Georgian Army Officers database launched

The careers of over 50,000 officers who served in the British Army between 1790 and 1820 can now be searched in a new online database.

Georgian Army Officers is a new life archive of enormous value to researchers, family historians, and those interested in military heritage. It provides access to over 500,000 records of the individuals listed in the annually printed Army Lists from 1790 to 1820 which record the careers of Army officers. By developing and utilising cutting-edge technology, the database rebuilds the careers of over 50,000 people who served in the British Army in an era when it was engaged in operations across the globe from North America, Europe, to southern Africa, south Asia and Australia.

These individuals range from famous generals like the Duke of Wellington, commander of the Anglo-Allied army at the Battle of Waterloo, to Lieutenant-Colonel Henry Milling who spent the whole of his twenty-five year career in the 81st Regiment of Foot between 1795 to 1820 and was gradually promoted from ensign to command of a battalion, or Cornet T. Shipley of the 1st Dragoons who was only in the Army forty-five days before he was killed at the Battle of Waterloo. From members of the aristocracy who were often commissioned in the regiments of Guards to those sergeants and NCOs who were promoted from the ranks, they are all present in the database.

Searchable by units as well as by individual names, the database lists the officers of famous regiments like the 42nd Royal Highland Regiment of Foot to short-lived units like the 105th Foot, known as the Loyal Leeds Volunteers that was raised in 1794 and disbanded in 1795. The database also reflects the global and multinational nature of the British Army in the era, detailing the officers of the West India Regiments in the Caribbean that were raised by purchasing enslaved Africans, the Italian officers in the Sicilian Regiment of Foot, and Germans who were commissioned to forge a Hanoverian army in exile that became the King’s German Legion.

The database was created in conjunction with the University of Sheffield's Digital Humanities Institute, and utilises specially developed programming to match individuals from across thirty years of data and then link these records together to recreate careers in the Army. This process mimics the process that will be familiar to family historians to identify and corroborate records to create biographies, but at a scale that is simply impossible to be done manually.

This database is part of the AHRC-funded ‘Re-archiving the individual’ project that is working in partnership with The National Archives.