Difference between revisions of "US Military Service Records"

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''[[United States|United States ]] >  [[United States Military Records|Military Records ]] >  [[US_Military_Types_of_Military_Records|Types of Military Records ]] >  [[US Military Service Records|Service Records]]''  
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''[[United States|United States ]] >  [[United States Military Records|Military Records ]] >  [[US Military Types of Military Records|Types of Military Records ]] >  [[US_Military_Service_Records|Service Records]]''  
  
 
== Service Records  ==
 
== Service Records  ==
  
Service records document an individual’s involvement with the military and can provide your ancestor’s unit or organization. This information makes it easier to search the pension records. Service records seldom provide information about other members of a soldier’s family.  
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Service records document an individual’s involvement with the military and can be used for proving military service, or as a valuable tool in genealogical research.
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 +
=== Holdings of the National Archives  ===
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The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is the official repository for Federal military service records.
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*Older military personnel records, from the Revolutionary War to 1917 (depending on the service branch), are on file at the National Archives Building in Washington, D.C.
 +
 
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*Military service records from WWI through the present (depending on the service branch) are held at the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis.
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==== Older Military Service Records  ====
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 +
Older military personnel records, from the Revolutionary War to 1917 (depending on the service branch), are on file at the National Archives Building in Washington, D.C. Holdings include:
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{| border="1"
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|+ Military Records Holdings in Washington, D.C.:
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|-
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! Branch of Service
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! Dates of Holdings
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|-
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| Volunteers
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| Military service performed by persons serving during an emergency and whose service was considered to be in the Federal interest, 1775 - 1902
 +
|-
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| Regular Army
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| Enlisted personnel, 1789 - November 1, 1912 <br>Officers, 1789 - July 1, 1917
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|-
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| Navy
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| Enlisted personnel, 1798 - 1885<br>Officers, 1798 - 1902
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|-
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| Marine Corps
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| All Personnel, 1798 - 1904
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|-
 +
| Coast Guard
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| Persons who served in predecessor agencies to the U.S. Coast Guard: the Revenue Cutter Service (Revenue Marine), the Life-Saving Service, and the Lighthouse Service, December 31, 1897 and prior
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|-
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| Confederate States
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| Persons who rendered military service for the Confederate States government in its armed forces, 1861 - 1865
 +
|-
 +
| Veterans Records
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| Claims files for pensions based on Federal military service, 1775 - 1916 and<br>Bounty land warrant application files relating to claims based on wartime service, 1775 - 1855
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|}
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To order military service records from Washington, D.C., [https://eservices.archives.gov/orderonline/start.swe?SWECmd=Start&SWEHo=eservices.archives.gov order online] or the [http://www.archives.gov/contact/inquire-form.html NATF Form 86].
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Copies of military pension claim files for military service from the American Revolution up to before World War I and bounty-land warrant applications for Federal military service before 1856 can now be [https://eservices.archives.gov/orderonline/start.swe?SWECmd=Start&SWEHo=eservices.archives.gov ordered online], as well as through [http://www.archives.gov/contact/inquire-form.html NATF Form 85].
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Or write: National Archives &amp; Records Administration, Old Military and Civil Records (NWCTB-Military), Textual Services Division, 700 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington, DC 20408-0001.
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==== 20th Century Military Service Records  ====
 +
 
 +
Military service records from WWI through the present (depending on the service branch) are held at the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis.
 +
 
 +
{| border="1"
 +
|+ Military Service Records in St. Louis, MO:
 +
|-
 +
! Branch of Service  
 +
! Dates of Holdings
 +
|-
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| U.S. Army<br>(includes Army Air Corps and Army Air Forces)
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| Officers separated from July 1, 1917 - September 30, 2002<br>Enlisted personnel separated from November 1, 1912 - September 30, 2002<br><br>'''''Please Note''''': Many records were destroyed by [http://www.archives.gov/st-louis/military-personnel/fire-1973.html fire ]in the St. Louis Center in 1973.<br><br>Personnel records of Army members discharged/retired after October 1, 2002, are retained in electronic format by the Army. NPRC has access to the Army's electronic system and will respond to requests for those records.
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|-
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| U.S. Air Force 
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| Officers and enlisted personnel separated from September 24, 1947 - September 30, 2004<br><br>'''''Please Note''''': Many records were destroyed by [http://www.archives.gov/st-louis/military-personnel/fire-1973.html fire ]in the St. Louis Center in 1973.<br><br>Personnel records of Air Force members discharged/retired after October 1, 2004, are retained in electronic format by the Air Force and are not transferred to NPRC.
 +
|-
 +
| Navy
 +
| Enlisted personnel, 1798 - 1885<br>Officers, 1798 - 1902
 +
|-
 +
| Marine Corps
 +
| All Personnel, 1798 - 1904
 +
|-
 +
| Coast Guard
 +
| Persons who served in predecessor agencies to the U.S. Coast Guard: the Revenue Cutter Service (Revenue Marine), the Life-Saving Service, and the Lighthouse Service, December 31, 1897 and prior
 +
|-
 +
| Confederate States
 +
| Persons who rendered military service for the Confederate States government in its armed forces, 1861 - 1865
 +
|-
 +
| Veterans Records
 +
| Claims files for pensions based on Federal military service, 1775 - 1916 and<br>Bounty land warrant application files relating to claims based on wartime service, 1775 - 1855
 +
|}
 +
 
 +
<br>
  
 
=== Enlistment and Discharge Records.  ===
 
=== Enlistment and Discharge Records.  ===
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{{U.S. Military}}  
 
{{U.S. Military}}  
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 +
|}
  
 
[[Category:United_States_Military|Service Records]]
 
[[Category:United_States_Military|Service Records]]

Revision as of 19:05, 23 February 2011

United States  >  Military Records  >  Types of Military Records  >  Service Records

Service Records

Service records document an individual’s involvement with the military and can be used for proving military service, or as a valuable tool in genealogical research.

Holdings of the National Archives

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is the official repository for Federal military service records.

  • Older military personnel records, from the Revolutionary War to 1917 (depending on the service branch), are on file at the National Archives Building in Washington, D.C.
  • Military service records from WWI through the present (depending on the service branch) are held at the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis.

Older Military Service Records

Older military personnel records, from the Revolutionary War to 1917 (depending on the service branch), are on file at the National Archives Building in Washington, D.C. Holdings include:

Military Records Holdings in Washington, D.C.:
Branch of Service Dates of Holdings
Volunteers Military service performed by persons serving during an emergency and whose service was considered to be in the Federal interest, 1775 - 1902
Regular Army Enlisted personnel, 1789 - November 1, 1912
Officers, 1789 - July 1, 1917
Navy Enlisted personnel, 1798 - 1885
Officers, 1798 - 1902
Marine Corps All Personnel, 1798 - 1904
Coast Guard Persons who served in predecessor agencies to the U.S. Coast Guard: the Revenue Cutter Service (Revenue Marine), the Life-Saving Service, and the Lighthouse Service, December 31, 1897 and prior
Confederate States Persons who rendered military service for the Confederate States government in its armed forces, 1861 - 1865
Veterans Records Claims files for pensions based on Federal military service, 1775 - 1916 and
Bounty land warrant application files relating to claims based on wartime service, 1775 - 1855

To order military service records from Washington, D.C., order online or the NATF Form 86.

Copies of military pension claim files for military service from the American Revolution up to before World War I and bounty-land warrant applications for Federal military service before 1856 can now be ordered online, as well as through NATF Form 85.

Or write: National Archives & Records Administration, Old Military and Civil Records (NWCTB-Military), Textual Services Division, 700 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington, DC 20408-0001.

20th Century Military Service Records

Military service records from WWI through the present (depending on the service branch) are held at the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis.

Military Service Records in St. Louis, MO:
Branch of Service Dates of Holdings
U.S. Army
(includes Army Air Corps and Army Air Forces)
Officers separated from July 1, 1917 - September 30, 2002
Enlisted personnel separated from November 1, 1912 - September 30, 2002

Please Note: Many records were destroyed by fire in the St. Louis Center in 1973.

Personnel records of Army members discharged/retired after October 1, 2002, are retained in electronic format by the Army. NPRC has access to the Army's electronic system and will respond to requests for those records.
U.S. Air Force Officers and enlisted personnel separated from September 24, 1947 - September 30, 2004

Please Note: Many records were destroyed by fire in the St. Louis Center in 1973.

Personnel records of Air Force members discharged/retired after October 1, 2004, are retained in electronic format by the Air Force and are not transferred to NPRC.
Navy Enlisted personnel, 1798 - 1885
Officers, 1798 - 1902
Marine Corps All Personnel, 1798 - 1904
Coast Guard Persons who served in predecessor agencies to the U.S. Coast Guard: the Revenue Cutter Service (Revenue Marine), the Life-Saving Service, and the Lighthouse Service, December 31, 1897 and prior
Confederate States Persons who rendered military service for the Confederate States government in its armed forces, 1861 - 1865
Veterans Records Claims files for pensions based on Federal military service, 1775 - 1916 and
Bounty land warrant application files relating to claims based on wartime service, 1775 - 1855


Enlistment and Discharge Records.

Those who served in a military unit (company or regiment) were listed on muster rolls (similar to attendance rosters). These records generally give the soldier’s name and the date and place of enlistment and muster. You may also find descriptive rolls that provide the individual’s name, rank, age, physical description, marital status, occupation, place of birth, place of residence, and service information. The National Archives or the state’s adjutant general’s office may have these rolls. When an individual was discharged from military service, he or she was listed on muster-out rolls. Copies of the federal muster-out rolls were sent to the office of the state adjutant general. Discharge certificates, however, are not usually part of the service record. If a soldier served between 1865 and 1944, the discharge certificate may be in the family’s possession. Copies of the discharge were not kept in soldiers’ service files, but counties sometimes recorded discharges. The Family History Library has discharge records for some states, including Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, North Carolina, and Ohio. Check the Family History Library Catalog for additional state records under:

[STATE] - [COUNTY] - MILITARY RECORDS

Compiled Service Records.

The federal government has compiled military service records for soldiers serving in volunteer units in wars between 1775 and 1902. These records, on cards, have abstracts of information taken from unmicrofilmed original records at the National Archives such as muster rolls, pay lists, hospital records, record books, orders, and correspondence found in Record Group 94, Records of the Adjutant General’s Office, 1780s–1917. For a description of the contents of this record group, see:

Pendell, Lucille H., and Elizabeth Bethel, comps. Preliminary Inventory of the Records of the Adjutant General’s Office, PI 17. Washington, D.C.: 1949. Reprint, 1981.

A card was made for each soldier and put in an envelope along with some original documents. These files are arranged by state, then by military unit, then alphabetically by the soldier’s name. The cards usually provide a soldier’s name, rank and unit, the state from which the soldier served, the date enlisted, and length of service. You may also find the age, residence, physical description, and date of discharge or death.

Other Service Records.

Other original records that may have been created include pay rolls, order books, hospital records, prisoner of war records, promotions, desertion records, and records of courts-martial. Many of these are found at the National Archives.

State Records of Service.

Each state keeps service records for its own militia, volunteer regiments, or national guard units. These are usually available at state archives, state historical societies, or state adjutant general’s offices. If a state unit was mustered into federal service, the federal government may have sent copies of records to the office of the state adjutant general.

The Family History Library has microfilmed state military records in many states, including Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Virginia. Many early militia and state records have also been published and indexed. These are described in the state Wiki pages.


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