Tracing Your Prisoner of War Ancestors

The First World War

Sarah Paterson

Date Published :
August 2014
Publisher :
Pen and Sword
Series :
Tracing your Ancestors
Illustration :
50 illustrations
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Paperback
ISBN : 9781848845015
Pages : 240
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
Stock Status : In stock
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The experience of civilian internees and British prisoners of war in German and Turkish hands during the First World War is one of the least well-known – and least researched – aspects of the history of the conflict. The same applies to prisoners of war and internees held in the UK. Yet, as Sarah Paterson shows in this authoritative handbook, a wide-range of detailed and revealing information is available if you know where to look for it.

Briefly she outlines the course of the campaigns in which British servicemen were captured, and she describes how they were treated and the conditions they endured. She locates the camps they were taken to and explains how they were run. She also shows how this emotive and neglected subject can be researched - how archives and records can be used to track down individual prisoners and uncover something of the lives they led in captivity.

Her work will be an essential introduction for readers who are keen to get an insight into the experience of a POW or an internee during the First World War, and it will be an invaluable guide for anyone who is trying to trace an ancestor who was captured.

About The Author

Sarah Paterson has a long-standing interest in the history of prisoners of war. Through her work in the library at Imperial War Museums London, she has extended her knowledge of the subject by dealing with the growing number of requests for help in researching the lives of individual prisoners. She is familiar with the many archive sources that can be consulted, and has used them in order to compile the case studies in her book.


“Paterson’s experience shows clearly in the thoroughness of this extensive research guide. This is a must-have for anyone who knows, suspects, or thinks they might have a World War I prisoner of war in their family tree… Because this book resulted from the author’s knowledge of the questions asked by researchers over many years, it displays a deep understanding of where readers are likely to get stuck. It fills a need for a comprehensive, practical guide to tracing World War I prisoners of war and learning about their experience.”

- FGS FORUM, Fall 2017

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