United States, Headstone Applications for U.S. Military Veterans (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records available at FamilySearch.org.
Access the records: United States, Applications for Headstones for U.S. Military Veterans, 1925-1941 .

Collection Time Period

The records are for applications processed during the years 1925 to 1941.

Record Description

This collection consists of applications for headstones (over 290,000) received and processed by the Cemeterial/Memorial Division (NARA publication M1916). The records are part of the Record Group 92 Records of the Quartermaster General. Most of the applications are for the Civil War and later, but some may apply to earlier wars. Approximately 10% of the forms will have two images. The applications are arranged in alphabetical order by surname, then first name.

Record Content

United States, Applications for Headstones for U.S. Military Veterans (11-0319) 4831974 211.jpg

Applications include all or part of the following:

  • Name
  • Rank
  • Company
  • Regiment
  • Division
  • Date of death
  • Name of cemetery with city and state of location
  • Name of person making application and address

How to Use the Record

When you have located your ancestor’s headstone application, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. Compare what is information is given with what you already know about your ancestor to make sure it is the correct person.

Next, look at the pieces of information given in the headstone application for new information. Add any new information to your records of each family. You should also look for leads to other records about your ancestors.

For example:

  • Use any information you already know about your ancestor, such as name, rank, company, regiment, etc., to determine previously unknown information such as date of death and cemetery.
  • Use information about religion, found on later versions of the form, to locate church and land records.
  • The name of the cemetery could lead you to funeral and cemetery records, which often include the names and residences of other family members.
  • Continue to search cemetery records to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives of the deceased who may have been buried in the same cemetery or nearby. This can help you identify other generations of your family. Repeat this process for each new generation you identify.
  • Compile the entries for every person with the same surname. This is especially helpful for rural areas or unusual surnames.
  • When looking for a person with a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.

If you are unable to find the ancestors you are looking for, try the following:

  • Check for variant spellings of the surnames.
  • Search the indexes and records of nearby cemeteries.

Record History

Shortly after the Civil War, the Office of the Quartermaster General established a Cemetery Branch. This new branch was responsible for establishing, maintaining, and improving national military cemeteries.

On March 3, 1873, Congress granted burial rights in national military cemeteries to all honorably discharged veterans of the Civil War on March 3, 1873, then extended the privilege of
government-provided gravestones to soldiers buried in private cemeteries on February 3, 1879.

For more information, visit the report "Applications for Headstones for U.S. Military Veterans, 1925-1941." Applications for Headstones for U.S. Military Veterans

Why the Record Was Created

In the early frontier years, garrison commanders were expected to bury their dead. During the Civil War, however, the numbers of the dead became too much for them to handle. On September 11, 1861, the War Department began to take command of the responsibility of granting deceased soldiers the priviledge of a marked grave.

Record Reliability

These records are quite reliable, though there is still a chance of misinformation. For example, soldiers often falsified their ages in order to be admitted into the army.

Related Websites

Related Wiki Articles

Cemetery Records

Contributions to This Article

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.

Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections

When you copy information from a record, you should list where you found the information. This will help you or others to find the record again. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records.

A suggested format for citing FamilySearch Historical Collections, including how to cite individual archives is found in the following link: How to Cite FamilySearch Collections

Examples of Source Citations for a Record in This Collection

"United States, Applications for Headstones for Military Veterans, 1925-1941" images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org: accessed 9 September 2011). entry for William Ferrell, died April 3, 1841; citing Military Records, Ferrill, William-Flesher, Max, image 24; United States Quartermaster General, Federal Archives and Records Center, Washinfgton D.C., United States.

Sources of Information for This Collection

United States. Quartermaster General. Applications for Headstones for U.S. Military Veterans, 1925-1941. Record Group 92, NARA publication M1916. United States. Federal Archives and Records Center. Washington D.C.