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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

  1. What are United States military records?
  2. What time periods do they cover?
  3. What can I find in them?
  4. How do I access them?
  5. Search strategies

For a more complete beginning introduction, see U.S. Military Records Class Handout.

Getting started with U.S. 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

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 Selection Table 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.

Information found in military records

  • Evidence of military or patriotic service 
  • Residence at time of military service or pension  
  • Soldier's birth information 
  • Family relationships 

Research Tools

Click the button below to see links to online databases and indexes about U.S. military personnel, records, and conflicts involving the United States.

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Wiki articles describing online Military collections are found at:

See also Military Records in the FamilySearch Learning Center.

Wars

Record Types

Online Records

State Military Records