Ancestry adds Women’s Land Army records
Over 90,000 records from the Second World War are now available on Ancestry
Ancestry has added a new collection of 91,069 Women’s Land Army (WLA) index cards.
The Women’s Land Army was set up during the Second World War to recruit women to work on Britain’s farms while male agricultural workforce were serving in the military.
The original WLA records have not survived, but The National Archives (TNA) holds microfiche copies of the index cards, which have now been digitised on Ancestry.
The records include details such as each woman’s name, birth date, address, pre-war occupation and dates of service in the WLA.
Laura House, family history expert at Ancestry, said: “As the men took to the trenches in World War II, the Women’s Land Army fight was in the fields, where they often faced discrimination of whether they could carry out ‘a man’s work’. Despite these reservations, they set out to successfully prove sceptics wrong.”
The records provide insights into the backgrounds of the women who worked in the WLA. For example, 16,869 of them had previously worked as shop assistants or office administrators, whereas only 3624 had previous experience of farm work.
Among the records published is that of Amelia Elizabeth King. Amelia was a black British woman who tried to enlist in the Essex branch of the WLA, but was rejected because of her race. Her case caused a public outcry and she was eventually allowed to enlist, serving from 19 October 1943 to 17 August 1945.
Rosemary Collins is the features editor of Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine