflect on the fallen soldiers who gave their lives and think about who we will remember.
On November 11, we remember not only the soldiers who served in times of conflict, but those that were left behind during difficult times. With over 245,000 New Zealand soldiers enlisting during WWI and WWII, many thousands of families found themselves without the support and income of their fathers, brothers and sons. During WWII women increasingly filled the places in primary and secondary industry left by men, forever changing the places of women in society.
Some of the military records available on Ancestry.com.au include:- The ANZAC Memorial Book (1914-1918) - a Roll of Honour listing soldiers’ names, their number, rank, unit, cause and date of death are also listed along with other more personal items such as poems, notes, letters, diary entries, reports, speeches, accounts, stories and articles on war events.Brad Argent, Ancestry.com.au Content Director for Australia and New Zealand, comments: "Remembrance Day is about honouring all servicemen and women who have served their country, in all wars, and is the perfect time to explore and preserve their stories for future generations.
- The British Army WWI Medal Rolls Index Cards (1914-1920) - a database that contains records for approximately 2.1 million soldiers who received medals in WWI.
- The British Army WWI Service Records (1914-1920) - contains the surviving service records of non-commissioned officers and other ranks who served in WWI and did not re-enlist in the Army prior to World War II.
- The British Army WWI Pension Records (1914-1920) - contains service records of non-commissioned officers and other ranks who were discharged from the Army and claimed disability pensions for service in WWI.
There are many people who know very little about their war heroes in their family, even going back two or three generations to WWI and WWII. Ancestry.com.au is encouraging people to discover more about their ancestors’ military records and to commemorate their ancestors on Remembrance Day"
To access Ancestry.com.au’s collections, go to www.ancestry.com.au.