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Royal Marines - Service Registers, Officers (Military)

Nature of Source

Details of an officer's career and personal details. The records are only complete from around 1837.

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.

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 196, Officers' Service Records, 1756-1966. The material is arranged by the date of entry as a midshipman which is the lowest rank of officer. The Navy Lists should provide this key date. A Name index to ADM 196/58-67, 83, 97-105 can be found in ADM 313/110)
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

1793 - 1925

Genealogical Value

Officer's name, place and date of birth, address, marriage details and death date. Naval career and ships served on. Names of parents and wives.

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 an officer in the Royal Marines) (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

TNA Online Collections (Royal Naval Officer's Service Records: Service records of officers who joined the Royal Navy, 1756-1917, extracted from ADM 196. TNA Online Collections is produced by The National Archives and contains online access to indexes, transcriptions and digital images of some of the TNA's most important holdings. Searches are free but a fee is levied for each downloaded item. However downloads are free if used at TNA or the Society of Genealogists) (TNA Digital Microfilm: ADM 196: Officers' Service Records, 1756-1966. Digital Microfilm allows free downloads of records which were previously available only on microfilm in the reading room) (Royal Marines 1899-1919. These records contain the full service records of up to 76,000 men who joined the regiment between 1899 and 1919 extracted from TNA series ADM 159) (Forces Genealogy: 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) (The Jack Clegg Memorial Database of WW1 Campaign Medals to the Royal Marines 1914-1920; Royal Marine Medal Roll 1914-1920)
(Forces Reunited: British Armed Forces community reunion site searchable by individual name or by unit. The site also has forums, military news, photo gallery and many other great sections)

CD Roms

The Parish Register Transcription Society (Surrey Recruitment Register, 1908-1933 first published by the Surrey History Trust)
Manchester and Lancashire FHS (Oldham Chronicle Index of Service Personnel 1914-1919: Details of service personnel mentioned in the Saturday editions of the Oldham Chronicle1914 to the end of December 1919)