Finding Family

One woman's obsession with family history.

UPDATE: The Mapping our Anzacs website no longer exists and a new website ‘Discovering Anzacs’ has been created by the National Archives of Australia in partnership with Archives New Zealand. Please visit:

http://discoveringanzacs.naa.gov.au/

The Mapping Our Anzacs website is run by the National Archives of Australia and features a searchable database of WWI service records.

This website is an incredibly useful tool for family historians.  Once a relative is found, a click on their name brings up their entire service record and other relevant documents.  Clues and various facts can then be obtained from this information.  Keep an eye out for:

  • Attestation Paper (usually first page) – lists their age, occupation, next of kin, address and many other details.
  • Description Page – lists the height, weight, eye colour, hair colour etc. of the individual.
  • Statement of Service – see where they travelled and fought or whether they were injured or ill.

The Attestation Paper for my Great Grandfather, Charles Victor Barratt.

Unfortunately finding such records doesn’t always end well.  If a date of death is unknown and if there is a possibility that the person could have enlisted in the Australian Military then there is also a good chance that they could have died in the war.  There have been many times where I have searched this website and found WWI service records and at the same time discovered that the relative in question had been killed fighting in Gallipoli or France.  Scrolling through the records, you are brought face to face with the harsh reality of their deaths and the effect on their relatives.  Records of items returned (such as bibles, photos, letters or wallets) give a sense of the real person behind the record.  Then there are the occasional letters from grieving relatives.  I have never been able to forget one particular example.  Edward William Joyce’s distraught mother wrote to the Secretary of Defence several times in order to find out whether he had been killed or injured.  In one letter she writes, “I was trying to advise him not to go as he is my only son and child”.  This is a line that will haunt me forever.  The grief and worry of his mother is extremely distressing and is even sadder for the fact that as it turned out, he was one of the many soldiers who died in Gallipoli.

Whether you are hoping to find some new clues or are interested in the military background of your relative, I highly recommend searching the Mapping Our Anzacs website.

Happy searching!

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5 thoughts on “National Archives of Australia – Mapping Our Anzacs

  1. Noni Brown says:

    Hi,

    I was wondering how to contribute information about men who served in WW1. 12 men related to our families served in WW1 and I would like to update information relating to them.

    1. Jess says:

      Hi Noni,

      The best way contribute is through the Discovering Anzacs website (http://discoveringanzacs.naa.gov.au/). To update their information on this website you’ll first have to register on this page (http://discoveringanzacs.naa.gov.au/account/register). It’s fairly simple to use and update. Good luck! 🙂

  2. Alan MacRae says:

    Great site, I had sent details (to the original Mapping our Anzacs)of three grand uncles who served in the Australian army in world war 1 after emigrating from Scotland.

    They were Thomas Munsey Maclean, Alex MacLean(spelled Mclean on his records) and William Montague Maclean. Thomas was killed in Belgium in 1917, Alex at Gallipoli on 25/4715. William was wounded by a hand grenade at Gallipoli, but after hospitalisation in Britain returned to the war in the Middle East. He died in 1982. They also had a brother who was killed serving in the Royal Scots.

    I am pleased to see that all the info I sent before is on new site, many thanks for updating.

    Kind regards

    Alan MacRae

  3. I would like to place a tribute to our dear soldier, Lancelot Eldin De Mole, who sacrificed his life for us. lest we forget

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