US Military Records at the FHL
The Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, has thousands of microfilms of United States military records from the National Archives. Most of the library’s records have been obtained through an extensive and ongoing acquisition program. This includes indexes to service records, service and pension files, enlistment registers, bounty land warrants, prisoner of war records, soldier home records.
The Family History Library’s major collections of United States military records are described in United States Military Records under the war headings. Most records are for the Revolutionary War through World War I. The library has few records for more recent wars.
The state Wiki articles for "Military Records" describe major collections or sources of military records for individual states.
If you find an ancestor listed in one of the National Archives military indexes and the Family History Library does not have the original record, you will usually need to contact the archive for a copy, as explained above.
The following set of books describes the contents, availability, and microfilm numbers of some of the federal military records on microfilm at the Family History Library:
- Deputy, Marilyn Jane, comp. Register of Federal United States Military Records: A Guide to Manuscript Sources Available at the Genealogical Library in Salt Lake City and the National Archives in Washington, D.C., 3 vols. Bowie, Md.: Heritage Books, 1986. (FHL book 973 M2de; fiche 6087927, vol. 1; fiche 6087930–31, vols. 2–3; computer number 405846.)
- Nelson, Ken, and Marva Blalock, comps. Register of Federal United States Military Records. Vol. 4, supplemental. Rev. ed. Salt Lake City: Family History Library, 1989. (FHL register, U.S./Canada reference areas.) This is a supplement to the above set of volumes.
The FamilySearch Catalog
The best way to find records in the Family History Library’s collection is using the FamilySearch Catalog. The catalog describes each of the library’s records and provides the call numbers. Microfiche copies of the catalog are at the Family History Library and at each Family History Center. You can also use the catalog on FamilySearch™ computers at the library, most Family History Centers, and some public libraries.
This article provides the book, microfilm (if the microfilms are in a single numerical series), and microfiche call numbers for sources found at the Family History Library. The total number of microfilms is given if the numbers are nonsequential. The initials FHL precede the library call number. To find the film numbers for large sets of records, you will need to use the catalog to get specific film numbers for a surname or military unit.
You can easily find National Archives sources in the FamilySearch Catalog by knowing the microfilm publication number. Look in the Author/Title section of the microfiche catalog under National Archives Microfilm Publications. The publications are listed sequentially by the “M” and “T” numbers.
You can also do a locality search using the FamilySearch Catalog. Most large sets of microfilmed records mentioned in this article are found under:
UNITED STATES - MILITARY RECORDS - [WAR]
The wars are arranged chronologically. The catalog lists the Revolutionary War as “Revolution,” the Mexican War as “War with Mexico,” and the Spanish-American War as “War of 1898.”
Other variations found in the catalog include:
UNITED STATES - HISTORY - [WAR]
UNITED STATES - MILITARY RECORDS
UNITED STATES - MILITARY HISTORY - [WAR]
UNITED STATES - MILITARY RECORDS - [WAR] - PENSIONS
UNITED STATES - MILITARY RECORDS - INDEXES
UNITED STATES - PENSION RECORDS
UNITED STATES, SOUTHERN STATES - MILITARY RECORDS - CIVIL WAR, 1861-1865
[STATE] - MILITARY RECORDS - [WAR]
[STATE] - [COUNTY] - MILITARY RECORDS