United States Military Records
See also Ancestors Season 2: Military Records in the FamilySearch Learning Center.
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.
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.
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 Family History Library 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
- 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 (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
- Cyndi's List U.S. Military Links
- Mary's Genealogy Treasures
- For Further Reading
- See More
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 Corp (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 Reocrds)