BigNews.Biz - Dec 08,2009 - In a world-first, Ancestry.co.uk, the UK’s leading family history website , has commenced the online launch of the Bavarian WWI Personnel Rosters, 1914-1918 , a comprehensive collection of World War One German service records.
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’, an ‘Artist’ and a ‘Messenger (bike rider) for the Regiment’, whose role was to carry messages back and forth from the command staff to the units near the battlefield.
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/iexec/?htx=List&dbid=1219&offerid=0%3a7858%3a0) collections also on Ancestry are amongst its most popular.
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.”