Workshop: Waterloo Study Day - Officers of the British Army, 1790-1820

Join us at The National Archives for a study day diving into the careers of British Army officers from 1790 to 1820 on the anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo.

Are you researching your family tree?

Perhaps you have read all the Sharpe novels and want to know more?

Maybe you want to explore the social history of the British Army's regiments?

Or you have wondered what stories are inside the records at The National Archives?

Join us for a day dedicated to studying the history of officers during one of the British Army's most famous and eventful eras. On the Saturday before the anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo that took place on 18 June 1815, this study day launches the British Army Officers database - a brand new tool bringing together 100,000s of specially digitised records.

The new British Army Officer database rebuilds the careers of the 10,000s of Army officers in the era in an unprededented way. Innovative person-linking technology has been developed specifically for the database. It holds all in the information in the annual Army Lists and has automatically linked together relevant units, ranks, dates, and handwritten annotations to digitally reconnect information about individuals, dramtically reducing the time it takes to collect and collate records about an individual. And it also details this linking process in a transparent way, so you can view the probablity of matches and alternatives.

Date – important note

Please note that this event was previously advertised as being held on 15th July. The correct date is 15th June.

Event Highlights

  • Learn how to search a new database of Army officers
  • Opportunities to talk to experts
  • View original historical records
  • Start your own research journey in The National Archives records

The day is a great opportunity if you:

  • are a family historian with an ancestor who was an officer in the era
  • are researching a particular unit in the period
  • have an artefact from an officer and want to know more about them
  • want to learn more about Army officers in the period


10:30-12:00: Introducing the British Army Officers Database

A talk introducing the new British Army Officers database, exploring how it can be searched and the information that it contains.

13:00-15:30: View the documents

You can view some of the original documents that have been digitised for the database, and explore some of the related records held at The National Archives.

13:00-16:00: Advice sessions

A chance to ask questions, explore ideas, and get suggestions for what you can look at next.


This event will take place at The National Archives in London, Besant Drive, Richmond, TX9 6DW.

You can get to The National Archives by public transport and car parking is available on site for a small fee. Full details are at The National Archives - How to Find Us.

The National Archives is fully accessible to disabled visitors. You can find out more about accessibility on their website.

The National Archives has a café and a coffee bar on site, as well as a bookshop. There are lockers to store coats, bags, etc.

How to attend

Book your place on Eventbrite.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a National Archives readers ticket for this event?

No, you don't need a readers ticket to come to this event. If you want to order original documents on the day, though, you will need a readers ticket. You can register for readers ticket on The National Archives website.

Do I need to have a person in mind whom I want to find out more about to attend this study day?

You don't have to have a name or military unit in mind. However, you will probably get more out of the day if there is somebody or a particular unit you want to look into.

What if I'm interested in someone who was a soldier but not an officer?

The database covers all commissioned officers and medical staff in the Army so the day focuses on these ranks, but not non-commissioned officers and privates. You may still find the day interesting, and we can help with general questions about military records.

Other questions

If you have any other questions about the event, please contact Dr Kevin Linch.

About the project

This event and the database are part of the Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded 'Re-Archiving the Individual' project. You can find out more about the project on the project webpage.

Image acknowledgement

The image used on this page is John Hoppner, 1758–1810, British, An Unknown British Officer, Probably of 11th (North Devonshire) Regiment of Foot, c.1800, ca. 1800, Oil on canvas, Yale Center for British Art, Gift of Mrs. Charles F. Samson in memory of Charles F. Samson, Yale College, Class of 1902, B1977.3. The image is public domain.