Friday, February 19, 2016

Military passengers not named

I am often asked about arrivals of military men travelling by ship with their regiment and the extract below from the Natal Mercury of 14 April 1859 perfectly illustrates the difficulty encountered in identifying such ancestors.

Aboard the Himalaya transport were 'officers and 450 rank and file of H.M. 85th Regt.'

Rank and file were never named individually in newspaper passenger lists - and one can lose numerous ancestors in one fell swoop! Of course, one can appreciate the logistics of trying to list all the soldiers. 

The only way to track one of these men down would be to find his service record where his various postings around the world would be reflected. The men on the Himalaya may not have been bound for South Africa but for India or other points east. Check the India Office records for that possibility.

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