United States Military Records
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Military records are from times of war and times of peace. They identify individuals who served in the armed forces or who were eligible for service. Military records can help you learn more about your ancestors who served their country. These Wiki pages teach terminology and describe 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. The Wiki pages 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. The Wiki pages for the separate states have more information about state military records.
Beginners' Corner[edit | edit source]
For a more complete beginning introduction, see U.S. Military Records Class Handout.
Getting started with United States Military Records research[edit | edit source]
If you are just beginning research, you may need some introductory information before using this set of Wiki pages. You may want to see the Wiki article Guide to Research.
The Basic Search Strategies page of this set suggests steps you should take to find your ancestors in military records. This section is especially valuable if you are just beginning your research. The Record Finder can help you choose types of records to search. The Family History Library's collection is described on that page, and there is also a page explaining how to use the FamilySearch Catalog to find specific records.
Online Records[edit | edit source]
- 1775 - 1783 - United States Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783 at FamilySearch — index and images
- 1775 - 1783 - United States Rosters of Revolutionary War Soldiers and Sailors, 1775-1783 — images
- 1818 - 1872 - United States Revolutionary War Pension Payment Ledgers, 1818-1872 at FamilySearch — index and images
- United States, Rolls Of The Soldiers In The Revolutionary War at FindMyPast - index & images ($)
War of 1812
- 1812-1815 - United States War of 1812 Index to Service Records, 1812-1815
- 1812-1910 - United States War of 1812 Index to Pension Application Files, 1812-1910
- 1846 - 1848 - United States Mexican War Index and Service Records, 1846-1848 at FamilySearch — index and images
- 1887-1926 - United States Mexican War Pension Index, 1887-1926
- 1861-1865 U.S. Civil War Soldiers, 1861 - 1865 at MyHeritage - index ($)
- 1861-1866 - United States, Compiled Military Service Records Of Volunteer Union Soldiers Who Served With The U.S. Colored Troops, 1861-1866, index.
- 1861-1866 - United States, Compiled Military Service Records Of Volunteer Union Soldiers Who Served With The U.S. Colored Troops, 1861-1866 at FamilySearch - How to Use this Collection; index and images
- 1861-1865 - United States Civil War Service Records of Union Colored Troops, 1863-1865 at FamilySearch — index
- 1861-1865 - United States Civil War Soldiers Index, 1861-1865 at FamilySearch — index
- 1861-1865 - United States, Records Of Confederate Prisoners Of War, 1861-1865 at findmypast - Index
- 1861-1910 - United States Navy Widows' Certificates, 1861-1910 at FamilySearch — index
- 1861-1917 - United States Civil War and Later Pension Index, 1861-1917 at FamilySearch — index
- 1861-1934 - United States Civil War Widows and Other Dependents Pension Files, 1861-1934 at FamilySearch — index
- 1861-1934 - United States General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934 at FamilySearch — index and images
- 1887-1942 - United States Remarried Widows Index to Pension Applications, 1887-1942 at FamilySearch — index and images
- 1889-1904 - United States Index to General Correspondence of the Pension Office, 1889-1904 at FamilySearch — index and images
- 1862-1865 - Georgia, Andersonville Prison Records, 1862-1865 at FamilySearch — images
- 1864-1866 - United States Civil War Service Records of Union Soldiers, 1864-1866 at FamilySearch — index
- 1861-1866 - United States Union Provost Marshal Files of Individual Civilians, 1861-1866 at FamilySearch — images
- 1861-1866 - United States Union Provost Marshal Files of Two or More Civilians, 1861-1866 at FamilySearch — images
- 1861-1865 - United States Confederate Navy and Marine Service Records, 1861-1865 at FamilySearch — images
- 1861-1865 - United States Records of Confederate Prisoners of War, 1861-1865 at FamilySearch — images
- 1861-1865 - United States Confederate Officers Card Index, 1861-1865 at FamilySearch — images
- 1861-1865 - United States, Official Army Register 1861-1865 at findmypast ($) - index
- 1865-1867 - United States Civil War Confederate Applications for Pardons, 1865-1867 at FamilySearch — index
- 1890 - United States Census of Union Veterans and Widows of the Civil War, 1890 at FamilySearch — index and images
World War I
- 1917-1918 - United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 at FamilySearch — index and images; Also at MyHeritage ($)
- 1917-1919 - United States, YMCA World War I Service Cards, 1917-1919 at FamilySearch — index and images
- 1917-1940 - United States, Veterans Administration Master Index, 1917-1940 at FamilySearch and Ancestry.com ($)— index
- 1917-1919 - United States, World War I American Expeditionary Forces Deaths, 1917-1919
World War II
- 1940-1947 U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947 at Ancestry - index & images ($)
- 1942 - United States World War II Draft Registration Cards 1942 at FamilySearch — images (Fourth Registration
- 1942-1954 - U.S. WWII Hospital Admission Card Files, 1942-1954 - index only - Ancestry ($)
- United States, World War II Casualty Lists at FindMyPast - index & images ($)
- 1942 U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 at Ancestry - index & images ($)
Other Military Record Collections
- 1839-2012 Web: U.S., Congressional Medal of Honor Society Recipients, 1839 - 2012 at Ancestry - index ($)
- 1866-1938 United States National Homes for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, 1866-1938 at FamilySearch — index and images
- 1891-1945 Washington, Soldier Home Records, 1891-1945 at FamilySearch — index and images
- 1879-1903 United States Records of Headstones of Deceased Union Veterans, 1879-1903 at FamilySearch — index and images
- 1925-1949 United States Headstone Applications for U.S. Military Veterans 1925-1949 at FamilySearch — index and images
- 1907-1933 United States Veterans Administration Pension Payment Cards, 1907-1933
- 1916-1939 United States, Enlisted and Officer Muster Rolls and Rosters, 1916-1939 at FamilySearch — index and images
- American Overseas Military Burials, 1917-1974 at MyHeritage - index ($)
- Web: Japanese American Veterans Association Personnel at Ancestry - index ($)
- United States, Veterans Oral History Index at FindMyPast ($)
Branch of Service
- 1798-1937 - United States Muster Rolls of the Marine Corps, 1798-1937 at FamilySearch — index and images
- 1798-1914 - United States Registers of Enlistments in the U.S. Army, 1798-1914 at FamilySearch — index and images
- 1798-1958 U.S., Marine Corps Muster Rolls, 1798-1958 at Ancestry - index & images ($)
- 1821-1916: - U.S. Returns from Regular Army Non-Infantry Regiments, 1821-1916 at Ancestry ($), images
- 1855-1891 - United States Naval Enlistment Rendezvous, 1855-1891 at FamilySearch — index and images
- Air Force Register Extracts at MyHeritage - index ($)
Use military records to:[edit | edit source]
- Find evidence of military or patriotic service
- Find residence at time of military service or pension
- Using military records to find a soldier's birth information
- Find evidence of family relationships
- Find relatives who served and left clues about my family
Archives and Libraries[edit | edit source]
National Archives and Records Administration[edit | edit source]
- Research in Military Records By Branch of Service; By War or Conflict; Research by Topic
- Overview Military Records at NARA
- Military Service Records at the National Archives
- Military Resources: American Revolution
- War of 1812
- Military Resources: Mexican War, 1846-1848
- Civil War
- World War I
- World War II Records
- Korean War Records
- Vietnam War
- Online Veterans and Military Documents
Record Groups with Digitized Records[edit | edit source]
The Record Group Explorer and Record Group Explorer Data webpages will identify record groups with digital records in the National Archives Catalog.
- Record Group Explorer Identifies by Record Groups the percentage of scans online.
- Record Group Explorer Data Identifies by Record Groups the number of textual scans online, estimate total textual pages, percentage online.
Selected Record Groups with Digitized Records The following links identify by Record Group with some digitized content.
- Records of the Department of Veteran Affairs RG 15
- Records of the Army Air Forces RG 18
- Records of the United States District Courts RG 21
- Records of the Bureau of Naval Personnel RG 24
- Records of the Quartermaster General RG 92
- War Department Collection of Revolutionary War Records RG 93
- Records of the Adjutant General's Office RG 94
- War Department Collection of Confederate Records RG 109
- Records of the Provost Marshal General's Bureau (Civil War) RG 110
- Records of the American Battle monuments Commission RG 117
- Records of the Judge Advocate General (Navy) RG 125
- Records of the U.S. Marine Corps. RG 127
- Records of the Selective Service System RG 147
- Records of the Judge Advocate General's Office (Army) RG 153
- Records of the Selective Service System (WWI) RG 163
- Records of the War Relocation Authority RG 210
- Records of the Continental and Confederation Congresses and the Constitutional Conventions R 360
- Records of U.S. Army Coast Artillery Districts and Defenses RG 392
- Records of U.S. Army Continental Commands RG 393
- Records of the Adjutant General's Office RG 407
FamilySearch Wiki - Collection Coverage Tables
- National Archives Catalog Digitized Collections - Coverage Tables FamilySearch WIKI
- United States, National Archives Catalog - Selected Digitized Collections
National Personnel Records Center (National Archives at St. Louis)[edit | edit source]
- Maine Page
- National Archives St. Louis
- Official Military Personnel Files
- Official Military Personnel Files Archival Holdings
- Veterans' Service Records
- NARA article about the 1973 fire
- United States, National Archives, Military Records, 1885-2004 - Inventory
American Legion Library and Museum (20th Century Wars and Conflicts)[edit | edit source]
- About the library
- Library Collections
- Library & Museum Services
- Library FAQ
- American Legion Digital Archive
- About the museum
Soldier For Further Reading[edit | edit source]
- Charles Knowles Bolton. The private soldier under Washington.Williamstown, Massachusetts : Corner House Publishers, 1976. FHL 973 M2bc
- Harold L. Peterson ; with three technical contributions by Detmar H. Finke and Marko Zlatich. The book of the continental soldier : being a complete sic. account of the uniforms, weapons, and equipment with which he lived and fought. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania : Stackpole Co., c1968. FHL 973 M2ph
- Stephen Brumwell. Redcoats : the British soldier and war in the Americas 1755-1763.New York, New York : Cambridge University Press, c2002. FHL 942 M2bst
- Sylvia R. Frey. The British Soldier in America. A Social History of Military Life in the Revolutionary Period. Austin: University of Texas Press,1981.
- Michael N. McConnell. Army & Empire. British Soldiers on the american Frontier, 1758-1775. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press,2004.
- C Edward Skeen. Citizen soldiers in the War of 1812. Lexington, Kentucky : University Press of Kentucky, c1999. FHL 973 M2scs
- James McCaffery. Army of manifest destiny : the American soldier in the Mexican War, 1846-1848.New York, New York : New York University Press, c1992. FHL 973 M2mcc
- Richard Bruce Winders. Mr. Polk's Army. The American Military Experience in the Mexican War. College Station: Texas A7 M University Press, 1997.
- Bell I. Wiley.The life of Billy Yank : the common soldier of the Union.Baton Rouge, Louisiana : Louisiana State University Press, 1983, c1980. FHL 973 M2wb
- Bell Irvin Wiley The life of Johnny Reb : the common soldier of the Confederacy.Baton Rouge, Louisiana : Louisiana State University Press, 1984, c1970. FHL 973 M2wL
- James I. Robertson. Soldiers Blue and Gray. Columbia, South Carolina : University of South Carolina Press, c1988. FHL 973 M2rj
- Michael J. Bennett. Union Jacks. Yankee Sailors in the Civil War. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004.
- Dennis J. Ringle. Life in Mr. Lincoln's Navy. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1998.
- Don Ricky. Forty miles a day on beans and hay : the enlisted soldier fighting the Indian Wars. Norman, Oklahoma : University of Oklahoma Press, c1963 FHL 973 M2ri
- Lee Kennett. G.I., the American soldier in World War II. New York, New York : Warner Books, c1987 FHL 973 M2ke
Research Tools[edit | edit source]
- NARA Collections on Ancestry.com - search for NARA collections by NARA title, NARA series number (ex. M313) or Ancestry.com title.
- National Archives Military Records - National Archives page explaining some of their records available for the different wars.
- Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System. Free National Park Service site with a nationwide index to Union and Confederate servicemen, including U.S. Colored Troops (USCT).
- Ancestry.com ($) A subscription site with records from most major American wars, including DAR Rolls of Honor, the Civil War Collection, and World War I Draft Registrations. Also includes selected Loyalist and Confederate sources.
- Fold3.com ($) (formerly Footnote) Subscription site to digitized and indexed National Archives documents including Civil War Service Records, Civil War Widows Pensions, Mormon Battalion Pension Files, Pension Index-Civil War to 1900, Revolutionary War Pensions, Southern Claims Commission, WWI and WWII records.
- HeritageQuestOnline. Search selected records from the Revolutionary War era pension and bounty-land warrant application files. Only at libraries.
- Register of Revolutionary War Records Online at: FamilySearch Digital Library, (Family History Library), (Salt Lake City: FHL, 2006) Shows National Archives and other sources available through the Family History Library.
- Veterans History Project (Library of Congress)
- National Veterans History Archival Institute
- National Archives
- Pritzker Military Museum and Library Their collection includes over 45,000 books includes military histories, unit histories, military rosters, cruise books (similar to high school yearbooks), photographs, guides to uniforms, equipment, insignia, and ships for many of the world's militaries.
- New Horizons Genealogy
- Cyndi's List U.S. Military Links
- Mary's Genealogy Treasures
- For Further Reading
- You can get copies of your own military records and those of your ancestors by going to this website.
- Many resources are available online at the NARA/ADD website. It covers everything from the Revolutionary War to very recently.
Wiki articles describing online Military collections are found at:
- United States, Civil War Service Records of Union Colored Troops - FamilySearch Historical Records
- United States, Civil War Service Records of Union Soldiers - FamilySearch Historical Records
- United States Civil War Soldiers Index (FamilySearch Historical Records
- United States, Muster Rolls of the United States Marine Corps (FamilySearch Historical Records)
- United States, Records of Headstones of Deceased Union Veterans - FamilySearch Historical Records
- United States Registers of Enlistment in the U.S. Army - FamilySearch Historical Records
- United States, World War II Draft Registration Cards - FamilySearch Historical Records
- 1942 United States World War II Draft Registration Cards 1942 at FamilySearch — index and images
- See also Military Records in the FamilySearch Learning Center.
State Military Records[edit | edit source]
- Including Militia and National Guard
- District of Columbia
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
National Guard Bureau, Record Group 168[edit | edit source]
- Jim Dan Hill. The Minute Man in Peace and War. A History of the National Guard. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Harrisburg, PA.: The Stackpole Company, 1964.
- Records of the National Guard Bureau, RG 168 [NGB]
- Official National Guard register
- National Guard Officers' Pay Cards, 1922 - 1936. NAID 5573693
- National Guard Papers, 1916 - 1919. NAID 2990429
Guidebooks[edit | edit source]
- Christine Rose. Military bounty land 1776-1855.San Jose, California : CR Publications, c2011. FHL 973 M27r
- Richard S. Johnson. How to locate anyone who is or has been in the military : Armed forces locator guide.San Antonio, Texas : Military Information Enterprizes Publishing, c1996. FHL 973 M27j 1996
- Bruce Cramer. United States military sources. Provo, Utah : B. C. Research, c1994. FHL 973 M27c
- James C. Neagles. U. S. military records : a guide to federal and state sources, colonial America to the present. Salt Lake City, Utah : Ancestry Publishing, c1994. FHL 973 M23nu
- James C. Neagles and Lila L. Neagles.Locating your Revolutionary War ancestor : a guide to the military records.Logan, Utah : Everton Publishers, c1983. FHL 973 D27ne
- amona Cameron Worley. Valley Forge ... in search of that winter patriot, 19 December 1777 - 19 June 1778 : a comprehensive guide for tracing Valley Forge ancestors.Louisville, Kentucky : National Society Sons of the American Revolution, c1979. FHL 973 M27w
- Steven R. Butler.How to find your Mexican War veteran ancestor.Richardson, Texas : Descendants of Mexican War Veterans, c1994. FHL 973 M27bu 1994
- Bertram Hawthorne Groene. Tracing your Civil War ancestor.Winston-Salem, North Carolina : John F. Blair, c1995. FHL 973 D27gb 1995
- David A. Norris. Tracing your Civil War ancestors : the research resources you need for success.Toronto, Ontario : Moorshead Magazines, c2011. FHL 973 M27n
- Richard A. Sauers.How to do Civil War research.Conshohocken, Pennsylvania : Combined Pub., c2000, c1995. FHL 973 M27sc
- Nancy Justus Morebeck. Locating Union & Confederate records : a guide to the most commonly used Civil War records of the National Archives and Family History Library. North Salt Lake, Utah : Heritage Quest, c2001. FHL973 M23mL
- James C. Neagles. Confederate research sources : a guide to archive collections.2nd ed. Ancestry Publishing, c1997. FHL 973 A3ne 1997
- J. H. Segars ; edited by John McGlone. In search of Confederate ancestors : the guide.Murfreesboro, Tennessee : J. McGlone, c1993. FHL 973 D27seg
- Joseph G. Dawson, III. The late 19th century U.S. Army, 1865-1898 : a research guide.New York, New York : Greenwood Press, c1990. FHL 973 M23Ln
- Michael E. Hanlon. Researching Your World War I Relative? : Guidelines, Tips and FAQs.Stanford, California : The Great War Society, 2003. FHL 973 M2h
- Jonathan Gawne.Finding your father's war : a practical guide to researching and understanding service in the World War II US Army.Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania : Casemate, c2006. FHL 973 M27g
- Debra Johnson Knox. World War II military records : a family historian's guide.Spartanburg, South Carolina : MIE Publishing, c2003. FHL 973 M27kw
- Ann Bennett Mix. Touchstones : a guide to records, rights and resources for families of American World War II casualties. Bountiful, Utah : AGLL, c1996. FHL973 M27mab
- K. Plante, comp.Military service records at the National Archives.Washington, D.C. : National Archives and Records Administration, 2007. 973 J53p v. 109
- Charlotte Palmer Seeley,comp ; revised by Virginia C. Purdy and Robert Gruber. American women and the U.S. armed forces : a guide to the records of military agencies in the National Archives relating to American women.Washington, D.C. : National Archives and Records Administration, 1992. FHL 973 M2scp
- Benjamin L. DeWhitt, comp., Records relating to personal participation in World War II : American military casualties and burials ; reference information paper 82.Washington, D.C. : National Archives and Records Administration, 1993. FHL 973 J53da
- Ben DeWhitt and Jennifer Davis Heaps, comp., Records relating to personal participation in World War II : American prisoners of war and civilian internees.Washington, D.C. : National Archives and Records Administration, 1992. FHL 973 J53dap
- Benjamin L. DeWhitt & Heidi Ziemer, comp. Records relating to personal participation in World War II : the American soldier surveys: Reference Information Paper 78.Washington, D.C. : National Archives and Records Administration, 1998. FHL 973 J53dr
- Benjamin L. DeWhitt, comp.Records relating to personal participation in World War II : military awards and decorations: Reference Information Paper 92Washington, D.C. : National Archives and Records Administration, 2007. FHL 973 J53r v. 92
- Rebecca L. Collier, comp. National Archives records relating to the Korean War : reference information paper 103.Washington, D.C. : National Archives and Records Administration, 2003. FHL Digital images
- Tim Wehrkamp, comp. Records relating to American prisoners of war and missing-in-action personnel from the Korean War and during the Cold War Era: Reference Information Paper 102 Washington, D.C. : National Archives and Records Administration, 1997. FHL 973 J53w
- Charles E. Schamel, comp., Records relating to American prisoners of war and missing in action from the Vietnam war era, 1960-1994: Reference Information Paper 90Washington, D.C. : National Archives and Records Administration, 1996. FHL 973 J53s
Reference Sources[edit | edit source]
- John E. Jessup, Robert W. Coakle. A Guide to the Study and Use of Military History. Washington, D.C.: Center of Military History, United States Army, 1979. Digital images
- United State Army. Office of Military History. Publications of the Office of Military History, United States, Army, Department of the Army Pamphlets.7 rolls NARA Publication T1108
- Marvin A. Kreidberg and Merton G. Henry. History of Military Mobilization in the United States Army. 1775-1945. Department of the Army. November 1955 Internet Archive
- Leonard L. Lerwill. The Personnel Replacement System in the United States Army. Department of the Army. August 1954 Internet Archive
- john C. Sparrow. History of Personnel Demobilization in the United States Army. Department of the Army. July, 1952 Internet Archive
- Mary C. Gillett. The Army Medical Department,1775-1918. vol. 1. Washington,DC: Center of Military History, United States Army, 1987. FHL 973 M2gL
- Mary C. Gillett. The Army Medical Department,1818-1865. Washington, D.C.: Center of Military History, United States Army, 1987.
- Mary C. Gillett.The Army Medical Department, 1917-1941.Washington, D.C.: Center of Military History, United States Army, 2009.
- Samuel Cooper. A Concise System of Instructions and Regulations for the Militia and Volunteers of the United States. Philadelphia: Robert P. Desilver, 1844.
- Dale R. Niesen. Identifying Photographs of Nineteenth- Century U.S. Army Soldiers. NGS Magazine 31 #3 (July-September 2005): 39-44.