FindmyPast Friday: WWI Merchant Navy & Dorset Records

New British Merchant Navy WW1 Medal Index Cards and Dorset Births, Marriages and Deaths available to search at Findmypast

This week’s new additions include over 157,000 British Merchant Navy, First World War Medal Index Cards 1914-1925, over 165,000 Dorset baptisms, over 105,000 Dorset marriages and over 176,000 Dorset Burials.

The British Merchant Navy First World War Medal Index Cards, 1914-1925, contain over 157,000 records. During the First World War, Merchant Navy seamen, who had served at sea for at least six months and who had served on at least one voyage through a danger zone, were entitled to the Mercantile Marine Medal. The Medal was awarded by the Board of Trade, a committee of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom. Recipients of the Mercantile Marine Medal were automatically entitled to the British War Medal and those who were invalided out of the navy during the war were entitled to receive the Silver War Badge.

Each record is a transcript of the original medal card and contains a link to purchase and download an image of the original record card from The National Archives. Medal cards tell you which medals were awarded, details of the seaman’s career in the Merchant Navy and their discharge number.

The Dorset Marriage Index, 1541-1937, contains over 105,000 records spanning nearly 400 years of the county’s history. 150 parishes and 105,248 names are recorded in the Dorset Marriage Index. The index begins after 1538 because in that year the Church of England mandated that all parishes keep records of baptisms, marriages and burials. Each record includes a transcript of the original document. The amount of information in each can vary but most will list the couple’s names, marital status, age, marriage date and place of marriage.

The Dorset Burial Index, 1538-1986, contains over 176,000 records spanning almost 450 years of Dorset history. The records list the details of burials conducted in 128 different cemeteries and churchyards across the county.

The Dorset Baptism Index, 1538-1912, contains over 165,000 records dating from the 16th century.  Parish records are a great resource for tracing your family before civil registration started in 1837 as they can contain important information such as the names of the child’s parents. Each record contains a transcript of the original source material. The amount of information listed may vary but generally records will include the child’s name, date of birth, place of birth, mother’s name, father’s name and the father’s occupation.