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About Militia Attestations Index 1872-1915

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Militia Attestations can be very fruitful sources of genealogical data. They were documents filled in at the time of recruitment and contain much personal data.

This dataset is an index to Militia Attestation Papers, for the period 1872 to 1915, for over 12,500 militiamen in the Royal Garrison Artillery (present day Royal Artillery) in Ireland.
Ireland's Royal Garrison Artillery
This dataset is an index to Militia Attestation Papers, for the period 1872 to 1915, for over 12,500 militiamen in the Royal Garrison Artillery (present day Royal Artillery) in Ireland.

The Royal Garrison Artillery had militia in the counties of Antrim, Clare, Cork, Donegal, Dublin, Limerick, Sligo, Tipperary, Waterford and Wicklow, plus Ulster; it is not clear what the difference is between the militia for Ulster - which of course contains County Antrim - and that for County Antrim. (At The National Archives, the Attestation Papers for Ulster, Antrim and Waterford are contained within the same box, though sorted separately. While the Ulster papers do not contain men born in Antrim, the Antrim and the Ulster papers both contain men born in Armagh.) Although most Attestation Papers for a particular militia are for men born in that county, there are many papers for each county where the men were born in adjacent counties (particularly where these adjacent counties had no militia of their own), and often in counties quite far away. In such cases, the men were most likely to be living at the time of Attestation in or adjacent to the county whose militia they had volunteered for.

What do these records tell you?
The index records give the last name and first name of the militiaman, place and county of birth, and The National Archives reference.

The original Attestation Papers are very rich, and can tell a great deal about these men and their families. They show the following details:
  • name and number
  • birthplace (can be anywhere in the world, including America, Australia, India, New Zealand, South Africa, as well as all over the British Isles)
  • age
  • whether British subject
  • current place of residence
  • where they have lived for the previous twelve months
  • occupation
  • present employer's name
  • if an apprentice, name of master, date and place of indenture
  • marital status
  • number of children under 14 years of age
  • whether they have been in prison
  • whether they belong to the army or navy
  • whether they have served in forces and if they have any pension
  • if they were rejected for the services, on what grounds
  • number of years to serve
  • full description including marks
  • statement of services: there are questions regarding service abroad, whether wounded, special instances of gallant conduct and medals; injuries in or by Army service.
  • name and address of next of kin (In some instances show the mother, brothers and sisters and their addresses; the addresses can be world-wide.)
The Attestation was filled in at the time of recruitment, and if a man was found to be medically unfit all his details remained on file. So even if your ancestor did not serve as a militiaman there may be something about him in these documents.

The original documents
Click on the "thumbnails" below to view examples of original Attestation Papers, which show the kind of documents you could order.

Militia Attestation of William Byrne - WO96/1441
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Militia Attestation of Joseph Hogan - WO96/1451
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© Crown copyright. Images reproduced courtesy of The National Archives.

The amount of information in the documents varies: some, such as those of William Byrne, have much information about their family on the last page (Byrne has a brother in Plymouth, England, two sisters in Chicago, and three further sisters in Queensland); others, such as those of Joseph Hogan, show no relatives but contain a wealth of other personal information.

Locating original documents
Unfortunately, we are no longer able to offer the online hard copy ordering of militia records as they have not been cost effective. Original extracts can be ordered in person and full details can be found below.

The original documents are held at The National Archives - The index records include the information necessary to find the original records yourself at The National Archives.

The National Archives Reference Number identifies the class - always WO96 - and the box (the number after the slash) within which the attestation papers are stored; eg WO96/1441.
The Sequence Number was generated from the order of the documents within each box at the time the index was created; the documents should all be - more or less - in alphabetical order.
If the document you are looking for does not appear where you expect it, it may be because someone who accessed the documents previously has put the documents back in the wrong order. (The National Archives take a dim view of this, and prefer that even where a document is clearly out of order it be left where it is.)
If you do not find them in this order, then look for them in alphabetical order or at the top of the box.

The Indexes to Militia Records were created by Jenifer Edmonds, and are made available on with her permission.

See also:  Help Searching Militia Attestations Index
  About Militia Attestations Index (British Origins)
  Source Records Archives