No one will contest the fact that war is a horrific tragedy. Wars have been a part of human history from time immemorial. From American Revolution to the most recent wars in the Middle East, these dramatic events have, in one way or another, forever changed the lives of all who have lived. Yet, as tragic as war is, it creates some excellent historical and genealogical records.
Military records are an excellent source of genealogical information. Many of these military record collections provide excellent clues to other family members who may be related to a soldier, important events and other places where you can find new family history and genealogy clues. In many cases, these records may contain stories about the events of a person's life that may have been to painful for a soldier to share with others. Military records may be the only place you will ever discover some of these life changing stories.
Below are several FamilySearch Wiki articles that you will find valuable in searching for military records for a person in your family tree.
FamilySearch Wiki Articles:
- United States Military Records Describes the contents, uses, and availability of major sets of records created mostly by the federal government. You can use them to learn about federal and nationwide sources. They also discuss only sources that identify personal information about individuals in the armed forces and their units. They do not discuss historical sources about military institutions, weapons, battles, or tactics.
- DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) and SAR (Sons of the American Revolution) Using the DAR Patriot Index, Rolls of Honor, Lineage Books; using the SAR Patriot Index, membership records, and using the FamilySearch Catalog to find SAR records.
- Finding Your Revolutionary War Ancestor Search strategies to find a military unit, military service records, pension and bounty land records, and veterans or lineage organization records.
- Loyalist Ancestors in the U.S. Revolutionary War Loyalist sources, those who lost property, those who fought, additional information, and helps on the Internet.
- Locating a Union Civil War Soldier (1861-1865) Search strategies to find a person’s military unit, military service records, pension records, and veterans or lineage organization records.
- Locating a Confederate Civil War Soldier (1861–1865) Search strategies for finding the military unit, compiled military service records, pension records, soldier home records, and veterans or lineage organization records.
- Finding a World War II (1939-1945) Veteran's Records home sources, Social Security records, discharge papers, Veterans Affairs, associations, personnel/ medical records, message boards, Cyndi’s List, search engines, casualty lists, cemeteries, POWs, draft registration.
Below are some of the most popular military record collections available from FamilySearch.Use them to find the military history and pensions of your family’s war veterans.
FamilySearch Military Record Collections
- United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918
- United States Civil War Soldiers Index, 1861-1865
- United States World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946
- United States Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty Land Warrant Applications, 1800-1900
- United States Casualties of the Vietnam War, 1956-1998