Military records can provide much information. There are two basic record types: service records and pension records. But there are many types of records that are related to military service, ranging from letters home to burial arrangments to medals and honors.
Military records can be found at both the federal and state levels of jurisdiction, but don't overlook local pride... you will often find county or town specific information. Also, there is often much data on military conflicts, including information on those involved, in manuscripts.
This page is still in progress, but you may find the links here so far helpful... it's a lot to cover!
Books: Any basic how-to book will include at least one chapter on this topic and there are many books that cover how to locate and use military records.
back to top of page
Wikipedia: Military History of the 13 Colonies
On the Web:
Books and Articles :
Locating Your Revolutionary War Ancestor: A Guide to the Military Records. Neagle. (This is out of print, but many libraries would own it) (find in a library)
Also helpful are
back to top of page
Books and articles:
Merriman. United Empire Loyalists, A Guide to Tracing Loyalist Ancestors in Upper Canada (Ontario) (review) (find in a library)
Bunnell. Research Guide to Loyalist Ancestors. A Directory to Archives, Manuscripts, Published and Electronic. (find in a library)
On the Web.
Print out : Getting a Handle on Your Loyalist Ancestors Using Published Sources (.pdf file)
Butler. Military Records of the War of 1812 (an article generally describing the records at the National Archives.) Note: War of 1812 pension and service records have not been microfilmed, but indexes are available on film and through subscription databases online.
NARA. Military Resources: War of 1812. A detailed description of each of the various record groups at the National Archives.
Books and Articles:
On the web:
Books and Articles
Schaefer. The Great War: A Guide to the Service Records of All the World's Fighting Men and Volunteers (find in a library)
Joe Beine's Guides of online resources for WWI
Nudd. . World War I Draft Registrations (article by archivist at National Archives, published in Eastman's Online Genealogy Blog)
The WWI draft registration cards are available at Ancestry.com. If you don't have a subscription and can't get to a library that has a subscription, remember: you can still search Ancestry.com WWI records. The results list will show the state and county (but not the city). You can order the records from the Family History Library, but must know where the registration took place. Here is the entry for Michigan -- note you must click the VIEW FILM NOTES box to determine what reel to order. If your ancestor was in a large city, it can be quite tricky to pinpoint the film.
"They Answered the Call: Military Service in the United States Army During World War 1, 1917-1919" from Prologue vol.30 no. 3 Fall 1998
For more links, see Cyndi's List: WWI
World War II
Neill. WWII Draft Cards -- describes them and gives information on obtaining them.
NARA. World War II Records
"World War II Army Enlistment Records and Access to Archival Databases" in Prologue vol. 38 no. 1, Spring, 2006
While not military records, researchers with 20th century immigrant ancestors will want to research the alien registration records (1940-1944) microfilmed and held at the INS. It looks like you must make a FOI request to get them. Alien Registration Form, A Genealogical Resource discusses these records, including a detailed explanation of how to obtain them.
Genealinks: Military Sites
September 2, 2015
Back to Bobbie's Genealogy Classroom