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Royal Marines - BMD Registers, Ratings (Military)

Nature of Source

Records relating to births, marriages and deaths of Marines and their families. The registers were kept and maintained within each Division.

The Royal Marines (officially known as The Corps of Royal Marines) were established in 1755 as part of the Royal Navy but continued to use army ranks and uniforms. Their origins date back to 1664 to the Second Anglo-Dutch War. They were composed of divisions with depots at Portsmouth, Plymouth, Chatham and from 1805 to 1869 at Woolwich. In 1923 the Royal Marine Artillery (formed 1859) and the Royal Marine Light Infantry (formed 1855) merged to form the Royal Marine Corps.

Marine casualties covering 1893-1956 can be found in ADM 242/7-10.

Records of Royal Marine wills and administrations can be found in ADM 96/524 covering 1740 to 1764. There is also as series of probate registers in PMG 50 covering 1836 to 1915. Later wills were deposited with the Naval Pay Office from 1786 and can be found in series ADM 48/1-105, covering 1786 to 1861. An indexed register to this series is found in ADM 142/1-14. In addition a card index has been compiled for surnames A-H.

Service records for all ranks who served after 1920 remain with the Ministry of Defence with each military service maintaining its own record office. The Veterans UK web site provides contact details of where to apply for service records for each of the services.

Where Found

The National Archives (ADM 6, Registers, Returns and Certificates, 1673-1960; ADM 81, Woolwich Barrack registers of marriages and baptisms etc; ADM 183, Chatham registers of births, marriages and deaths of children etc; ADM 184, Plymouth registers of marriages, births and deaths of children, with indexes, etc; ADM 185, Portsmouth registers and returns; ADM 193, records of the Royal Marine Depot, Deal, the Royal Marine Artillery Division, Portsmouth, and various Royal Marine units overseas)
Royal Marines Museum (Marine Officer Lists, Army Lists, Navy lists, diaries, letters, Marine journals such as 'The Globe and the Laurel' which contains officer and other rank obituaries  and Marine histories. A card index to these obituaries is available)
Fleet Air Arm Museum (Royal Navy & Royal Marines Service Documents)

Period Covered

1810 - Onwards

Genealogical Value

Dates of birth, marriage and death of a marine and his children.

Further References

Bevan, Amanda. Tracing Your Ancestors in the National Archives: The National Archives, 2006


Blank, Dr. Stuart. Researching British Military History on the Internet: Alwyn Enterprises, 2007


Brooks, Richard & Little, Matthew. Tracing Your Royal Marine Ancestors: Pen and Sword Books, 2008


Buckland, Christopher. (ed). Waterloo Medal Roll: Naval & Military Press, 2001 (Complete list of recipients of the Waterloo Medal, issued to all who took part in the battle)


Cock, Randolph & Rodger N.A.M. A Guide to the Naval Records in The National Archives of the UK: Institute of Historical Research, 2006


Divall, Ken. My Ancestor was a Royal Marine: Society of Genealogists, 2008


Fenton, Roy & Briody, Nuala & Macdonald, Mike. Maritime Information : A Guide to Libraries and Sources of Information in the United Kingdom: Maritime Information Association, 2004


Fowler, Simon. A Guide to Military History on the Internet: Pen & Sword, 2007


Fowler, Simon. Tracing Your First World War Ancestors: A Guide for Family Historians: Pen & Sword, 2013


Garth, Thomas. Records of the Royal Marines: Public Record Office, 1994


Pappalardo, Bruno. Tracing Your Naval Ancestors: PRO, 2003


Rodger, N.A.M. Naval Records for Genealogists: PRO, 1998


Spencer, William. Family History in the Wars: TNA, 2007


Storey, Neil. Military Photographs and How to Date Them: Countryside Books, 2009


Tracing Your Family History. Royal Navy: Imperial War Museum, 2006


Usher, George. Dictionary of British Military History: A&C Black Publishers, 2006


TNA Research Guide: Royal Marines personnel: further areas of research (Including ‘How to find a Royal Marine's division’)

Websites (TNA Guide: Looking for records of a Royal Marine) (TNA Guide to the Royal Marines Registers of Service held in series ADM 159) (TNA Guide to the Wills of Royal Navy and Royal Marines personnel 1786-1882 held in series ADM 48) (TNA Guide: Looking for a subject, Military history) (Gloucestershire Genealogy: Royal Marines in the 19th Century) (Gloucestershire Genealogy: Royal Marine Service Record) (Royal Navy: 353 Years of The Royal Marines) (Royal Marines Museum: collections depicts the history of the Royal Marines from 1664 to the present day through a unique collection of artefacts, pictures and documents, personal accounts, letters and diaries, training manuals, maps, posters and sound recordings) (Royal Marines Museum: Research and collections: Genealogy. Guides and information on researching marine ancestors) (GENUKI Military guide with useful links) (UK Military Family History Online: Links to web sites with online data and information to aid in military family history research) (Military Archive Research, by Dr Stuart C Blank) (Royal Marines Service Records, by Dr Stuart Blank) (British Military Records Part 2: The Royal Navy, by Fawne Stratford-Devai) (British Library Guide: Service lists for the Army, Navy and Air Force) (Naval enthusiast site that contains a number of indexes including extracts from the Navy Lists, ship's photos & other information) (Information on battles, actions, medals, convoys, warships, merchant ships and ship losses, including photos of lost soldiers) (Online exhibition to commemorate Battle of Trafalgar in 1805)

Online Databases (The Jack Clegg Memorial Database of WW1 Campaign Medals to the Royal Marines 1914-1920; Royal Marine Medal Roll 1914-1920) (Maritime BMDs including information from TNA series ADM 183/114-120 including registers of births, baptisms, marriages and deaths for Royal Marines who served in the Chatham Division; ADM 184/43-54, including registers of marriages, births and deaths of children for Royal Marines serving in the Plymouth Division) (British Royal Marines, Marriage Registers 1813-1920. Discover your ancestors who got married while serving in the British Royal Marines between 1813 and 1920. The records may reveal in what country your relatives got married, what denomination the church was, and their rank and marital status. Each record comprises a transcript and black and white image of the original register) (Military Genealogy Forces War Records: Military records of over two million British Armed Forces personnel cross matched with over 4000 Regiments including Rolls of Honour, Crimean and Boer War Databases, Medal Rolls and Casualties Lists. The site also has a facility to access information on specific units or bases including regiments, ships, airfields)

CD Roms

S & N Genealogy Supplies (Indexes to Army, Marine, Regimental, Consular and Ionian Islands Births, Marriages and Deaths, 1761-1994)