Research Subjects: Biographies


Lionel S. Challis's "Peninsula Roll Call": Fequently Asked Questions

Edited by: Robert Burnham

1. I have heard it called the Challis Index.  Why do you call it the Peninsula Roll Call? 

2. Is this version the complete Peninsula Roll Call?

3. Does the Peninsula Roll Call contain the name of every person who served in Wellington’s Army during the Peninsular War?

4. Does the Peninsula Roll Call contain the name of every officer who served in the Peninsular War?

5. How accurate is the information in the Peninsula Roll Call?

6. Sometimes the names do not appear to be in logical order, especially when it comes to the Scottish names.  Why did you alphabetize the names the way you did?

7. I notice that some of the spelling of the names sometimes contradicts the commonly excepted spellings of the names today.  Why?

8. Sometimes there is a name in a parenthesis.  Why?

9. Why do some of the entries have question marks?

10. I know my relative served in the British Army during the Napoleonic Wars, but I can not find his name.  Why not?

11. I know my ancestor was an officer and that his regiment served in the Peninsula.  However, there is no listing for him.  Why?

12. Although the Peninsula Roll Call spreadsheet includes all the regiments and positions an individual served in, you do not include all of that information in the webpage that is linked to the pdf file.  Why not?

13.  Why did you not include the individual rank on the spreadsheet or the webpage?

14. Why did Captain Challis not include information on the individual’s date of birth, date of death, dates of rank prior to or after his service in the Peninsula War, units he served in after the war, and when he died?

15. I am looking for a list of officers who served in a certain regiment, but I would have to go line-by-line through each webpage.  Is there an easier way to do this?

16. I am writing a paper and need to cite the Peninsula Roll Call. How do I do it?

17. If I have correct or new information on an officer, is there someone can I send it to, to update the "Peninsula Roll Call"?

 

Frequently Asked Questions about the "Peninsula Roll Call"

1. I have heard it called the Challis Index.  Why do you call it the Peninsula Roll Call? 

Although it is commonly referred to as the Challis Index, according to our source, it is the Peninsula Roll Call.  Since the material in the database only covers the Peninsular War, we believe that the latter is the correct name.

2. Is this version the complete Peninsula Roll Call?

Rumors exist that the collection was broken up and parts of it resides in the National Army Museum.  We have no evidence to support this rumor.  However, the version that is on the Napoleon Series was created from a microfilm, held by the National Library of Australia.  This microfilm was made in 1962; thirteen years after Captain Challis donated his work to the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI).  We believe that the version presented here is the most complete version in existence.

3. Does the Peninsula Roll Call contain the name of every person who served in Wellington’s Army during the Peninsular War?

No.  It only contains those who were officers or civilians serving in a position that had the status of an officer, such as a deputy commissary general. 

4. Does the Peninsula Roll Call contain the name of every officer who served in the Peninsular War?

We would like to say it does, however we know of  at least two officers who are not included in it.  One is the Duke of Wellington!  However, the Peninsula Roll Call contains information on over 9600 officers.  This would most likely include 99% of all the officers who had served.

5. How accurate is the information in the Peninsula Roll Call?

We believe that the information in the data base is 99% accurate.  Ron McGuigan, Howie Muir, and I have cross-checked some of the information and found an occasional discrepancy.  In most cases, this discrepancy involved a date or the spelling of a name.  In regards to the date, sometimes Challis listed the date the officer exchanged into the regiment and not the date when he was promoted to his rank.

6. Sometimes the names do not appear to be in logical order, especially when it comes to the Scottish names.  Why did you alphabetize the names the way you did?

The names were alphabetized using the Microsoft Excel spreadsheet.  They are alphabetized by last name, first name, and middle name.

7. I notice that some of the spelling of the names sometimes contradicts the commonly excepted spellings of the names today.  Why?

We spelled the names as Captain Challis spelled them.  His spellings are often taken from the Gazettes or Army Lists, which at times used a variety of spellings for the same individual.   If you do not find the individual you are looking for, try an alternate spelling of his name.  For example, if you are looking MacDonald, you should also look for Mcdonald, Macdonell, and Mcdonell.

8. Sometimes there is a name in a parenthesis.  Why?

Captain Challis often did this to indicate that the individual might have used an additional name or alternate spellings of his name.

9. Why do some of the entries have question marks?

This usually indicates that Captain Challis was not 100% sure of the information or that the transcriber (Howie Muir, Ron McGuigan, or myself) was not 100% sure of our transcription of the handwriting.

10. I know my relative served in the British Army during the Napoleonic Wars, but I can not find his name.  Why not?

There could be a number of reasons why your relative is not listed.  Remember the Peninsula Roll Call only covers officers.  Your relative may have been an enlisted soldier.  Another reason is that only about 50% of the British Army served in the Peninsular War.  Your relative may have served elsewhere.

11. I know my ancestor was an officer and that his regiment served in the Peninsula.  However, there is no listing for him.  Why?

The most likely reason is that your relative was not serving with the regiment when it fought in the Peninsula or Southern France.

12. Although the Peninsula Roll Call spreadsheet includes all the regiments and positions an individual served in, you do not include all of that information in the webpage that is linked to the pdf file.  Why not?

We have included the first two units or positions that the individual served in, because we are limited by space.  Most individuals only served in one or two units.  However, a significant number served in four or five.  One individual served in eight!  We just did not have the space to include all of the units.

13.  Why did you not include the individual rank on the spreadsheet or the webpage?

It would be great if we could have included all the ranks, however there is a space limitation issue. Most individuals had at least two ranks listed in the Roll Call. 

14. Why did Captain Challis not include information on the individual’s date of birth, date of death, dates of rank prior to or after his service in the Peninsula War, units he served in after the war, and when he died?

Many of the cards do include some of that information; however the focus of the data base is the Peninsula War.  The cards generally only include the information that is relevant to the Peninsula War.

15. I am looking for a list of officers who served in a certain regiment, but I would have to go line-by-line through each webpage.  Is there an easier way to do this?

Yes.  Use the Peninsula Roll Call Spreadsheet.  You can search it to find all kinds of information, including listings of officers by regiment, position, etc.

16. I am writing a paper and need to cite the Peninsula Roll Call. What is the correct citation for it?

Challis, Lionel S. Peninsula Roll Call. 1949. The Napoleon Series. Date you accessed the information. <www.napoleon-series.org>

17. If I have correct or new information on an officer, is there someone can I send it to, to update the "Peninsula Roll Call"?

We can not update the cards themselves, however we intend to set up a separate file for additional information on the officer.  Please send any additional information to the editor.


Placed on the Napoleon Series: January 2009

 

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