The association that calls itself Ancestramil has set up a nice website aimed at helping researchers find their ancestors in the French military. They cover not only genealogy but also the history of military units and French military history in general. A large amount of what can be found there is duplicated elsewhere, especially on the website of the Service Historique de la Défense, and this is freely admitted. The real benefit of the site is the association's effort to unify the many sources in one place, making initial research on an ancestor much easier.
As they add the lists from the SHD or other archives, they enter the names into their central database. They now have close to 400,000 names. Still, when we searched (using Outils de recherches, then the search box Patronymes) for the name of the man whose card is above, only one person came up. This is suspect for it is a fairly common name. The Jean Lachaud in the search result appeared on a list of men who served in the 14th Regiment of Infantry of the Line from 1806 to 1813. He was clearly not the man in the card, who was born in 1890.
Ancestramil is stronger on the history of battles in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. It also has a good beginning collection of prisoner lists and genealogies contributed by members. It remains to be seen if this site will grow into something truly useful, or if it will be one of those sites that crop up out of nowhere, seemingly the passion of a lonely soul typing in the dark, that then peter out as futility and despair creep into the site master's isolated heart.
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©2012 Anne Morddel