Ancestry.com's war files open for the long weekend

THIS year marks 100 years since the official naming of Anzac Day in 1916.

To commemorate this historic anniversary Ancestry.com is providing free access to all of its Australian and New Zealand military records - including a new WWII collection - throughout the long weekend.

With a staggering 14 per cent of the population of Australia at the time fighting in WWII, this weekend is a perfect time for people to delve deeper into their family history to uncover their own war heroes, across various conflicts where the ANZACs served.

As well as being the centenary of the first commemoration of Anzac day, this year also marks the 75th anniversary of WWII battles in Greece and Crete in 1941, when Australia and New Zealand served together for the first time as ANZACs since WWI. During this period, 12,000 Allied troops were left in Crete following attacks from Germany. Of the 3,000 Australian troops on the island, 274 were killed in the campaign.

"Anzac Day serves as a good reminder to reflect on our war heroes and create personal connections to their stories via our own family trees," Ben Mercer, Senior Content Manager for Ancestry said.

"The new WWII records are the perfect starting point to help discover whether their ancestors did have a military past and remember them - especially considering 14 per cent of the population of the time fought in this war."

Key ANZAC collections free to search this weekend include the Australia WWII Service Records 1939-1945, the Australia WWI Military Book Collection and the Australia, WWI Service Records, 1914-1920.

Through these records, Australians will be able to discover information such as the military campaigns in foreign countries, the history of military units along with rich details such as name, regiment, rank, appointment or discharge date, and awards for service personnel.

The ANZAC records free to explore this long weekend include, but are not limited to:

  • Australia WWI Military Book Collection
  • Australia WWI Service Records
  • Australia, WWI Service Records, 1914-1920
  • Australia, Imperial Force Burials At Gallipoli, 1915
  • ANZAC Memorial, 1914-1918
  • New South Wales, Australia, Cowra Military Camps Personnel Photo Index, 1905-1970
  • Australia, World War II Military Service Records, 1939-1945
  • Australia WWII Service Records
  • New Zealand Expeditionary Force Records
  • New Zealand, WWII Appointments, Promotions, Transfers and Resignations

"The war service records from the National Archives contain invaluable and intriguing genealogical information that highlight the vital role of Australian service men and women," David Fricker, Director-General of the National Archives of Australia said.

"Working with Ancestry to publish them online allows us to increase public access to these significant government records, making them more available than ever before. As we reflect upon Anzac Day, I encourage everyone to go online and explore."

To access the collections, please visit: ancestry.com.au/anzacday2016



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