Help

Searching

Do I need to register?
What type of records can I find on Discovering Anzacs?
Why can’t I find my relatives?
Can I find my relative’s war medals?
What is a series or control symbol?

Contributing

How can I contribute to Discovering Anzacs?
Why do some soldiers have more than one profile?
What information can I find in a service record?
What do the abbreviations mean?
Can I donate my photographs/records/other material to the National Archives or Archives New Zealand?

Ordering a record

How can I order a copy of a record?
Where can I see the original record in person?

More help

Who can I contact for more help?
Where can I find more records?


Do I need to register?

You can browse and search Discovering Anzacs without registering.

You must register to contribute a story, photograph or other information, or help with transcription.

Registration is quick and free. You need to provide your email address, and create a username and password. Your username will link your contributions on the site.

What type of records can I find on Discovering Anzacs?

Discovering Anzacs contains records on the breadth of Australian and New Zealand experiences and contributions to World War I and the Boer War.

 Available Australian records include:

  • Boer War service records
  • World War I service records
  • Australian Army Nursing Service records
  • munitions workers original records
  • internee and domestic security records
  • Chief Censor's records
  • selections of photographs of battle sites, strategic locations and maps
  • selected photographs of significant people such as Richard Gardiner Casey or Major Richard Morse
  • selected copyright records 19xx–xx
  • correspondence to and from the Governor-General's office
  • and others…

Available New Zealand records include New Zealand Defence Force World War I service records.

Search hints

    The simple search is a broad keyword search encompassing official records, people and transcriptions from available records.
    To search for a person, start with their family name or service number. A broad search such as a family name will yield the largest number of results
    Having additional information about the person, such as place of birth or next of kin, may also help to differentiate among soldiers with the same name.

Why can’t I find my relatives?

More than 600,000 people are listed on this website, however you may be unable to find your relatives because:

  • They travelled to Britain to enlist in the British Expeditionary Force. Some Australian and New Zealanders identified more closely with being British subjects than residents of their homeland. Search the UK National Archives.
  • They enlisted with another colonial force. Some Australian and New Zealanders enlisted while already overseas, in South Africa or Canada. There are a number of resources available for searching other colonial forces.
  • They enlisted under a pseudonym, or the enlisting officer made a spelling error. Some men enlisted under a pseudonym to hide their identify or the fact that they were too young to legally enlist. While corrections may have been made later, in some cases the original files are still listed under the pseudonym.

For further assistance, contact us.

Looking for war medals?

The National Archives and Archives New Zealand do not hold war medals. For information on tracking down relatives' war medals, please contact the Australian War Memorial.

What is a series or control symbol? What do they mean?

A series is a group of records created and maintained by a government agency, such as the Department of Defence. The records in a series are filed together based on their function or content. For example, the Australian Imperial Force, Base Records Office (CA 2001) was set up at the beginning of World War I and was responsible for the records of military and naval personnel in the AIF. This agency created the series B2455, First Australian Imperial Force Personnel Dossiers, 1914–1920. Each of these dossiers is a personal service record for an individual who served.

A control symbol identifies each of the records within a series. The control symbol for series B2455 is the surname and initials of the soldier the record relates to. In other series, the control symbols may be numbers or letters.

How can I contribute?

Register

You must register to contribute. Please refer to Do I need to register?.

Adding to a profile

Profiles are generated from service records, munitions records and Australian Army Nursing Service records.

When logged in on a profile page you are presented with additional options to upload, complete, link and add your contributions.

For example, when completing servicemen's details, if logged in you will be presented with a 'pencil' icon next to all editable details. Click the pencil to edit its associated detail. Remember to click the 'tick' icon to save your changes. Clicking the 'x' icon will cancel your changes.

Add your contributions:

  • upload your photographs or letters
  • complete the personal information from the details in the official record
  • add life events to the personal timeline of an individual such as marriage, hospitalisation or travel (Including the location of these events allows them to appear on both the personal timeline and map)
  • share your stories and memories, or add comments
  • link related records from within Discovering Anzacs and other sources, for example, the State Library of NSW, local libraries or historical societies, or the Australian Dictionary of Biography
  • add family, professional and military relationships including siblings, parents' details, members of a unit, or even a nurse who cared for a soldier.
  • identify the medals and honours awarded.

Any information you add to the profile is public and must abide by the terms of use. Moderators will remove any inappropriate material.

Transcribing records

All the records available on Discovering Anzacs are available for transcription. By contributing to transcriptions, you have helped make these records more accessible. Transcriptions help in searching for the record as well as in reading and understanding the record.

In these early stages, we are hoping that all information on the record can be transcribed.

Why do some soldiers have more than one page?

Profile pages are created from the records available on Discovering Anzacs. In some cases, more than one service record may exist for an individual, and more than one profile page has been created. For example, a soldier who served in both the Boer War and World War I may have two service records. All records for soldiers who served in World War I and World War II have been amalgamated. You can add the details of another record to an individual’s profile through the ‘Related records’ field.

What information can I find in a service record?

The details available in a service record vary from record to record. Most Australian Imperial Force records include a number of personal details about the soldier enlisting that can be very helpful for family historians. Attestation records will show details such as age at enlistment, location of birth, next of kin and trade or calling.

The casualty or service form follows the movements of a soldier throughout their period of service. It can show where a soldier embarked for service, the ship they travelled abroad on, wounds received in action, medals or commendations received, or any discipline issues. 

Service records are sometimes accompanied by correspondence as part of the file. This can include letters to and from home, or official correspondence about pay, medals, or in the case of a soldier killed in action, personal effects and wills.

What do the abbreviations mean?

Service records contain many abbreviations to save space. Please refer to the comprehensive list of the abbreviations commonly used in Australian service records

A list of the abbreviations commonly used in New Zealand service records can be found on the New Zealand Defence Force website

Can I donate my photographs/records/other material to the National Archives or Archives New Zealand?

The National Archives and Archives New Zealand collect records created by the government. They do not collect personal records, unless they have been created by a Commonwealth person of interest. 

More information on the collecting policy of the National Archives of Australia
More information on the collecting policy of Archives New Zealand.

Can I use photographs or records from Discovering Anzacs in my school/community project?

The National Archives encourages sharing of this site and publishing links to it. Content may be used for school and education purposes without permission.

If you wish to publish, reuse or alter content from Discovering Anzacs for an event or publishing or commercial use, please contact us. See the National Archives or Archives New Zealand corporate sites for more information on copyright and reuse.

How can I order a copy of a record?

To order a copy of a National Archives or Archives New Zealand record, follow the order this record button on the offical record page.

How can I see the original record?

The original records are held in repositories at the National Archives or Archives New Zealand. They can be viewed in the reading rooms of the office where the records are kept. All Australian World War I service records are held at the Canberra repository of the National Archives, and can be viewed in the reading room in Parkes, ACT.

Who do I contact for more help?

If you need more help, or your question is not answered here, please contact us.

Where can I find more records?

The Australian War Memorial holds diaries, letters and photographs relating to the Boer War and World War I. Visit awm.gov.au.

Contact the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne at reception@shrine.org.au.

State records offices in Australia contain files on soldier settlement schemes, and may contain colonial files on the Boer War:

  • Public Record Office Victoria
  • State Records Authority of New South Wales
  • State Records Office of Western Australia
  • State Records of South Australia
  • Northern Territory Archives Service
  • Queensland State Archives
  • Archives Office of Tasmania.

Some international institutions may also hold records relating the World War I and Boer War service of Australians and New Zealanders:

  • Imperial War Museum, London
  • Auckland War Memorial Museum
  • Library and Archives Canada
  • National Archives of India
  • National Archives of South Africa
  • The National Archives (United Kingdom)
  • National Archives of Ireland.

If you find something relating to a person of interest, make sure you link their profile here on Discovering Anzacs to these resources.