MILITIA MUSTERS (TNA: PRO:WO13) 1781-1782, Volume 2, includes Berkshire

Includes the South-East (Berkshire, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, Kent, Middlesex, Surrey and Sussex) by Family History Indexes. This CD is Volume 2 in a series covering the whole of England and Wales.

The 1757 Militia Act ordered that militia regiments be established in the counties of England & Wales. To ensure that sufficient volunteers came forward, a form of conscription was introduced whereby parishes made lists of adult males, and then ballots were held to choose some of them for compulsory service. The men listed were those aged between 18 and 50 excluding only those who were peers, clergy, teachers, apprentices, etc. However, the 1758 Act directed that no names were to be excluded and the upper age limit be reduced to 45 from 1762. This listing has been called ‘almost a census’ of all the males in the kingdom. The Militia Musters for 1781-82 at the National Archives record the men actually serving and the indexes provide details for each man, cross referenced to the three or four musters occurring during the two year period. County regiments, although recruited locally, often served away from home and these indexes tell where, under whom, and on what dates the men were mustered. There were nine Companies of Berkshire Militia and in these indexes there are records of three Musters: At Lenham Camp on 11th August, 1781 recording service from 25th December, 1780 to 24th June 1781; At various places in Kent on 22nd & 23rd March, 1782 recording service from 25th June to 24th December1781; and At Coxheath Camp on 7th September, 1782 recording service from 25th December, 1781 to 24th June 1782. Each entry in these indexes provides the man’s surname and forename(s), his rank and company and in which of the four musters the man appears. For Berkshire, 862 men are identified.

The CD will be useful for those with Berkshire ancestors and includes background information about the Militia and the musters for each county. The CD also includes a Surname Master Index for the whole series of CDs.

Ivan Dickason

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