The records now online detail the full military careers of 1.5 million Bavarian soldiers who fought during WWI, including then 25-year-old volunteer Lance Corporal Adolf Hitler, considered today as one of the most evil men in history.
Although unification in 1871 brought together the four kingdoms known as Bavaria, Prussia, Saxony and Wurttemberg into one modern German state, each retained its own military until the end of WWI. These records list soldiers from the Bavarian Regiment of the German Army.
The paper originals are held by the Bavaria State Archives, which is working in partnership with Ancestry to launch this collection.
Individual records include the soldier’s name, rank, date and place of birth, details of their active service, religion, status or occupation, marital status, parents’ names, and address.
Hitler’s record describes him as a ‘Catholic’
His detailed injuries include ‘lightly wounded at Le Barque by an artillery grenade in the thigh’ in October 1916 and ‘gassed at La Montagne, taken to hospital’ in October 1918.
His record also shows that he was awarded five medals, decorations and other awards, including the Iron Cross twice – 1st and 2nd Class.
As with families in all countries that fought in WWI, Germans have become increasingly interested in the role their ancestors played in the ‘war to end all wars’ as historical records for this period are made available online.
Similar UK and US WWI military service record (http://search.ancestry.co.uk/
Ancestry.co.uk International Content Director Dan Jones comments: “As Germany becomes more comfortable with the idea of exploring its own military past - and in particular World War One - it is important that no matter which side of the war our ancestors fought on, we all have the opportunity to remember them.
“Over the past century Germans have migrated around the world and so we expect these records to be of interest to many people and in many countries.”
Officially the UK’s Number 1. family history website, Ancestry.co.uk contains more than 820 million records in collections including the most comprehensive online set of England, Wales and Scotland Censuses from 1841 to 1901, the England and Wales Birth, Marriage and Death Indexes, the World War One British Army Service and Pension records, UK Parish Records and the British Phone Books.
Ancestry.co.uk was launched in May 2002 and belongs to the global network of Ancestry websites (wholly owned by Ancestry.com Operations Inc.), which contains four billion records. To date more than 12 million family trees have been created and 1.25 billion names and 26 million photographs and stories uploaded. 7.1 million unique visitors logged on to an Ancestry website in September 2009. (comScore)