- Do I need to register?
- How to register on Discovering Anzacs?
- How to login to Discovering Anzacs?
- What type of records can I find on Discovering Anzacs?
- Search hints
- Why can't I find my relatives?
- Can I find my relative's war medals?
- What is a series or control symbol? What do they mean?
- Adding to a profile
- Transcribing records
- 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?
- Can I use photographs or records from Discovering Anzacs in my school/community project?
Ordering a record
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.
How to register on Discovering Anzacs
- Hover your mouse over the My Profile link in the top navigation bar (or use the tab key on your keyboard to navigate to the My Profile link, then press the spacebar on your keyboard). A drop-down menu will appear.
- Select the Register option.
- In the text fields provided enter your first name, last name, email address, username (a minimum of 8 characters required) and password (a minimum of 12 characters required). Note: All fields marked with an asterisk (*) are mandatory
- Tick the terms and conditions box.
- Select the Create account button.
- A verification email will be sent to the email address you provided. If you have not received the verification email in your inbox, please check your Junk Email or Spam folder.
- To complete the registration process and verify your account, open the email and select the verification link in the text. This will open a window in your default browser. Alternatively you can copy the link into the address bar of your web browser.
Note: Every registered user has a profile page which is not visible to other users. From your profile page you can manage your contributions to the website and access favourite people and records.
- To return to the Discovering Anzacs homepage select the Home option in the top navigation bar.
- Discovering Anzacs - How to register (pdf, 550kB)
- Discovering Anzacs - How to register (docx, 1350kB)
How to login to Discovering Anzacs
Note: To log in to Discovering Anzacs you need to register.
- Hover your mouse over the My Profile in the top navigation bar (or use the tab key on your keyboard to navigate to the My Profile link, then press the spacebar on your keyboard). A drop-down menu will appear.
- Select the Login option.
- Enter your Username and Password in the fields provided.
- Select the Login button.
Note: You will be redirected to your profile page. From your profile page you can explore and contribute to Discovering Anzacs.
- To return to the Discovering Anzacs homepage select the Home option in the top navigation bar.
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.
- 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.
Can I find my relative's 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.
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.
How to add biographical information to a profile
- Use information from the official record on the right-hand side of the page to fill out the profile. Click the view/transcribe button or the image of the official record to view the full record.
- To add information to a profile, select the pencil icon next to the section you want. Note: Either a select menu box or a free text field will appear.
- If a select menu box appears use the scroll bar to find and select the correct information. Note: To select multiple units, brigades and ranks, hold the ctrl or shift key on your keyboard and select your options.
- Make sure your selection is highlighted in blue and then select the tick icon to save the changes.
- 5. If a free text field appears, type in the information then select the tick icon to save it.
- Click the show additional button to add other information found in the official record.
- Discovering Anzacs - How to add biographical information to a profile (pdf, 768kB)
- Discovering Anzacs - How to add biographical information to a profile (docx, 636kB)
Adding a photo/image
- Select the Upload an image button on the profile page.
- Enter the Image caption in the text field. The maximum number of characters you can enter is 200.
- Select the Browse button, navigate, and then select the image you would like to upload.
- The only accepted file types are .png and .jpg.
- Maximum file size must not exceed 4.00 megabytes.
- Select the Save button to complete your upload and add the image to the profile page.
How to add a life event to a profile
- On the profile page select the + add life event tab from the Life map.
Note: The type and title are mandatory fields, and must be completed before you can add a life event.
- In the Type field select what type of life event you would like to add
- Using the Title field, enter a title of the event you are adding, you can duplicate the text used in the Type field.
- In the next field enter the Start date, please ensure the date is formatted as DD/MM/YYYY. e.g. 31/01/1940
- If applicable enter the end date of the event
- In the location field enter, providing as much detail as possible, the location that the event took place.
- Select the find on map button.
- The map will position a red marker over the location for the event. In the event that the marker is in the wrong place you can drag the marker around the map and locate it correctly. The navigation tools on the left-hand side of the map can be used to navigate, move and zoom.
- Citation and Url fields are to be used if you are adding a life event using information from a source such as a website or book,.
- Once all the relevant fields are entered, select the Add button.
Other ways to add your contributions:
- complete the personal information from the details in the official record
- 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.
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.
How to transcribing an official record
- The Official record is located on the right-hand side of the profile page.
- Select the View/transcribe button or the image of the Official record to view the full record.
- There are two ways a record can be viewed, side by side or stacked. To change how you view a record select the Side by side or Stacked buttons.
- To view the different pages in a record, use the arrow buttons or enter the page number and select the Go button.
- To enlarge a record, select the + or - buttons.
- To transcribe a record, select the Transcribe tab.
- Place your cursor in the text field and then enter everything you see on the record page, working from top to bottom, left to right. Include all typed and written text.
- To save your work in progress, select the Save Draft button.
Note: Draft transcriptions that you have saved can be accessed from your profile page.
- To submit your completed transcription, select the Submit Transcription button.
Note: Your submitted transcription will then be sent through for moderation.
- To view an existing transcription, select the Existing Transcription tab.
- Use the Help tab for additional guidelines on transcribing official records.
- Use the Report tab to report any issues with the existing transcription.
- To return to a saved transcription, select your name on the top navigation bar to access your profile page.
- Select the record title under My work in progress or the View all of your work in progress button to see a full list of your draft transcriptions.
Why do some soldiers have more than one profile?
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.
Ordering a record
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.
Contact the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.