Thanks to a new website from the universities of Southampton and Reading, you can now check whether any of your ancestors were related to soldiers that fought in the Hundred Years War. The site, called The Soldier in Later Medieval England, offers a database of over 3,500 French soldiers who fought in or were associated with 1415's Battle of Agincourt. There are also about 250,000 English soldiers who fought in the war.
The collection of names and historical details is actually the single largest database of Medieval individuals. The Soldier in Later Medieval England is an ongoing project. This latest addition was sponsored by the Agincourt 600 charity, as well as the universities themselves.
"It is fitting that this new resource has been made available following the major 600th anniversary commemorations of Agincourt in 2015, in which our university played a key role," said professor Anne Curry, the Dean of Humanities at the University of Southampton and Director of the Soldier in Later Medieval England. "The Medieval Soldier website has already proved an invaluable resource for genealogists and people interested in social, political and military history. This new data will help us to reach out to new users and shed fresh light on the Hundred Years War."
The data are a bit blood-soaked. Five hundred and fifty of the French soldiers added to the database died in battle. Dr. Rémy Ambühl of Southampton has also done research that shows about three hundred of them were held for ransom or taken prisoner at some point.
"Our newly developed interface interrogates sources found in many different archive repositories in England and France," says professor Adrian Bell of the University of Reading, a co-director of project. "Without our site, searching for this information would require many visits to the National Archives of both England and France, the British Library and Bibliothèque nationale and all of the Archives Départementales in Normandy."
The project was originally sponsored by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, and website was originally launched in 2009 after three years of research and development. They collected the names from pay audit documents for soldiers, as well as letters of protection soldiers purchased from the Chancery to insure themselves against legal action while they were fighting abroad.
So if you are at all curious whether or not one of your ancestors may have been one of the Lucky Few, it's worth checking. The site also offers biographies of every English captain of 1415. Who knows, maybe you're descended from an officer.