How to look for Boer War records

How can I view the records covered in this guide?

View online

How many are online?

  • None
  • Some
  • All

Order copies

We can either copy our records onto paper or deliver them to you digitally

Pay for research

Use our paid search service or find an independent researcher

Visit us

Visit us in Kew to see original documents or view online records for free

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This is a brief guide to researching British government and military records of the Second Boer War. Boer War records are wide-ranging and fragmented. This guide will help you gain a general overview of the main sources of the information that exists, and where to find it. This guide is for people interested in the subject of the Boer War as opposed to those interested in finding a specific person who fought in the conflict.

What records can I see online?

There are no significant collections of records on the subject of the Boer War online.

What records can I find at The National Archives at Kew?

Cabinet papers (1899-1902)

Browse Discovery, our catalogue, for records of the Cabinet Office for the period around and during the Second Boer War for documents concerning decisions and discussions before, during, and after the war in record series CAB 37.

General correspondence (1899-1902)

Browse our catalogue for War Office, Foreign Office and Dominion Office correspondence relating to the Second Boer War in record series WO 32, WO 105, WO 108, FO 2, DO 117 and DO 119.

To access these records you will either need to visit us, pay for research (£) or, where you can identify a specific record reference, order a copy (£).

What records can I find in other archives and organisations?

Records held elsewhere

Search our catalogue and refine your results using the filters.

What other resources will help me find information?

Books

Read Army Records by William Spencer (The National Archives, 2008).

Websites

Search The Times Archive and the Guardian and Observer Digital Archive to view articles (£) about the Boer War.

Consult Boer War source notes on Your Archives for more information on records held at The National Archives.

Did you know?

Two separate Boer Wars were fought between the British Empire and two independent Boer states. The war commonly known as the ‘Boer War’ is the second Boer War 1899-1902.

Many famous people, including Winston Churchill, Arthur Conan Doyle, Lord Baden-Powell and Mahatma Gandhi all served in the Second Boer War. To find out more about a notable person, please refer to our guide on researching famous people.

There is likely to be some overlap between separate departments on any given subject. For example, a decision made during the Boer War may have been informed by the Foreign Office (FO), discussed by the Prime Minister (PREM) and then carried out by the army (WO) and Navy (ADM).