United States Military Records
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Fold3 has free military collections including a Civil War maps collection and Brady Civil War photos. They also have a free Vietnam Service Awards collection and Vietnam Veterans Memorial collection with over 58,000 images of soldier's names.
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.
For a more complete beginning introduction, see U.S. Military Records Class Handout.
Getting started with United States Military Records research
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.
- Getting started
- Tips for beginners
- What's the next step?
- When could my ancestor have served?
- U.S. Military Records Class Handout
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.
Use military records to:
- Find evidence of military or patriotic service
- Find residence at time of military service or pension
- Find birth information
- Find evidence of family relationships
- Find relatives who served and left clues about my family
- Research in Military Records
- 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
National Personnel Records Center (National Archives at St. Louis)
- 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
American Legion Library and Museum (20th Century Wars and Conflicts)
- About the library
- Library Collections
- Library & Museum Services
- Library FAQ
- American Legion Digital Archive
- About the museum
- RecordsBase.com - ($) Help You Find Family Members Who Served in the army, including military documents, information of US historic wars, veterans and military divisions.
- NARA Collections on Ancestry.com - search for NARA collections by NARA title, NARA series number (ex. M313) or Ancestry.com title.
- National Archives Military Records - National Archives page explaining some of their records available for the different wars.
- Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System. Free National Park Service site with a nationwide index to Union and Confederate servicemen, including U.S. Colored Troops (USCT).
- Ancestry.com ($) 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 FamilySearch Books Online (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, Service Records of Union Soldiers Who Served in the United States 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 Provided Deceased Union Civil War Veterans (FamilySearch Historical Records)
- United States Registers of Enlistment in the U.S. Army (FamilySearch Historical Records)
- United States World War II Fourth 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.
- 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
- 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
- 1818 - 1872 - United States Revolutionary War Pension Payment Ledgers, 1818-1872 at FamilySearch — index and images
- 1846 - 1848 - United States Mexican War Index and Service Records, 1846-1848 at FamilySearch — index and images
- 1855 - 1891 - United States Naval Enlistment Rendezvous, 1855-1891 at FamilySearch — 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 - 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
- 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
- 1865 - 1867 - United States Civil War Confederate Applications for Pardons, 1865-1867 at FamilySearch — index
- 1866 - 1938 - United States National Homes for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, 1866-1938 at FamilySearch — index and images
- 1879 - 1903 - United States Records of Headstones of Deceased Union Veterans, 1879-1903 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
- 1890 - United States Census of Union Veterans and Widows of the Civil War, 1890 at FamilySearch — index and images
- 1891-1945 - Washington, Soldier Home Records, 1891-1945 at FamilySearch — index and images
- 1907 - 1933 - United States Veterans Administration Pension Payment Cards, 1907-1933 at FamilySearch — index and images
- 1917 - 1918 - United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 at FamilySearch — index and images
- 1917 - 1919 - United States, YMCA World War I Service Cards, 1917-1919 at FamilySearch — index and images
- 1925 - 1949 - United States Headstone Applications for U.S. Military Veterans 1925-1949 at FamilySearch — index and images
- 1942 - United States World War II Draft Registration Cards 1942 at FamilySearch — images
- 1789 - 1989 - Guide to the Records of the U.S. House of Representatives at the National Archives, 1789-1989 (Record Group 233) - contains documents of the sort found in the regular pension files